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World War II History Buffs


TUG Member
Jun 6, 2005
Reaction score
Resorts Owned
I just finished reading a very interesting book -

'Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II' by Arthur Herman.

Arthur Herman is a PhD Historian who also is the author of 'Ghandi & Churchill:The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age' which was a finalist selection for the Pulitzer Prize.

In 'Freedom's Forge', Herman centers on two remarkable self-made men - William S. Knudsen and Henry J. Kaiser.

Knudsen designed plants and production lines for Henry Ford and then after resigning from Ford, for Alfred Sloan at General Motors. FDR asked Knudsen to spearhead industrial mobilization when war appeared imminent and the United States was woefully unprepared. Knudsen said yes.

Kaiser was one of the major contractors in the building of the Hoover Dam.
He also lead the effort to build Liberty Ships which kept Britain and Russia in the war.

In 1941, when Roosevelt announced plans to build 50,000 planes a year, Hitler scoffed, saying: "What is America, but beauty queens, millionaires, stupid records, and Hollywood?" His spies had clearly failed to tell him of America's genius for manufacturing.

Herman does a masterful job explaining how American Industry built shipyards, ships, Tanks, weapons, ammunition and a variety of planes in greater quantities than the axis powers and helped make the United States a superpower.

He also details the fascinating story of the development of the complex B-29 bomber. I tip my hat to the Boeing engineers and workers who made it happen and to those who lost their lives doing so.

I highly recommend 'Freedom's Forge' to anyone interested in American History.

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