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Detroit's role in winning World War II

Andrew Norton

With the approach of the 65th anniversary of D-Day and the trouble the auto industry has been facing as of late I was interested in learning more about Detroit's role in producing the products of war. This post was also inspired by this snippet in the Detroit Free Press. Quotes about Detroit's WWII role - "The hottest town in America" - 1943 article in Variety "The wonder city of America" - novelist Erskine Caldwell talking about how much Japan and Germany wanted to bomb Detroit. "A miraculous city, a city forging thunderbolts" - New York Times shortly after U.S. entered WWII. "Detroit is winning the war" - Josef Stalin reportedly told this to President Franklin D. Roosevelt about three months before Germany surrendered.

Detroit was known as the "arsenal of democracy" after this quote below -

Roosevelt referred to Detroit, Michigan as "the great arsenal of democracy" because of the rapid conversion of much of the Detroit-area automotive industry to produce armaments during World War II.

The Big Three Detroit automakers (and other smaller auto companies) GM, Chrysler, and Ford converted their assembly lines to build the tanks, planes, trucks, and weapons necessary for the war. In February of 1942 domestic auto production was halted in order to concentrate on the war effort. Even Michigan's Upper Peninsula got in on the action by harvesting timber for over 4,000 gliders built in Kingsford.

Read all about Detroit's role in producing the weapons and machines necessary for war in this Michigan History Magazine article - "Autos to Armaments."

Ford Motor Company might go private

Andrew Norton

In order to lick their wounds and circle the wagons, Ford Motor Company is considering going private according to the Detroit Free Press. Apparently this is one of the many scenarios the Ford Family is looking into as a means of making Ford better. Ford has been having financial difficulties ever since they hitched their pony up to the truck and SUV market while neglecting their sedans and small cars. Gas prices skyrocketed and people decided they wanted to get more than 18 mpg. Unfortunately, Ford had not done anything revolutionary with their line of cars and the public spoke with their wallets.

Ford Motor Company stock is currently trading at $7.88 (up $.12). Check the current price at Yahoo Finance. Five years ago Ford stock was trading around $20 per share. I know my father-in-law (and every other Ford employee who took stock options over the years) has taken a hit over the years with his Ford stock.