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U.S. History Topics » Wars » World War II

Liberty Ships and Victory Ships, America's Lifeline in War

tells the story of two World War II ship-building efforts. In 1941, with war raging in Europe, President Roosevelt authorized the production of 441-foot cargo ships. These "Liberty ships" proved too slow and small, so in 1943, a new effort began building "Victory ships," which cruised at 18.5 mph, compared to the Liberty's 12.5 mph. By the war's end, the Maritime Commission had built 2,751 Liberty and 531 Victory ships. (National Park Service, Teaching with Historic Places)

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Interesting Fact:

The original plan of the Merchant Marine Act (passed in 1936) was to build 50 ships per year for 10 years. However, World War II began in 1939, when Hitler's Germany invaded Poland. The United States realized that the existing construction program was not adequate to meet the changing world situation.
Salute Your Merchant Marine on Maritime Day, May 22.

Salute your merchant marine

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U.S. Time Periods »  1914-1945: World Wars » 

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