The Liberty Ships
During World War Two, hundreds of cargo ships raced across the Atlantic in an effort to keep Britain supplied. But these ships were being sunk by German U-boats, warships and aircraft. In 1940 alone, over a thousand allied ships were lost on their way to Britain.
The United States, while not yet at war, was playing a vital role in supplying Britain. But with ships being sunk daily, Britain and America desperately needed a way to keep all that material moving across the Atlantic. In response, 18 shipyards across the coastal United States mobilized to build thousands of large cargo ships known as Liberty Ships. They would be built even faster than the enemy could sink them. At one point the shipyards were building one large Liberty Ship every eight hours.
Two revolutionary changes in shipbuilding will make this enormous feat possible. The first is welding and the second is the use of a modular assembly process. By mid 1941, the sheer number Liberties out at sea, along with increasing armed escorts overwhelmed German forces. Advances in anti-submarine technologies also started stamping out the U-boat threat.
Today, there are only three Liberty Ships remaining of the 2,710 built that remind us of their enormous contribution to winning World War Two