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Man Of Innovation And Change: Henry J. Kaiser

1150 words - 5 pages

America needed support from the shipbuilding companies because Germany started dominating the battle, by sea. Ships provided goods and ammunition that the soldiers abroad needed to fight. In addition to carrying cargo and transporting soldiers, the ships were utilized to wage war, with firing machine guns and canons. However, the shipbuilding companies were not fast enough to outweigh the damage done by the German U-boats. America got its solution when Henry J. Kaiser, an entrepreneur, stepped in. Henry J. Kaiser, born in Sprout Brook, New York, on May 9, 1882 (, went after opportunity all his life and invented ideas for progress and change. He was a catalyst for ...view middle of the document...

com). Kaiser revolutionized mass production of ships by constructing an efficient assembly line. The assembly line consisted of stations where workers built different parts of a ship. At the end, the workers combined the various sections together. This assembly line made it possible for ships to be put up in a matter of days. The Richmond Kaiser Shipyards built Robert E. Peary in record time, around four days and nineteen hours (Gilford, 91). For his technological advances, Kaiser became the ‘Father of American shipbuilding’ (“Henry J. Kaiser”). Kaiser’s shipyards “helped build the defense instruments that [America] needed to defeat Japan and remain a free country.” (Moore). This dramatic transformation in manufacturing extends its effects even in present-day, by promoting efficiency and safety.
In addition to his innovative ideas, his charismatic personality brought people from all over the country to work in his shipyards (Gilford, 49). Accounts from stories of Rosie the Riveters in Kaiser Shipyards, from the novel A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II, claim how Kaiser was a caring and fair boss. This quality is what gave Kaiser the capacity to raise a workforce that would do anything for him and America. Patriotism and nationalism helped catapult forward the war effort movement. Kaiser showed this kind of sociable personality when he made a group to include the women workers in the shipyards, WINKS (Gilford 149), and calling his male workers, “his boys” (Gilford 40). This proved that Kaiser included everyone in bringing about the change America needed to attain victory.
Due to the war requiring the majority of the men to fight, women had to step in. World War II opened new jobs for the original stereotypical domestic homemakers. Kaiser extended them an opportunity to become independent, by recruiting them in his shipyards (Gilford, 149). “There were all kinds of posters. There was one that said ‘Uncle Sam needs you’” (Moore). This was unconventional, but Kaiser believed that recruiting women was the solution to the dropping male workforce. They “went to two weeks of welding school, and then [the shipyard managers] set [the workers] right on out to the shipyards, to go to work.” (Moore). Riveting, later welding, were the common tasks that the women did (Gilford, 145). Women’s contributions to the war effort proved to be significant for they were the start of a major turn in...

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