Dr. Naveen Vetcha
12 February 2018
A Review of "The Arsenal of Democracy, Part Two: The Liberator"
“The Arsenal of Democracy” by A.J. Baime is a work of nonfiction that depicts the Ford
Motor Company and their production of the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber during World War II.
Part Two of the book, entitled “The Liberator” focuses on the assembly of the B-24 Liberator
Bomber and the role that this plane played in helping the Americans gain the upper hand during
World War II.
Even though World War II had been going on for quite some time, the United States did
not want any part in it and this was evidenced by the Neutrality Acts passed by Congress in the
1930s. The goal of these acts was to essentially make war illegal in the United States and as
Robert Sherwood put it, “It was born of the belief that we could legislate ourselves out of war, as
we had once legislated ourselves out of the saloons (and into the speakeasies).” (Baime 174)
What these acts actually did was make it difficult for our military to easily get the things that
they needed for war. It was even reported that General George S. Patton needed some nuts and
bolts to make a repair and instead of the government providing them for him, he had to order
them from a Sears and Roebuck catalog. Despite the desire to remain removed from the war,
President Roosevelt knew that the United States presence in it was inevitable and that he had to
do something to get the United States not only prepared, but ahead of Nazi Germany and their
fleet of Nazi Luftwaffe planes.
One thing I found interesting about this is that Roosevelt appointed Knudsen with the
task of figuring out a way to make 50,000 planes quickly. Knudsen said that while airplanes are
big and that they did not have time to construct airplane factories, the airplanes are nothing but
little pieces when they are taken apart and that “automobile business can make parts for airplanes
and sections for planes that we can glue together. In the automobile industry they understand
mass production.” (Baime 192) The idea of building an airplane is a lofty goal, but in theory,
when the goal is broken down into smaller...