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By Arthur Herman

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Extra resources for Freedom's Forge: How American Business Built the Arsenal of Democracy That Won World War II

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2 and 4 and the chassis after 1923 being formed at Fisher Body’s new plant across the street. 50 To deal with the first stage, Knudsen put all the ordering of Chevy’s primary materials—steel, iron, zinc, rubber, copper, and the rest—into O’Keefe’s hands, with all orders to be placed six to nine months ahead. At the same time, he left the actual purchasing of those materials to the five principal plant managers, on the theory that they would know best where to buy, and find the best price. 51 As for the final stage, when Knudsen had first come back to Buffalo to make Model T’s, he had taken away every file and hammer in the factory.

Roosevelt realized he had to act. Less than twenty-four hours after getting Churchill’s telegram, Roosevelt summoned Morgenthau and Army Chief of Staff General George Catlett Marshall to his office. For the past months, the pair had been locked in a brutal battle over the Army budget. In 1939 defense spending topped $1 billion for the first time since 1918. The armed forces had grown to 334,000 men from 291,000. 2 million the British and French had mobilized to stop the German invasion—and they were losing the war.

United States—Economic policy—1933–1945. I. Title. 1 PREFACE THIS IS THE story of America’s forgotten heroes of World War II. They didn’t wear uniforms, at least not at first. They wore business suits, dungarees and flannel shirts, spectacles and Stetsons, Homburg hats and hard hats, lab coats and welding leathers and patterned head scarves. They were the American businessmen, engineers, production managers, and workers both male and female who built the most awesome military machine in history: the arsenal of democracy that armed the Allies and defeated the Axis.

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