VIDEO: Arsenal of Democracy: Chrysler Outlines Its Participation in World War II
Almost a year before the United States officially entered World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a speech highlighting how important it was for America to support its allies. One of the aspects of that support was providing England, France, and the rest of Western Europe the tanks and supplies needed to defend against Germany’s encroaching advances. Today, on the 75th anniversary of that “Arsenal of Democracy” speech, Chrysler released a video explaining the war efforts America began undertaking on December 29, 1940.
Mobilizing American automakers to build war equipment was no small undertaking. While the nation’s autobuilding prowess was among the best in the world at the time, manufacturing heavy tanks and other military vehicles proved to be incredibly difficult. To ease the process, the U.S government selected a tract of land in Warren, Michigan, upon which to build a tank plant, called Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant.
The government’s first tank design was contracted to Chrysler engineers, who had no trouble adapting the design to a production line. Within 13 months, the first M3 Grant tank rolled out of the Warren plant. Following the Grant in 1942 was the M4 Sherman, which featured thicker armor, a 360-degree turret, a larger engine, and weaponry advancements. During the war, Chrysler built 25,000 tanks, accounting for more than a quarter of the U.S.’s tank production. Detroit Arsenal alone built more tanks than the entire German military. Chrysler also built 60,000 Bofors guns and twice as many replacement barrels using mass production, which helped the weapons see widespread use on Allied naval ships.
Chrysler saw significant reciprocity through its participation in the Allied war effort. Aside from ensuring the safety of millions worldwide and securing a lucrative government manufacturing contract, the company’s WC-Series military vehicle formed the basis of the legendary Dodge Power Wagon pickup.
The five-minute video found below is well worth the time. It highlights an interesting time period after America became invested in the war, but before it formally entered combat. A rarely told story, it’s a great way to spend a few minutes on the 75th anniversary of FDR’s famous speech.
Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles via YouTube