During World War II, a sense of civic duty and responsibility united the nation and fueled America’s war effort like nothing before or since. People stepped forward to fulfill the jobs demanded of them, and they excelled beyond all expectations. Civilians on the Home Front who worked to assemble America’s “Arsenal of Democracy” were essential to securing an Allied victory, and their stories serve as a reminder of what patriotism truly means.
The Museum’s current special exhibit, Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy, now showing in the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery, tells this lesser-known story of American unity on the Home Front and how it culminated in the creation of America’s mighty industrial war engine. The exhibit examines several key industries whose operations and facilities completely rearranged to make way for wartime production. We are proud to have two of the key industrial leaders featured in the exhibit as supporters of the Museum as well.
Boeing’s B-29 Super Fortress Bomber. Courtesy of Boeing.
During World War II, The Boeing Company manufactured two of the most iconic bomber aircraft. Over 12,000 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers were produced, becoming instrumental in the bombing of German-controlled Europe. Boeing’s second contribution to the war, the B-29 Super Fortress bomber, was used to lay waste to Japan’s urban centers, aiding the Allied victory in the Pacific. Now 70 years later, Boeing shows its support of the Museum’s mission of preserving the story of the war the naming sponsor of our US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, which paints the picture of a nation mobilized for war .
Workers install cylinders on a new Pratt & Whitney radial aircraft engine in 1942. Courtesy of National Archives.
During the war, the need for aircraft production was at an all-time high, though incredibly complicated due to the large number of parts and pieces involved. Pratt & Whitney built engines for aircraft that could be shipped for assembly in other plants. Their R-1830 Twin Wasp engine powered a variety of American planes, and over 170,000 of the engines were produced during the war. Without the increase in engine production, the Allies would not have been able to take control of the skies. Pratt & Whitney has helped the Museum immortalize the war’s airpower through the generous sponsorship of the Vought F4U Corsair warbird that hangs in The Boeing Center.
The National WWII Museum is very thankful for the support of Pratt & Whitney and The Boeing Company for their generous contributions to the expansion of the Museum’s campus and their strong efforts on the home front during a time of necessary American production. It is with their efforts that helped our nation at war and that the story of the war is preserved for future generations.
Please join us at the Museum for some of the special events accompanying our latest special exhibit following the industrial journey that took the United States from a nation perilously unprepared for war and weakened by economic depression to a global superpower that led the Allies to victory in WWII. Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy will be on view at The National WWII Museum November 7, 2014-May 31, 2015 in the Joe W. and D. D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery.
Manufacturing Victory: Arsenal of Democracy Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
5:00 pm reception, 6:00 pm program
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion and Special Exhibition Gallery
Join exhibit curator and historian Keith Huxen as he introduces and gives a behind the scenes look at the Museum’s newest special exhibition. A reception will precede the event at 5:00 pm. For more information call 504-528-1944 x229.
RSVPs are appreciated for this event.
Dinner With A Curator
The Ultimate Arsenal of Democracy: Cooking at Los Alamos by Keith Huxen
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
The Stage Door Canteen
Come dine on spicy hot Southwestern food and listen to Senior Director of History Keith Huxen talk about physics, war, the Manhattan Project and life under the New Mexican sun at Los Alamos.
Tickets for this event can be purchased online.
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Milton H. Latter Memorial Library
5120 St. Charles Avenue 70115
Join fellow readers as we discuss the incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in US history. Thousands of civilians—many of them young women from small towns across the South—were recruited to Oak Ridge, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war—when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed. Come prepared to discuss this story with fellow readers and Museum staff. For more information call 504-528-1944 x229.
Beyond Rosie: Women’s Roles on the American Home Front
Saturday, March 28, 2015
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion
Calling all Rosie the Riveters, Wendy the Welders, and all women war workers of World War II! Women were integral to America’s success in World War II. Several women will share their stories of working on the Home Front and producing for Victory, either as a riveter, a welder, or even a master canner. All women workers of World War II are invited to share their story. Our partner for this event is Newcomb College Institute. For more information, call 504-582-1944 x229.
Victory at Home: New Orleans during World War II
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Stage Door Canteen
Dr. Charles Chamberlain, author of Victory at Home: Manpower and Race in the American South During World War II, will moderate this special presentation focusing on the diverse war workers and industries in New Orleans during World War II. The program will intersperse newsreels and propaganda images from the war years with firsthand accounts from those who recall New Orleans in the 1940s and its important role in the Arsenal of Democracy. For more information call 504-528-1944 x229.
Adult Learning Webinar
WWII Defense Workers and The Arsenal of Democracy
Thursday, May 21, 2015
12:00-1:00 pm CT
Join Keith Huxen, special exhibit curator and Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Director of Research and History for an inside look at the Museum’s current special exhibit Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy. Learn about the tremendous achievements of US industries, dollar-a-day men, but also the everyday defense workers from across the country. Examine artifacts, oral histories, and film clips from the special exhibit that uncover how US industries exceeded all production goals and contributed to the Allied victory through teamwork, innovation, and problem solving. Watch on your lunch hour, or at your convenience with recordings sent to every registrant. No need to worry about the technology—all you need is a computer with a high-speed internet connection to view and participate.
The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm America at War” by A.J. Baime
Thursday, May 28, 2015
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
NY Times Bestselling author A.J. Baime discusses how Ford Motor Company went from making automobiles to producing the airplanes that would mean the difference between winning and losing World War II. Book signing will follow the presentation. For more information, call 504-528-1944 x229.