• Emergency Shipbuilding Program

    Ammunition for the Arsenal of Democracy

    From Duckling to Workhorse

    Originally referred to as “Ugly Ducklings” by the press, more than 2,700 Liberty Ships were built under the Emergency Shipbuilding Program. An impressive 85 of those Liberty Ships came from the J.A. Jones Shipyard – the last vestiges of which lay ignored on a shoreline at the perimeter of an abandoned housing development.
    broken image

    Beast of Burden

    The United States needed to design a ship that was quick to build, easy to operate, and capable of carrying a LOT of cargo...like a LOT.


    Enter the Liberty Ship. Based on a 1879 British design, the U.S. Maritime Commission made alterations to provide for a ship that cost less and was faster to construct.


    Every hour during WWII, Liberty Ships delivered 6,000 tons of cargo. Originally, it was believed that each Liberty Ship would last for only one voyage. Quite to the contrary, there were Liberty Ships in service as late as the 1970s.

    broken image

    The Final Count

    The exact number of Liberty Ships built is debated, but the official number recognized by the United States Maritime Commission is 2,710. Liberty Ships were built across the United States by eighteen shipyards. Of those, 85 came from the J.A. Jones Shipyard.

    broken image
    broken image

    A Friend in Need...

    Great Britain, our inestimable ally in Western Europe, was struggling to mount their military defense against Germany. Part of the problem was the impossible effort to replace cargo ships as fast as they were being sunk by Nazi forces, specifically German U-boats.


    Though the United States was yet to enter the war, it was decided that our nation would provide aid in the form of a Lend-Lease program. Under the terms of this program, the United States could lend equipment to any nation deemed vital to the defense of the United States.


    What Great Britain got was a masterful piece of maritime design. Though perhaps not beautiful, the Liberty Ship was exactly what the Allied forces needed.

    broken image

    War Is Over

    The J.A. Jones shipyard was constructed specifically to build Liberty Ships. This was not just any shipyard. The ways are relics of the construction of hearty instruments of liberation. They stand as symbols of a still unmatched unified effort that helped bring an end to WWII.

    broken image

    Photo of ship is property of J.A. Jones Construction Company collection, Special Collections, Brunswick-Glynn County Library, Marshes of Glynn Libraries, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia

    A Fireside Chat Designed to Light a Fire

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the launch of the Emergency Shipbuilding Program on January 3, 1941. However, the famous "Arsenal of Democracy" fireside chat was given on December 29, 1940. In it, President Roosevelt laid out the case for aiding Great Britain so as to prevent the United States from having to enter the war.


    Of course, the United States was to enter the war just months later after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt, though, was still correct in his belief that Liberty Ships would help end the war and thereby defeat Nazism.


    broken image

    Time for Some Image Rehab

    Okay, so the Liberty Ship wasn't the prettiest vessel to ever grace the high seas. FDR himself referred to it as a "dreadful looking object." However, thanks to a successful rebranding campaign (without the benefit of social media!) this "ugly duckling" became known as the Liberty Ship.

    broken image

    The United States Merchant Marines

    broken image

    All the ships in the world couldn't help win a war if there was no one to man them. The Merchant Marines stepped up to navigate dangerous waters in ships not intended for battle. It's taken decades, but the Merchant Marines are beginning to receive the recognition they so mightily deserve. Their great sacrifices helped bring an end to WWII.