Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II

Arthur Herman
Arthur Herman

Freedoms Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War IIGlenn Beck has this to say about Freedom’s Forge:

“Freedom’s Forge sets straight the truth about progressive damage done to the U.S. during World War II—how FDR almost lost the world while labor unions aided by communists sabotaged our efforts to defeat Hitler. And it inspires by revealing how American industries and businesses armed the boys in the skies and on the beaches and achieved ultimate victory. A great book about real American history.”

It’s the phone call no one expects to receive:

“Knudsen?” a familiar voice intoned on the other line. “I want to see you in Washington. I want you to work on some production matters.”

With those words President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlisted “Big Bill” Knudsen—a Danish immigrant who had risen through the ranks of the auto industry to become president of General Motors—to drop his plans for market domination and join the U.S. Army.

Yes, there once was a time when the president of the United States could pick up the phone and ask the president of General Motors to resign his position and take the reins of a great national enterprise. (And the CEO would oblige, no questions asked, because it was his patriotic duty.)

In Freedom’s Forge, bestselling author Arthur Herman takes us back to that time, revealing how two extraordinary American businessmen—Knudsen and shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser—helped corral, cajole, and inspire business leaders across the country to mobilize the “arsenal of democracy” that propelled the Allies to victory in World War II.

Here’s Glenn breaking down the reasons why he loves Freedom’s Forge:

After responding to FDR’s call, Knudsen was commissioned a lieutenant general and assembled a crack team of industrial innovators, persuading them one by one to follow his example and leave their lucrative private-sector positions to join him in Washington, D.C. Dubbed the “dollar-a-year men,” these dedicated patriots quickly took charge of war production, which to that point had been nearly nonexistent.

Henry J. Kaiser was a maverick California industrialist famed for his innovative business techniques and his can-do management style. He, too, joined the cause. His Liberty ships became World War II icons—and the Kaiser name became so admired that FDR briefly considered making him his vice president in 1944.

Together, Knudsen and Kaiser created a wartime production juggernaut. Drafting top talent from companies such as Chrysler, Republic Steel, Boeing, Lockheed, GE, and Frigidaire, they turned auto plants into aircraft factories and civilian assembly lines into fountains of weaponry, arming Americans fighting in Europe and Asia with the tools they needed to defeat the Axis.

In only four years they transformed America’s armed forces from a sputtering, tiny engine into a howling, global colossus. And not only that…this speedy metamorphosis firmly set the foundations for a new industrial America—an economic as well as a military superpower.

Featuring behind-the-scenes portraits of FDR, George Marshall, Henry Stimson, Harry Hopkins, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curtis LeMay—as well as scores of largely forgotten heroes and heroines of the wartime industrial effort—Freedom’s Forge is the American story cast upon a wide screen. A vivid recreation of what was arguably American industry’s finest hour, it’s also a history lesson about the task of ation’s business elites put aside their pursuit of profits and set about saving the world.

Here’s Glenn offering kudos for Freedom’s Forge, adding how it demonstrates difficulties the war-production effort faced courtesy of progressive bureaucracy, labor unions, and communists within our own borders:

 

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