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.
American citizens stepped forward to fulfill the jobs demanded of them, and they excelled beyond all expectations. But the US mobilization on the Home Front actually began before the country was officially involved in the conflict.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation on December 29, 1940 – a year before Pearl Harbor – declaring, “We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us, this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.”
Roosevelt gave the arsenal concept a democratic meaning that saw every man and woman as a vital partner in the war effort regardless of where they worked. United by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans in factories, farms and businesses ceaselessly worked with ingenuity and spirit to create an unprecedented arsenal of military resources to overwhelm our enemies.
Iconic companies contributed to victory from the factory floor to war in the air, on land and across the seas, producing at a staggering rate and with unparalleled excellence. In the process, the arsenal of democracy opened new opportunities to individual Americans and planted seeds that changed the social fabric of America, crushed the Axis war machine and vindicated the President’s democratic and strategic vision.
Manufacturing Victory, a 1500 sq. ft. exhibit, includes compelling artifacts, photographs, oral histories and interactive audio-video components that immerse the visitor in the story of America’s mighty industrial war engine. The exhibit debuted at The National WWII Museum in 2014, before embarking on a national tour to expand access and educational opportunities across the country.
Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy will be on display through December 17. Related programming will be announced at a later date.
This exhibit is presented by national touring exhibit sponsor HP with additional support provided by Citi. Produced by The National WWII Museum, the exhibit follows the industrial journey that took the United States from a nation perilously unprepared for war to a global superpower that led the Allies to victory in World War II.