On the Home Front
Where the assembly lines used to be,
one sees swarms of workers ripping out overhead conveyor systems,
uprooting old machines, rushing discarded equipment to snow-covered
parking lots. . . . Old machines are hauled to repair shops and,
wherever possible, adapted to war use.
The New York Times,
March 1, 1942
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt ordered auto manufacturers to stop producing cars for domestic
use. The last cars rolled off the assembly lines in early 1942 as
Michigan auto makers converted their factories to make war
products such as ambulances, tanks, trucks, Jeeps, bombers, guns,
engines and ammunition.
It does not take long in Michigan
to realize you are on a real battle front. The industrial sections
roar with machinery.
National Geographic, December 1944
Detroit ranked number one in the nation in war production. The Detroit
metropolitan area produced 70% of Michigan's total output.
Automakers dominated war production, but hundreds of other Michigan
industries converted from peacetime to wartime manufacturing to support
the war effort.
The Arsenal of Democracy gallery includes a computer interactive
program. By touching a map of Michigan on the video screen, visitors find
Michigan manufacturers who
converted their factories to produce war matériel. Artifacts and/or
photos for some of the products mentioned in the program can also be seen
in the exhibit. To read about them, click on the links below: