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The Arsenal of Democracy
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Landing Craft

The Chris-Craft plant in Algonac, a peacetime manufacturer of recreational boats, made 36-foot-long landing craft for the war effort.

World War II life jacket with artifact tag attachedLife Preservers

One summer we were given burlap sacks to gather milkweed pods, which were used to make life preservers. We received fifty cents for each fifty-pound sack we filled.

Carol Hamp

School children gathered milkweed pods that were converted into filler for life jackets. The milkweed, dried at Petoskey's fairgrounds, replaced the previous material, kapok from Java, which was controlled by Japan.


My husband was a medic with the Fifth Army. . . . I have always thanked God Jack never fired a gun; he only took care of the war victims.

Lina Mayer

Ambulances made in Detroit were held for shipment at Fort Wayne, IN, an ordnance depot.

Cannon and Aircraft Parts

Oldsmobile, in Lansing, organized the Wings, the company's female war workers, to perform jobs previously done by men. The Wings built cannon and aircraft parts. They inspected and packaged shells and operated lift trucks.

Glider and Bomb Shackles

In Iron Mountain and Greenville, the Gibson Refrigerator converted to glider and bomb-shackle manufacturing. Ford Motor Company was making wooden gliders in Iron Mountain.


The Chrysler Tank Arsenal was built before World War II in Warren Township to make tanks for the American military. After Pearl Harbor, production accelerated. In early 1943 President Roosevelt ordered a minimum 48-hour work week for all factories where labor was scarce and vital war goods were being produced.

Read about America's tanks from Michigan History magazine.


The Pontiac Fisher Body plant assembled artillery pieces during World War II. Magazine ads no longer touted "Body by Fisher," but "Armament by Fisher."

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