Kyle Johnson
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Ford Looks Back on 75th Anniversary of VE Day

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Ford commemorates 75th anniversary of VE Day
A woman works a lathe at the Ford Rouge Plant in 1943
Photo: Ford

May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of the Nazis and moved one step closer to the end of World War II. To commemorate the occasion, and with its mobilization efforts to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford Motor Company is looking back on its contributions to what President Franklin Roosevelt called the “Arsenal of Democracy.” 

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“Undoubtedly, one of the proudest episodes in the history of Ford Motor Company is our participation in defending the United States during World War II,” said Ford Manager of Archives and Heritage Brand Manager Ted Ryan. “Ford leadership then, as now, believed that Ford Motor Company should and could play a vital role in protecting the security of America.”

Following the United States’ entry in World War II, Ford became a major industrial contributor for the Allied Forces, leveraging its manufacturing facilities and expertise to build necessary vehicles and engines. Notably, the Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti built the B-24 Liberator bomber, achieving max capacity of one plane per hour by 1944.

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Ford Highland Park Assembly Plant Building M4 Tanks WWII
M4 tanks were built at Ford’s Highland Park plant
Photo: Ford

Ford also played a part in the creation of a feminist icon: The Willow Run plant employed Rose Will Monroe, who was the inspiration behind the iconic Rosie the Riveter. Ford even set the template for the idea of the Victory Garden, with the company’s Garden Educational Service setting the standard for planting and maintaining a thriving garden.

Other American efforts included the Highland Park Assembly Plant building M4 tanks and the Richmond Assembly Plant in California putting the finishing touches on crucial vehicles. With plants worldwide pitching in, Ford built 86,865 aircraft and 277,896 vehicles for the war effort in addition to engines, superchargers, generators, and gliders.

Today, in the face of a different crisis, Ford continues to do its part by producing everything from ventilators and respirators to gowns and face shields, aiding healthcare workers working to save lives during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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