Liberty ships were American-made, mass-produced merchant vessels that were used by the Allies to carry freight, troops, and fuel during World War II (1939–1945). A few were converted to other uses, including tank transports, hospitals, and repair shops. A Liberty ship was a modified version of a merchant ship of simple design that was conceived in Great Britain. The original plan called for the vessels to be riveted, but riveting was a time-consuming process. By September 1940, Britain was under siege by German naval and air forces and lacked sufficient time or capital to build such ships for itself. So when production of the merchantmen was turned over to the United States, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser (1882–1967) sped up production by welding the vessels and applying revolutionary prefabrication techniques. Kaiser started with an initial keel-to-deliver time of over 200 hundred days. Within a year, however, Liberty Ships were being launched just 24 days after the laying of the keel. They traveled at a top speed of 11 knots, and came in different sizes and weights, with the largest being almost 450 feet long and over 10,000 tons.
Approximately 250 Liberty Ships were sent to Great Britain and the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, while another 200 were used by American forces. Liberty ships take their name from "Liberty Fleet Day," a day in September 1941 when the first one was launched. Because of the high rate of production, a number of Liberty Ships were defective. But others endured repeated pounding by German surface ships and submarines. One ship even sunk a German auxiliary cruiser with its single four-inch gun.
See also: Lend-Lease Act, World War II
"Liberty Ships." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-ships
"Liberty Ships." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved January 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-ships
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.