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How to Use the Images


Inquiry Question

Historical Context



Photo 2
Photo 3
Illustration 1
Photo 4


Table of

Visual Evidence

Photo 1: "Your Merchant Marine Has Grown." [Photo 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(Courtesy U.S. Maritime Administration)

Press release from the War Shipping Administration, May 20, 1945.

War Shipping Administration
Washington, D.C.

News Foto Release No. 76, (#2 of 5).
For Release May 20, 1945.

Your Merchant Marine Has Grown

American merchant shipyards have built four ships for every prewar ship we had. Our fleet of Liberty, Victory, C-type and other vessels reached an all-time high of more than 3,500 dry cargo vessels, and more than 900 high-speed tankers.

This huge fleet, in 1944, moved out of the United States more than 72 percent of 78,500,000 tons of cargo shipped. Three percent were carried by the U.S. armed forces and 24 percent by the combined tonnage of other United Nations.

Transfer of troops and supplies from Europe to the far Pacific, over sea lanes ranging from 12,000 to 18,000 miles, will demand maximum efficiency in the use of our huge fleet under control of the War Shipping Administration and the United Nation's pool.

--WSA photo 4235

(Courtesy U.S. Maritime Administration)

Questions for Photo 1

1. A press release is a statement or an article that the government and other organizations give to newspapers to announce news and information. Why would the War Shipping Administration think it was important for newspapers to print this article and photograph?

2. Look at the chart in the above photograph. What statistical information does this chart present? By how much has the amount of cargo carried grown between 1942 and 1945?

3. How does this photograph of the shipyard help you in answering Question 2? Explain.

4. Photo 1 shows both Victory ships and Liberty ships under construction. Can you find the Liberty ship in Photo 1? What clues did you use to determine the difference between the Victory ships and Liberty ships?

* The image on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 1, but be aware that the file will take as much as 35 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



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