World War II was won in large part by American soldiers, airmen and sailors, but also through the industrial might of factories staffed by American workers back on the home front.
That reality hits home in a massive new exhibit at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. At the museum’s U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, visitors can view six American warplanes that helped turn the tide of victory for the Allies. Among them is the iconic B-17 bomber, nicknamed “The Flying Fortress” because of its massive scale and capabilities. The airplanes, along with a Sherman tank, several vehicles and a mock-up of a period submarine, are testaments to the technological know-how and industrial productivity that helped win the war against the Axis powers.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt rightly called the collective production of these machines America’s “arsenal of democracy.” The war machines on display at the National World War II Museum also underscore a sober paradox. These things of beauty were, by their nature, designed to be destructive. They are a potent reminder of the misery of World War II — and of any war.
We hope that Americans never have to face such a global war again. But the new exhibit at the National World War II Museum is a stirring tribute to American resolve when human liberty was threatened around the world.
We urge readers to visit the National World War II Museum and see for themselves.