Lake Michigan’s Call to Duty
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States found itself suddenly plunged into what would become a second world war. In response, the nation undertook the greatest industrial, social, and military mobilization the world has ever witnessed, and Lake Michigan played a critical role in its call to duty. Palatial Great Lakes passenger steamers became aircraft carriers working off Chicago to train desperately needed Navy and Marine pilots. Shipbuilders began turning out essential submarines, minesweepers, sub chasers, and tugs for the Army and Navy. Sailors transported iron ore, stone, and coal for use in the steel industry. Civilians replaced Coast Guard personnel called to military duty. And, commercial fishermen provided necessary food for the troops. This exhibit highlights this vast mobilization for war embraced by the Lake Michigan region.
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