The Greatest Maritime Generation

“Engineering in the World War II Shipbuilding Program”

Authors:  Harry Ottaway and Henk van Hemmen

Published:  1992

Harry Ottaway and Henk van Hemmen prepared this paper to present at a joint SNAME/SMPE meeting.

The paper described their impressions as young men first encountering the maritime technology that was produced by the United States during World War II.

It is difficult to even imagine that prior to World War II the United States was not a significant player as an international ship owner and that upon completion of World War II the United States was without question the leading ocean going maritime force in the world – not just as far as fleet size was concerned but also as far as technology was concerned.

Today the United States is no longer the dominant player, but this is not due to any weakness in the US character or even politics.  It is simply related to the fact that international maritime is extremely cost competitive and will provide an advantage to countries that support lower wages.  There is nothing bad about that and it simply allows other countries to join the club of higher income countries.  Let’s just hope that maritime continues to be a force for the good.

To download the full paper click this link:  Engineering_in_World_War_II