Visualizing American air power with models

Energy & Sustainability
Visualizing American air power with models


In 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt committed the U.S. economy to the production of 60,000 warplanes that year, and suggested that as many as 185,000 aircraft might be produced by the end of 1943. He turned out to be almost correct. In June 1944, TIME reported 171,257 aircraft produced since Pearl Harbor. In 1942, however, those were Herculean goals, yet to be achieved, and as part of an effort to help Americans understand the task before them, a fleet of 4,500 model airplanes was suspended from the ceiling of Chicago’s Union Station. Once you absorb the spectacle of 4,500 planes, of course, then comes the whammy: That’s only 1/48th of the production goal. The image above is 600 pixels wide. At that scale, if your monitor’s pitch is 72 dpi, an image of all 185,000 planes would be 33 feet wide. [via NOTCOT]

6 thoughts on “Visualizing American air power with models

  1. James Grahame says:

    Those 171,257 aircraft resulted in a mountain of national debt and redirected natural resources away from the development of useful machines and tools and into the creation of horrific weapons that failed to discriminate between soldiers and civilians and shredded hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of lives on every side of the conflict.

    From humanity’s broadest perspective, it’s not something to be proud of.

    1. Spades says:

      James, I can’t follow your line of argument. The US didn’t volunteer to join the war, they were forced into it by the Axis. They had to respond and they did it in the only sensible way: To fight for victory. There was nothing else they could have done after the mess had already started.

      Dirk – from Germany

      1. capt.tagon says:

        You are both correct. Which is a damning judgment on the intelligence of the human race. We’re pretty good at destroying and justifying it. Sometimes it is forced on us by bad neighbors who are willing to kill us for the power and the resources. Failure to respond is not an option.

        And from hindsight, it is a complete and total waste of resources and human lives that has far-reaching consequences.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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