Norfolk, Virginia, USA, 1946. Thousands of Liberty ships that were decommissioned following the end of WWII were kept in dock. Below: Commemorative photograph of the men involved in the Liberty sale in the US.

By Gelina Harlaftis*

It was April 1947,when a group of Greek shipowners traveled across the Atlantic to the United States with a guarantee letter from the Greek state to take delivery of the last 100 Liberty cargo ships sold on credit by the American government at the time. Liberty ships were built in the US during World War II, and at the end of the war, a number of these vessels were sold to individuals from the allied powers, and with backing from their governments, on exceptionally favorable terms. Greek shipowners represented the main buyers with the bulk purchase of these “blessed” ships, as they were regarded at the time, becoming the cornerstone of the Greek postwar shipping boom.

Techniques used by automakers for cheaper, faster production

Massive losses by the allies in the first two years of WWII rendered the construction of a large number of cargo ships imperative, and from 1941 to 1945, the United States Maritime Commission embarked on one of the biggest shipbuilding programs ever known. More