ship was a class of cargo ship built in the United States during
World War II. Though British in conception, the design was adapted
by the U.S. for its simple, low-cost construction. Mass produced
on an unprecedented scale, the now iconic Liberty ship came to
symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output.
The class was developed to meet British orders for transports to
replace those torpedoed by German U-boats. The vessels were
purchased both for the U.S. fleet and lend-lease deliveries of war
materiel to Britain and the Soviet Union. Eighteen American
shipyards built 2,710 Liberty ships between 1941 and 1945, easily
the largest number of ships produced to a single design.
Their production mirrored on a much larger scale the manufacture of
the Hog Islander and similar standardized ship types during World
War I. The immensity of the effort, the sheer number of ships built,
the vaunted role of Rosie the Riveters in their construction, and
the survival of some far longer than their original five-year design
life, all make them the subject of much continued interest.