Side AIn 1940 the U.S. Army and the Chrysler Corporation hired Detroit architect Albert Kahn to design a self-contained tank plant. Kahn specialized in factories. In 1941 he designed 20 million square feet of defense plants. The first tank rolled off the assembly line at the sprawling Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant on April 24th, 1941, amid cheering spectators. The December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the U.S. into the Second World War and tank plant workers into round-the-clock production. President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, inspected the plant in September 1942. Two months later workers set the monthly record for all U. S. plants by producing 896 tanks. Tank manufacturing ceased here in 1997.
Just two decades after the end of World War I, Europe was again at war. Construction of the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant began in 1940, before the U.S. became directly involved in the conflict. The 1941 Lend_lease Act committed the U.S. supplying arms to its allies. During World War II the U.S. government contracted with automakers to make tanks, trucks, and planes. William Knudson, president of the General Motors Corporation, led the government's defense production effort. Capitalizing on the auto industry's mass production capabilities, he called on Chrysler Corporation president
K. T. Keller to build tanks. By the wars end the arsenal built 22,234 tanks, over one quarter of the tanks produced in the U.S.