On this day in 1938, Congress passed the Vinson Naval Act, providing for a two-ocean navy, about 3 years before we would need all the naval vessels we could build. The reason the Japanese expanded so rapidly in the Winter of 1941-42 is that we were horribly under-prepared for war and luck (and the Enterprise) kept us in it until we could spool up our truly amazing industrial might and absolutely crush both the Germans and the Japanese. For example, before the war, it took both us and the Japanese about 36 months to build an aircraft carrier; by the end of the war, we could build one in about 15 months while it still took the Japanese about 36 months.
We're down to under 300 ships in the Navy now, about 200 too few.
The photo is the USS Carl Vinson, CVN 70, named after the clear eyed Georgia Democrat who served 50 years in the House. It is difficult to imagine what might have happened if Rep. Vinson had not given us the 1938 head start to having a proper sized Navy.
Labels: WWII pre history; Pacific theater