Within hours of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt began summoning the heads of American industry to Washington. Roosevelt knew the country would need an unprecedented buildup of planes, ships and other war materiel.
Without hesitation, American companies responded. Ford, Packard, Chrysler, 3M, Hormel, General Mills, Pillsbury, Cargill, Boeing and many other major U.S. companies gave their all to the war effort. At Roosevelt’s request, the president of General Motors even left his company to oversee the war production effort as a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army. Roosevelt’s initial request for 50,000 new airplanes per year was openly mocked by the Germans as outlandishly high and impossible to achieve. But the mighty U.S. industrial base roared to life and pulled it off. By war’s end, the United States was producing 100,000 warplanes a year. U.S. industry literally transformed itself to save our country. It’s fair to wonder if our current CEOs would do the same.
Would American companies in a new globalized economy drop everything for their country? Do American companies even consider themselves American anymore? (RELATED: Peter Thiel Blasts ‘Treasonous’ Google For Choosing China Over U.S. Military)
The Daily Caller News Foundation asked 19 of the biggest names in corporate America if they saw themselves as “American” companies. It shouldn’t be a very hard question to answer. But 10 of the 19 — including Amazon, Apple, Chevron and General Electric — refused to answer altogether. The others mostly gave weasel answers. Only General Motors and the bank JPMorgan Chase were willing to clearly identify as American institutions. And even with them, the actual record is cause for concern.