History has the ability to inspire us. Even more powerful though, history has the ability to teach us. To show us how past events shaped the lives we enjoy today. I spend a significant amount of my time researching historical elements for the novels I write. Much of the era I focus on is the pre, post, and World War II time frame. The war itself offers up a bounty of stories ripe for the picking. A variety of stories from a staggering number of perspectives keeps me engrossed in the time period.
While I was researching the history of the 1946 Ford Deluxe, I came across a concise and insightful book. The book shared the historical account of not only the cars themselves but also the men, manufacturing, and politics behind them. I was intrigued to learn that during Hitler’s reign, the German division of Ford was required to use solely German parts in their manufacturing process.
As I expanded my knowledge on the 1946 Ford Deluxe, I confirmed that due to the war, automobile design was stalled for several years. It wasn’t until a few years after the war had ended, that Ford began to investigate new designs. The first automobiles produced after the war were manufactured using pre-war materials and thus the sleek and bold designs of the post-war Ford’s did not hit the automobile market until late 1948 / early 1949.
The most intriguing bit of information:
The Great Depression, it seems, was the result of three significant factors. The first was the real-estate collapse in Florida. The second was the upheaval and crash of the New York stock market. But the third contributing factor was the consumer debt of almost $2.9 billion dollars. I was shocked to learn that of that $2.9 billion dollars of debt, almost half of it was due to consumers purchasing automobiles on credit.
To be honest, I never really understood the financials of why the Great Depression began. The reasoning for such a drastic change in a enormous economy always seemed to consist of smoke and mirrors to me. Though I can easily grasp the realities of a slippery slope as time marched on through the 1930s, I was unable to truly wrap my brain around how it all began.
I never expected the book ’40 Ford by Joseph P. Cabadas to provide insight on matters outside the scope of the cars I was seeking information on. When I became enlightened within the first few pages with regards to the consumer’s role in the creation of the Great Depression, I was reminded to open my viewfinder.