We are happy to announce that the Roundtable will resume its meetings presenting speakers who will enlighten us on all aspects of WW II. Our next program will feature SaddleBrooke’s own Bruce Rogers, who has made a study of the Liberty Ships that played a pivotal role in the outcome of WW II. Of course, we will follow all national and HOA-2 COVID protocols.

Below is a Bruce’s summary of his presentation which will be on Thursday, October 14 at 1 p.m. in the Mountainview Ballroom.

Following World War I, the Treaty of Versailles stripped Germany of most weapons of war, yet by the mid-1930s the Nazis had a plan to dominate the continent and Britain. Not intending to take on the British navy, Hitler planned to starve the Island nation into submission by cutting off all food and materiel supplied by sea.

As Germany attacked British shipping starting September 1, 1939, and invaded Russia on August 1, 1941, Churchill and Stalin begged the U.S. for support in a variety of ways. Their mutual needs included food, war materiel and cargo ships to deliver the goods. A huge fleet of cargo ships was desperately needed. We had no shipyards available to build more ships and the shipbuilding methods used previously would not suffice.

The U.S. was mostly in an isolationist mood at the start of the war, and we were constrained by a Neutrality Act of our own making starting in 1939. That act prevented us from giving any support to either side in the conflict. In January 1941 FDR signed the Emergency Shipbuilding Act resulting in 18 new shipyards to build the much-needed ships. In March 1941, he signed the Lend-Lease Act that became the mechanism by which we would become the “Arsenal of Democracy.”

Henry Kaiser (known for founding Kaiser Permanente Health Care and the Kaiser auto) developed new methods for shipbuilding that produced cargo ships up to 17-times faster than previous methods. In those 18 shipyards, workers produced 2,710 Liberty Ships and 6,000 ships of all types that slid off the ways and delivered the materials that were necessary for victory across four oceans.

This is the story of the people, decisions and the perilous journeys that led to victory in WW II.

About Bruce

A native of California, Bruce Rogers received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly, a master’s degree from the University of Santa Clara and post graduate studies in Nuclear Engineering at General Electric, U. S. Army Nuclear Reactor School and MIT. He was Company Commander of HQ Company Army Engineer Reactors Group with 11 morning reports from Antarctica to Panama and Alaska. He also worked in reactor safety and nuclear fuel design at General Electric Nuclear Division and consulted to the California Senate on energy policy and started a consulting company helping nuclear utilities and government labs on decision analysis, management improvement programs, nuclear waste disposal and technical problems. In 2002, Bruce retired.

Currently, married for 53 years, so far Bruce and his wife have two children and four grandchildren. Both Bruce and his wife have traveled extensively, visiting about 125 countries and still counting. Here in Saddlebrooke, both enjoy walking, reading, trivia, bocce and relaxing with friends and a glass of red.

Save the date! Bruce will present his program on Thursday, October 14 at 1 p.m. We will be back in our usual venue, the East Ballroom of the MountainView Clubhouse. Of course, all SaddleBrooke residents and their guests are invited. We will follow the recommendations of the CDC and HOA-2 for everyone’s safety.

The Roundtable does not charge dues. However, we do ask for a dollar donation at the door to defray the cost of buying the speaker lunch and reimbursing driving expenses. See you on Thursday, October 14 at 1 p.m.!

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