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On This Day… Henry Ford’s Peace Ship!

Written by: George Chittenden : 14 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 4th December, back in 1915 when American industrialist Henry Ford set out on a mission to end a war. After revolutionizing the auto industry, Henry Ford believed he could end the bloodshed of World War One by sailing to Europe on a chartered ocean liner named the Oscar II, and talking some sense into them.

Ford invited prominent peace activists to join him hoping to create enough publicity to force the nations involved to convene in peace negotiations. The peace expedition sailed from New Jersey, but sadly, it didn't go so well. Not long into the voyage many of the passengers were struck by an outbreak of influenza.

A few days after arriving in Norway, a tired and physically ill Ford abandoned the mission and returned to America. Henry Ford had set out with good intentions and was widely mocked by the press, who referred to the Oscar II as the Ship of Fools.

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