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1940s: THE GOLDEN AGE OF OCEAN LINERS RESUMES

 

After World War II, Europe scrambled to establish a sense of normal. 

 

Of the big ships, Britain's Cunard still had their Queens and Aquitania. Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam also survived. French Line's Ile de France returned, but they lost Normandie. Germany ceded Europa to France while Bremen was lost to a fire. Italy's Rex and Conti de Savoia were bombed-out wrecks by war's end.

 

But materials were scarce, and the surviving ships didn't re-enter service for many months. Some questioned the need to put these ships back in service, but they were morale boosters. They were, after all, ships of state, and their re-entry into service meant a rebirth for their respective nation. Many of Normandie's fittings wound up in the Liberte (ex-Europa) and Ile de France. The Italian Line finally ditched the melange of period styles and made great strides with their interiors; over the next decade they turned out a series of stylish, forward-thinking ships including the short-lived Andrea Doria. In the meantime, they took existing tonnage, like the prewar Conte Biancamano, and gave them radical makeovers.

 

While passenger lines in the United States suffered losses, our shipbuilding infrastructure was intact. However, material and labor costs were much higher, plus Harry Truman didn't have FDR's soft spot towards all things nautical. As a result, America's postwar shipbuilding plan, announced towards war's end, was scaled back dramatically, not that it didn't have some high points.

 

Stockholm (2/7)

First Class Lounge.