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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

The Tidal Wave—July 4, 1918—95 Ships Launched. Philadelphia: United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918. Lithograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (053.00.00)

Ships Launched

The Emergency Fleet Corporation (EFC) was established under congressional mandate by the United States Shipping Board ten days after the U.S. declared war on Germany. Its purpose was to acquire, maintain, and operate the merchant ships needed to transport American troops and their supplies to France. In 1917, the United States was acutely short of ships, shipyard workers, and yards in which to build them. This poster, showing a line of ships cresting a wave, celebrates the "tidal wave" of shipping launched over the course of the previous fourteen months. Despite these efforts, British ships carried the bulk of U.S. troops and supplies to Europe throughout the war.