December 4, 1915 – Henry Ford’s peace ship

On this day in 1915 Henry Ford set sail on his “peace ship” to end World War I. From Wikipedia- “The Peace Ship was the common name for the ocean liner Oscar II, on which American industrialist Henry Ford organized and launched his 1915 amateur peace mission to Europe; Ford chartered the Oscar II and invited prominent peace activists to join him. He hoped to create enough publicity to prompt the belligerent nations to convene a peace conference and mediate an end to World War I, but the mission was widely mocked by the press, which referred to the Oscar II as the “Ship of Fools” as well as the “Peace Ship.” Infighting between the activists, mockery by the press contingent aboard, and an outbreak of influenza marred the voyage. Four days after Oscar II arrived in Norway, a beleaguered and physically ill Ford abandoned the mission and returned to the United States. The peace mission was unsuccessful, which reinforced Ford’s reputation as a supporter of unusual causes. Oscar II Peace Ship with Capt. G. W. Hempel and Henry Ford – public domainThe “Peace Ship” leaving New York on December 4, 1915, press photo – public domain

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