When the U.S. 5th Army landed at Salerno, Italy, in 1943, and General Douglas MacArthurs's men invaded New Guinea, of the fourteen thousand vessels in the Navy, 92 percent were designed by Higgins Industries and almost nine thousand of them were built at the Higgins plants in New Orleans. His plants produced more than twenty thousand vessels during the war, cranking out an astounding seven hundred boats a month.His boats included PT boats, landing craft infantry, and landing ship tanks. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called Higgins "the man who won the war." Hitler called Higgins the "new Noah" and understood his value.
After the war, as Higgins was transitioning to civilian products, Higgins opposed the unions and supported open shop laws. He wanted to hire veterans, whether they were union members or not. The National Labor Relations Board dropped a ton of bricks on him. In a letter called Give Me Liberty!, Higgins said the Wagner Act was oppressive in its operation. He closed down his company, rather than to submit to union coercion.
The man who won the war had to shut down his beloved company in order to be a Free Man. Andrew Jackson Higgins is a hero worthy of our rememberance!