In 1915, in an effort to end World War I, he headed a privately sponsored peace expedition to Europe that failed dismally, but after the American entry into the war he was a leading producer of ambulances, airplanes, munitions, tanks, and submarine chasers. In 1918 he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate on the Democratic ticket. After weathering a severe financial crisis in 1921, he began producing high-priced motor cars along with other vehicles and founded branch firms in England and in other European countries. Faced with increasing competition and lost sales, Ford nonetheless long resisted introducing a new model. A new design to replace the Model T—the Model A—was advocated by his son Edsel and finally produced beginning in 1928 in a variety of styles; it marked the beginning of the Ford Motor Company's regular development of new models and styles. Strongly opposed to trade unionism, Ford—who incurred considerable antagonism because of his paternalistic attitude toward his employees and his statements on political and social questions—stubbornly resisted union organization in his factories by the United Automobile Workers until 1941. A staunch isolationist before World War II, Ford again converted his factories to the production of war material after 1941. In 1945 he retired.
Sections in this article:
- The Inception of the Ford Motor Company
- Later Years
- Other Accomplishments and Controversies
- Later Generations
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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