World War II Naval and Maritime Claims Against the United States

Cases in the Federal Court of Claims, 1937–1948

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About the Book

Before December 1941, the United States had determinedly maintained an isolationist foreign policy and stubbornly remained neutral in the European war. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this position changed overnight. Now faced with the prospect of war yet ill-prepared for the eventuality, the United States government found itself scrambling to launch a war effort. The Great Depression economy led to an inadequate supply of fast, modern ships and this, coupled with wartime losses worldwide quickly created a demand which far outstripped production. This generally left the government only one realistic option—seizure of vessels and other property from private owners. Although the government had this power, under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution private property owners were entitled to just compensation for their goods. During and after the war, multiple lawsuits were filed against the government seeking retribution for transportation of pre- and post-war refugees, repatriation of destitute seamen, loss of pay, patent infringement and requisition of vessels for government service.
This volume contains all naval and maritime-related claims brought against the United States government from World War II. These cases are presented chronologically according to the date of the incident which led to the lawsuit. Additional background is included when necessary to fully explain the nature of the claim. Each lawsuit was initially filed in a United States district court then petitioned to Congress or filed directly with the Court of Claims in Washington, D.C. Appeals were made to the Supreme Court but are mentioned only if the decision of the lower court was reversed. Appendices contain a glossary of shipping terms and a list of pertinent acts of Congress. Photographs and an index are also included.

About the Author(s)

Greg H. Williams served four years in the Navy, including duty on the converted Liberty ship USS Granville S. Hall (YAG–40). He was one of 27 volunteer crewmen who made the entire five month voyage from San Francisco to Europe on the Jeremiah O’Brien in 1994 for the 50th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. He lives near Noti, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

Greg H. Williams
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2501-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Historical Background and Shipping Overview, 1929–1946      3

THE CASES      21

Appendix I: Shipping Terms      171

Appendix II: Acts of the U.S. Congress      172

Appendix III: Statement of Margaret Utinsky Regarding Goods Sold in 1943      186

Index      187

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—ARBA.