- (1879-1948)Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, William Knudsen came to the United States in 1900. He worked for a time for a bicycle manufacturer in Buffalo, New York, and then switched to producing parts for the Ford Motor Company, where he eventually became production manager in 1918. He left Ford in 1921 and in 1923 joined General Motors (GM). From 1937 to 1940, he was president of GM. In 1940, Knudsen left GM to join the National Defense Advisory Commission to assist in war planning, and in 1941 with Sidney Hillman, he became codirector of the Office of Production Management. When the office was replaced by the War Production Board under Donald Nelson, Knudsen became director of war production in the War Department, and although he was a civilian, he received a commission. He remained in post until 1945 when he returned to GM.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.
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