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How an African Airline Helped the Allies in WW2

Back in January 1943, it cost just $6 for Franklin D. Roosevelt to fly from Washington, D.C., to Casablanca, Morocco, where he and Winston Churchill decided to impose unconditional surrender conditions on their Axis enemies. It was the culmination of a heady time for Pan Am, the airline that helped the Allies win the war. In a little more than a dozen years, founder Juan Trippe and his business partners had transformed the Caribbean floatplane mail-delivery service into a globe-trotting consumer airliner — and a proxy for the Allied distribution of troops and supplies to the front lines of the conflict, particularly in Africa. The feat made Pan Am the first commercial carrier to connect North and South America with Europe and Africa. After conferring with FDR, Trippe agreed to Churchill’s challenge — and by the end of 1943, Pan Am had shipped 15,521 tons of material to its 18 African bases.