Of all American weapons produced in World War II, including the atomic bomb, the most expensive was the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Developing and producing the plane cost $3 billion and involved a massive industrial undertaking from plants in all regions of the country. The plane made key contributions to victory in the Pacific and in the prosecution of the Korean War before being retired in the 1950s.
Thousands of subcontractors made components and systems for the plane, which was the most advanced of its day. The B-29s themselves were assembled at four main plants: Boeing facilities in Renton, Washington and Wichita, Kansas; a Martin plant in Omaha; and a Bell plant in Marietta, Georgia. It is this last plant that offers an echo of the Civil War and a symbol of national reconciliation.
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