Parade magazine called it "...the Army's most intriguing new gadget...calling it a small truck that can do practically everything." The Army had been searching for a fast, lightweight all-terrain vehicle since World War One, but with World War Two raging in Europe and North Africa, a challenge was put out to auto companies to come up with a model fit to army specs.

In just 49 days, Willy's Overland Truck Company was the first to answer the Army's call. It was 730 pounds overweight, but the Army said it was good enough.

The new truck was christened "the Jeep." Some say it’s short for General Purpose vehicle. Some say it was named after the character in the Popeye comic strips that looked like a dog, walked on his hind legs, came from Africa and was named Jeep.

SOURCE: wikipedia
General Dwight Eisenhower said that America could not have won World War Two without the Jeep. Parade was so enthusiastic about the Jeep, that, on this day back in 1941, it devoted three full pages to a feature on the Jeep.

The U-S entered World War Two just a little over four months later.