The Independence-class aircraft carriers were a class of light carriers built for the United States Navy that served during World War II.
Adapted from the design for Cleveland class light cruisers, this class of ship resulted from the interest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in naval air power. With war looming, the former Secretary of the Navy noted no new fleet aircraft carriers were expected to be completed before 1944. He proposed to convert some of the many cruisers then under construction to carriers. Studies of cruiser-size aircraft carriers had shown the type had serious limitations, and on 13 October 1941, the General Board of the United States Navy replied that such a conversion showed too many compromises to be effective. Undeterred, President Roosevelt ordered another study. On 25 October 1941, BuShips reported that the cruiser conversion aircraft carrier would result in a vessel of lesser capability, but they would be available much sooner. Following the December 1941 Pearl Harbor attack the need for more carriers became urgent. In January 1942 The Navy responded by greatly accelerating construction of the 34,000 ton Essex class aircraft carriers, and ordering the conversion of a Cleveland class light cruiser then under construction to completion as a light aircraft carrier, becoming the USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24).==Development==