America in World War Two

Oral Histories and Personal Accounts

Explore extensive collections sourced from The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, to uncover the many facets of American involvement in World War Two.

This digital resource shows how World War Two changed American society and the economy, how it impacted individuals and families, and the legacy of the War in human terms. Follow individuals and their families from enlistment and training, to deployment on the US Home Front, or on campaigns overseas.

American military and civilian involvement in all major theatres of operations is represented, whilst service branches range from the army, navy and air force, to the marines, merchant marines, coast guards, and medical personnel. Experience operations in the Pacific, the D-Day landings in Europe and the post-war occupation of Germany through personal letters, diaries, photographs, artefacts and military records, and watch as 300 people share their memories of military life, prisoner of war camps and the Home Front in oral history video interviews recorded by The National WWII Museum.

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 1939-1949

Highlights

  • Thought-provoking oral history interviews with survivors of concentration camps, African American soldiers and Japanese-American civilians
  • A US M-1 infantry helmet worn by Edward Sabo, member of Easy Company, 101st Airborne Division, during the Normandy invasion
  • Illustrated diary of an American prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 3
  • Scrapbook featuring the “Four Hollywood Blondes”, an American roller-skating troupe whose European tour coincided with the outbreak of war
  • Documents and photographs relating to the detonation of the atomic bomb

Source Archive

  • The National WWII Museum, New Orleans

Material Types

  • Oral history videos
  • Correspondence, including v-mail and greetings cards
  • Diaries and journals
  • Scrapbooks, albums, and photographs
  • Ephemera, including currency, ration books, theatre programmes and mess tickets
  • Artefacts
  • Training manuals, flight log books, and maps
  • Sketches and artwork
  • Newspapers and periodicals

Editorial Board

  • Judy Barrett Litoff, Bryant University
  • Rob Citino, Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian, The National WWII Museum
  • Brian Farrell, National University of Singapore
  • Adrian Lewis, University of Kansas
  • Donald Miller, Lafayette College

Subjects

  • Front line experiences, including key campaigns around the world
  • Key events, such as Pearl Harbor, VE and VJ Day
  • Women in the forces
  • Medical services and army health
  • Civilian life and the Home Front
  • Enlistment and the Draft

Key Features

  • Interactive chronology
  • 360 degree object gallery
  • Visual gallery
  • Art exhibition
  • Academic essays

Supporting Material