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Type of Item
Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean Sea
This map of southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean was made early in World War II by Fremde Heere Ost (Foreign Armies East), a unit of the German army general staff responsible for intelligence about the armies of the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, certain Balkan countries, Africa, and the Far East. The map shows country boundaries in bold, dark purple. Also shown are oil pipelines, wells and other sources of water, and important roads, railroads, and canals. Many of the countries of this region were involved in the war. Italian and ...
Iran and Afghanistan
Published in 1941 during the early part of World War II, this Japanese map of Iran and Afghanistan is based on a map issued the previous year by the Main Administration of Geodesy and Cartography of the Soviet Union. Unlike the British and the Russians, the Japanese did not have extensive knowledge of, or experience in, this part of Asia, which nonetheless became an important strategic interest for them during the war. The Axis powers—Germany, Japan, and Italy—believed that ultimate victory would require that they gain control of ...
7th War Loan. Now--All Together
C.C. Beall (1892-1967) was a commercial illustrator who drew comics and book covers. He based the image on this World War II war loan poster on the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of the second American flag to be raised on Iwo Jima. The photo made a huge impact after being published as part of news reports on the battle. This poster was part of the campaign for a 7th War Loan subscription, which took place in May 1945, just days after victory in Europe. Officials were concerned that the ...
Into the Jaws of Death: United States Troops Wading Through Water and Nazi Gunfire
This photograph from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, shows American soldiers landing in Normandy, France, on the morning of June 6, 1944, the beginning of the long-awaited invasion to liberate continental Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany. Most of the troops that came ashore were from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, with smaller contingents from France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands. The invading forces confronted formidable obstacles. German defenses included thousands of soldiers dug into bunkers, artillery, mines, barbed wire ...
We Can Do It! [Rosie the Riveter]
This poster, produced by Westinghouse during World War II for the War Production Co-Ordinating Committee, was part of the national campaign in the United States to enlist women in the workforce. In the face of acute wartime labor shortages, women were needed in the defense industries, the civilian service, and even the armed forces. Publicity campaigns were aimed at encouraging those women who had never before held jobs to join the workforce. Poster and film images glorified and glamorized the roles of working women and suggested that a woman’s ...
Youngster, Clutching His Soldier Father, Gazes Upward While the Latter Lifts His Wife from the Ground to Wish Her a "Merry Christmas": The serviceman is one of those fortunate enough to be able to get home for the holidays
This photograph, from Christmas 1944, was produced by the Office of War Information, a wartime U.S. government agency established in June 1942 to coordinate the release of domestic and international news, with the aims of bolstering morale at home and undermining that of the enemy abroad. Images and captions such as these were intended to convey a positive, uplifting message in a time of war. Many well-known writers and photographers worked for the Office of War Information, including poet and former Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish, the photographer Gordon ...
Basic and Advanced Flying School for Negro Air Corps Cadets, Tuskegee, Alabama: In the center is Captain Roy F. Morse, Air Corps. He is teaching the Cadets how to send and receive code.
The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American soldiers who trained to become pilots at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. The first class of aviation cadets began their training in July 1941 and completed it in March 1942. Tuskegee Airmen went on to serve in combat in North Africa and Italy, and in escorting bombing missions over Germany. This photograph, taken in January 1942, shows cadets at Tuskegee learning how to send and receive code.
Hayward, California, Two Children of the Mochida Family who, with Their Parents, Are Awaiting Evacuation
In 1942, Executive Order 9066 ordered the removal of 110,000 civilians of Japanese descent, including 71,000 American citizens, from the western United States for placement in internment camps. The evacuees were suspected, without evidence, of being potential supporters of Japan, with which the United States was then at war. This photograph, taken by noted photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) for the government agency known as the War Relocation Authority, shows one family waiting to be taken away. Lange’s notes on the photograph read: "Members of the Mochida family ...
Bathing Room in the Women's Quarter of the Makassarese Village Near Master Cornelis in Batavia
This 1945 photograph shows women and children bathing at the Kampong Makassar internment camp near Batavia (present-day Jakarta) during World War II. After the Dutch East Indies fell to Japanese forces in 1942, many Dutch residents were forced into internment camps, where they stayed until the end of the war. At Kampong Makassar, which operated from January to August 1945, more than 3,600 women and children were held in a space measuring less than one square kilometer. The photograph is from the collections of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute ...
Going to Work
This watercolor on heavy board, showing military personnel of the Women’s Army Corps in New Guinea in 1944, during World War II, is signed and dated by the artist, John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004). Murphy was an American cartoonist best known for drawing the Prince Valiant comic strip. Murphy joined the armed forces in 1940 and spent the war years in the Pacific, where he was an anti-aircraft officer, and drew illustrations for the Chicago Tribune. The battle for New Guinea was one of the major military campaigns in the ...
Military Transport Boats at Iwo Jima
This impressionistic painting of military transport boats approaching Iwo Jima is the work of Harry Reeks (1921-82), an official Marine Corps combat artist who sketched battles in the Pacific during World War II. He arrived at Iwo Jima with the invasion force and spent 30 days there drawing the campaign. The battle for Iwo Jima, from February 19, 1945, to March 26, 1945, was one of the fiercest in the Pacific campaign of the war, and is best remembered for the iconic photograph of Marines raising the flag on the ...
Soldiers Performing Exercises on the Beach
The state of Florida served as the location for a variety of U.S. military training activities during World War II. Pilots and sailors used Florida ports, miles of uninhabited shoreline, and the forests of the state’s interior for military exercises. Marines and Army infantry slogged through Florida marshes and trained for beach assaults. In this image, soldiers training with gas masks are shown on a beach in south Florida. In 1941, Miami was still completely dependent on tourism for its economic livelihood. After the United States entered the ...
Wakulla Springs and World War II Troop Maneuvers
In this 1940s film, made in northwest Florida in color but without sound, U.S. Army troops practice slogging through a cypress swamp, make a human chain across the river, crawl on their bellies, and use weeds and Spanish moss for camouflage. The troops fire machine guns, shoot from trees, and swim in an assault across the river. As the troops hit the shore, smoke screens are seen and explosions hit the water. Other shots show a machine-gun team on shore, followed by scenes of the troops swimming with bamboo ...
Operations Against the Japanese on Arundel and Sagekarsa Islands
This World War II photograph shows American soldiers wading into water on an island in the New Georgia group of the Solomon Islands. They are part of Operation Cartwheel, a U.S.-led effort, supported by forces from Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, to neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, by advancing upon it from two directions: from the west along the northeast coast of New Guinea and from the east through the Solomon Islands. The photograph is by Sergeant John Bushemi (1917-44), a staff ...
Long a Pacific Mystery, the Secret Naval Base at Truk is Hit by Avengers, February 1944
This illustration shows U.S. Navy planes flying over the island of Truk in the Federated States of Micronesia during World War II. The destruction of the Japanese naval base at Truk was an important element of American strategy in the Pacific theater. It also had a profound effect on the indigenous inhabitants, who were caught up in fighting that lasted from February 1944 to the end of the war. The planes shown are the Avenger torpedo bombers that first saw action in the Battle of Midway in 1942. The ...
Memorandum of the Latvian Central Council, 17 March, 1944
The Latvian Central Council was created on March 13, 1943, by representatives of Latvia’s largest prewar political parties. Latvia had gained its independence from Russia at the end of World War I, but in June 1940 the country was occupied by the Red Army and in August 1940 it was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. In June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and by July of that year it had overrun Latvia and incorporated the country into Germany’s eastern empire. Latvians resisted both Soviet and ...