World War II
What We Own
Approximately 320,000 Wisconsin men and 9000 women served in the armed services during the war. Wisconsin housed German and Japanese POWs during the conflict and state farms and factories were crucial to the war effort. The Wisconsin Historical Society's collections related to the World War II era extend beyond the state's direct contributions. The Society Archives holds letters, photos and personal papers reflecting Wisconsin's war efforts and particularly strong holdings from journalists and war correspondents on the reporting of the war. The Society Library maintains general histories, regimental histories, personal narratives, journal articles, newspaper accounts, and government documents from the WWII era. The Society does not hold service records of Wisconsin's World War II military personnel.
In the Archives
The Archives has no official government military records or official service records for World War II soldiers. For official service records contact the National Personnel Records Center (Military Records), NARA, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132.
Conversely, there are many manuscript collections related to WW II, containing soldier letters, unit histories, and home front information. There are also rich collections related to the experiences of holocaust survivors who subsequently resettled in Wisconsin, and to coverage by American journalists of the build-up, military actions, and aftermath of World War II.
In the Library
The Library houses general histories about virtually every aspect of the World War II including battles, major figures, military units, armaments, diplomacy, and home front life. In addition, Library collections include personal narratives, memoirs, biographies, unit histories, and military atlases.
Military newspapers provide a view into the camp life of a World War II soldier. These newspapers contain personal news about the soldiers from hospital lists to sports events in camp. The Library has three key collections of these newspapers:
Camp Newspapers. Carlisle Barracks, PA : US Army Military History Research Collection, 1933-1969. (AA Barrage to Zone One)
Military Newspapers : the Collection of Walter S. and Esther Dougherty . Madison, WI. : State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1982.
Stars and Stripes (various editions from the Pacific Edition published in San Francisco to the European Editions published in Germany, France and Italy).