The World War II Military and Home Fronts

The outbreak of the Second World War ushered in a period of great prosperity and unity in Wisconsin. The depression years receded into the background as defense spending and military preparedness resulted in defense contracts for Wisconsin businesses. Rather than the dismal unemployment that had plagued the 1930s, labor was in high demand and wages and prices rose accordingly.

Both industry and agriculture shared in this prosperity. Wisconsin citizens quickly shifted to wartime production, becoming more dependent on orders from the military than ever before. Manitowoc, Sturgeon Bay, and Superior turned out submarines and other ships, once again becoming centers... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Women workers at Allis-Chalmers during World War TwoWomen workers at Allis-Chalmers during World War Two
Link to article: War changes education for women, 1943War changes education for women, 1943
Link to article: Suggestions for neighborhood block leaders, 1943Suggestions for neighborhood block leaders, 1943
Link to article: A Milwaukee officer describes the attack on Pearl HarborA Milwaukee officer describes the attack on Pearl Harbor
Link to article: Wisconsin develops solutions to wartime shortagesWisconsin develops solutions to wartime shortages
Link to article: Citizens learn how to support the war through rationing, 1942Citizens learn how to support the war through rationing, 1942
Link to artifacts: Auschwitz Concentration Camp SweaterAuschwitz Concentration Camp Sweater
Link to book: Citizens are reminded to write letters to soldiers, 1944Citizens are reminded to write letters to soldiers, 1944
Link to book: A manual for air raid wardens, 1942A manual for air raid wardens, 1942
Link to book: Allis-Chalmers advises women workers on health and safety, 1942Allis-Chalmers advises women workers on health and safety, 1942
Link to book: Supporting the war by conserving office supplies, 1942Supporting the war by conserving office supplies, 1942
Link to book: The dead and missing from Wisconsin in June of 1946The dead and missing from Wisconsin in June of 1946
Link to book: A 1944 cookbook featuring dairy productsA 1944 cookbook featuring dairy products
Link to book: World War II veterans recall their experiences at home and abroadWorld War II veterans recall their experiences at home and abroad
Link to book: Wisconsin Holocaust survivors recall their experiencesWisconsin Holocaust survivors recall their experiences
Link to book: A Navy sailor recalls Pearl HarborA Navy sailor recalls Pearl Harbor
Link to collections: Interviews with Holocaust survivors who came to WisconsinInterviews with Holocaust survivors who came to Wisconsin
Link to images: The Attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941The Attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941
Link to images: Women metal fabricators in Fort AtkinsonWomen metal fabricators in Fort Atkinson
Link to images: Photographs from World War Two by Dickey ChapellePhotographs from World War Two by Dickey Chapelle
Link to manuscript: A Middleton nurse writes home from her hospital in India during World War Two.A Middleton nurse writes home from her hospital in India during World War Two.
Link to manuscript: An Ashland soldier writes home at the end of World War TwoAn Ashland soldier writes home at the end of World War Two
Link to manuscript: An Oshkosh aviator describes being shot down over Italy and life in a German prisoner of war camp.An Oshkosh aviator describes being shot down over Italy and life in a German prisoner of war camp.
Link to manuscript: A military police officer from Polk Co. writes home about the war in the Pacific.A military police officer from Polk Co. writes home about the war in the Pacific.
Link to manuscript: A sailor describes life aboard ship during World War Two.A sailor describes life aboard ship during World War Two.
Link to manuscript: An Oshkosh woman's diary of living in occupied Florence, Italy, in 1943-1944.An Oshkosh woman's diary of living in occupied Florence, Italy, in 1943-1944.
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin paratrooper describes his service in Europe during World War Two.A Wisconsin paratrooper describes his service in Europe during World War Two.
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin infantryman describes his service in Europe during World War Two.A Wisconsin infantryman describes his service in Europe during World War Two.
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin army lieutenant describes being wounded by German shrapnel during World War Two.A Wisconsin army lieutenant describes being wounded by German shrapnel during World War Two.
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin infantry soldier describes life in German prison camps during World War Two.A Wisconsin infantry soldier describes life in German prison camps during World War Two.
Link to manuscript: A Milwaukee colonel writes home from Europe, 1943-45A Milwaukee colonel writes home from Europe, 1943-45
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin soldier sends home a valentine.A Wisconsin soldier sends home a valentine.
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin aviator describes missions in Asia.A Wisconsin aviator describes missions in Asia.
Link to manuscript: How a tablespoon of fat can save soldiers' livesHow a tablespoon of fat can save soldiers' lives
Link to manuscript: A Janesville nurse in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, 1942-1945A Janesville nurse in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, 1942-1945
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin sailor recounts the attack on his ship at Pearl HarborA Wisconsin sailor recounts the attack on his ship at Pearl Harbor
Link to manuscript: A Beloit sailor describes the attack on Pearl HarborA Beloit sailor describes the attack on Pearl Harbor
Link to manuscript: An airman from northern Wisconsin describes his experiences during World War Two.An airman from northern Wisconsin describes his experiences during World War Two.
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