Nebraska and World War II
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On December 7th, 1941, Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On just one of the American ships, the battleship U.S.S. Arizona, 22 Nebraskans died. This was the beginning of World War II for Nebraskans, as well as the rest of the nation. Most listened closely to radio coverage when President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) told Congress the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor was "...a date that will live in infamy."

Wide view attack on Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941.
Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration, 80-G-32792

Like Americans a generation later, most have vivid memories of precisely where they were when they heard the news.

"Even though I was only seven and a half years old, I remember December 7, 1941, as if it was yesterday. It was on a Sunday afternoon when we heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. It seemed our lives changed right then."
      — Betty Safarik Spilger, who was a Farwell grade school student
          in 1941.

"I remember we were playing sandlot football when the young ladies who were sitting in their car listening to the radio came to tell us that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. To be very honest about it, at the time, I think most of us kind of wondered where Pearl Harbor was."
     — Paul Thompson, Cozad student

Did Nebraskans make any contributions to World War II, other than sending men and women to serve in the armed services? Was life on the home front changed? Did Nebraskans suffer any effects from a war being fought in foreign lands that were scattered around the globe? Explore this web site to not only find the answer to these questions, but to also learn more about what Nebraskans were doing during the war.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was such a life-altering event that Nebraskans carried vivid memories of when they heard about it.
From the 1980 NET Television program Legacies of World War II on the Great Plains

Some World War II Medal of Honor recipients
are in the Nebraska Hall of Fame
Find about all its members.
Nebraska Hall of Fame button

For More Information within Nebraska Studies:
The War: Nebraska Stories — Introduction
The War: Nebraska Stories — Reactions at Home: War Changes Everything
The War: Nebraska Stories — Combat: Over There

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