What did you do in the war? That’s the question researchers at the Nebraska State Historical
Society are trying to answer. In preparation for an exhibit on World War II, staff are
soliciting reminiscences about wartime experiences.
“We’re not just looking for soldiers’ remembrances,” said Society researcher Lori Cox. “We
know that no Nebraskan who lived through the Second World War was unaffected by the
conflict. We want information about life on the home front, especially what it was like to be
a child or a teenager during the war,” she said.
The variety of Nebraska contributions to the war effort were cited by then-Governor Dwight
Griswold in 1944. He wrote:
“Although as far removed from the actual theatres of war as any section of the United States,
Nebraska’s record in this war proves conclusively that there has been little complacency on
the part of the citizens of this state.
“From the standpoint of manpower, 102,000 Nebraska men have entered the Service.
Casualty lists to date show that approximately 700 of them have made the supreme sacrifice.
“On the ‘Home Front’ there has been a whole-hearted effort that has led to success in every
venture. The idea has been to get the job done, regardless of where the credit might go for
doing it. State officials have seen fit to go to private groups and ask them to put across some
program, and these groups have worked together to make the program a successful one.
“Civilian defense brought a high percentage of Nebraskans into that organization and gave
them valuable training. Quotas on the War Bond campaigns have been met consistently.
Such outstanding work has been done on scrap metal collections that the Nebraska plan was
adopted nationally. The United War Fund Drive was a great success.
“From the farms have come foodstuffs to feed our armed forces. New factories have been
added to the industrial picture, and Nebraska organized labor can make the proud boast that
not one minute has been lost by strikes or walkouts since the war started.”