What Did You Do in the War?

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.”

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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