Browse Exhibits (16 total)

The Draft in the Vietnam War, 1964-1973

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Trench Coats instead of Tanks, American Espionage in World War Two

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The image of the suave spy is very much a product of the Second World War. This site will go over American espionage efforts against Nazi Germany, along with Nazi spy efforts against the allies. For context, some information will be given for the United Kingdoms and Soviet Union’s spy programs during the period.

What is the Nazi link with South America?

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What is the Nazi link with South America? Why did many high ranking Nazis migrate to South American countries following WWII? Who helped them?  What impact does this have on the Cold War?

Front Page Headlines Shaping Our Views on the WAR

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This exhibit will showcase different front page articles from two newspapers, the Omaha World Herald and The Negro Star. The months that these articles are being drawn from are October through February the end of 1941 and beginning of 1942. To navigate through the pages on this exhibit click on a title on the right-hand side. There will be an introduction to the newspaper being showcased on that page followed by hand selected front page articles before, the month of, and after Pearl Harbor. There are some special links throughout the webpage that you can click on for further reading about certain topics brought up in the headlines of the showcased articles.

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Sexualization of World War II

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From pin-up girls on the sides of military airplanes to USO clubs to propaganda on the homefront, the sexualization of women (and subsequent sexism) was everywhere during World War Two. 

Male artists produced images of sexualized women for magazines and posters which became wildly popular with the troops. The USO opened social halls across the country, with the two most famous being in New York and Los Angeles. These clubs did not allow women in unless they were employed by the USO to dance and flirt with the servicemen. The United States government produced propaganda posters that were distributed to the public that depicted women in ways that were very appropriate to the times. Women were supporting the war effort, but in the eyes of the government they were specifically supporting the men fighting in the war and not patriotism or anti-fascism.

These seemingly innocuous aspects of American culture during WWII contributed to a change in how society viewed women. The rate of reported rapes increased by 45% during the war years. There was a pornography boom in the 1950s. Women were viewed as sex symbols/objects in the public eye and popular culture for the first time in American history.  

Japanese Incursions on the Mainland

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On April 18th, 1945, the Dundee neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska was rocked by a fireball that fell from the sky. It wasn't a meteor or an alien spacecraft; it was an attack conducted by the Japanese. Attacks like this are seldom talked about in American history. Americans are so used to believing that our little corner of the Earth is a safe harbor from foreign invasion. During WWII, both the Germans and Japanese had serious ambitions about striking the United States, but it would be the latter of the two that would accomplish striking the US on its home turf.

 

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What the Boys Listened To

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Music has always influenced anyone who has ever listened to it. Going all the way back to when the first concept of music came about, we see that it can be a very important tool and motivator. I believe wholeheartedly that music had a significant impact on the war, whether it be on the battlefield where men sat idle waiting for orders as the BBC sounded out tune after tune of popular music like The Andrew Sisters’ famous 1941 hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” or Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” or in the factory as a young woman made ammunition for the war effort. These artists and their passion for music captivated the world and their focus on happier times; reminiscent of days long gone when there was not a war to tear them from their families and homes. I will be discussing not a few big popular artists, but a variety of musicians over the giant spectrum of music popular between the war years of 1939-1945. 

WWII Comics

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Looking at the art that was influenced by what the soldiers saw as well as what artists read and in the news. This exhibit includes comics and illustrations from the likes of Dr. Suess, Bill Mauldin, and Dave Breger and their influence on the overall perception of politics, the "average Joe" infantry, and the Allied and Axis powers.

Of course, not all illustrations were made for adults at home in the Sunday paper and the infantry on the battlefield. Comic books were in the hands of almost every child during that era, and with comics such as Superman and Captain America, the American experience of World War II was felt by every American.

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American Poster Propaganda during World War II

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During the Second World War, the United States governmnet used a tool called propaganda to motivate, unite, and justify war-goals to the American public. The poster constituted propaganda that was seen throughout the nation. A majority of posters were produced by an organization called the Office of War Information which used various images to persuade and reinforce the messages of the government. Each poster, designed by different artists highlighted specfic themes such as bond-buying or rationing.

This exhibit displays the various styles and themes of OWI posters during the Second World War. How do you feel concerning the individual poster? Can you decipher how the poster contributed to American propaganda as a whole? 

 

 

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Soldiers in Guadacanal

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Soldiers fighting in Guadacanal in the pacific campaign during WWII.