Online Primary Sources for American History: World War II Interviews/Oral Histories

World War II ended almost sixty years ago; those who were part of that global struggle are disappearing very rapidly, and all we have left are their thoughts/memories. These repositories have captured what they experienced. The Cornelius J. Ryan Collection at Ohio University has a digital exhibit containing dozens of eyewitness accounts. It is a little awkward to navigate, but a patient researcher will find much of value here. The Drop Zone concentrates on America’s elite services: Raiders, paratroopers, glidermen, Rangers, etc. The Rutgers Oral History Archives has a special section on World War II interviews; hundreds are available. The Library of Congress hosts the Veterans History Project that holds over 2400 World War II interviews, some containing sound and video recordings. The National World War II Museum features two dozen taped interviews. Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront Project details through numerous interviews life in the San Francisco area during the war. The Georgia World War II Oral History Project contains many recorded interviews, some over an hour long. The New York State Military Museum’s Veteran Oral History Program also offers interviews on a more local level. Thousands of oral histories from the British perspective can be found at BBC WW2 People’s War


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