Hard Times in Hürtgen Forest

The 1944 Battle of the Hürtgen Forest, east of Aachen, Germany, raged from September into December, when the Battle of the Bulge overtook it. It featured brutal combat against dug-in German troops in dense woods, testing GIs’ endurance. NATIONAL ARCHIVES … continue reading »

WWII Mascots of Land, Sea, and Sky

By Michael Momose By the time World War II began, warfare had developed into its more modern form, with efficient, highly mechanized weapons and machines, previously unseen, appearing on the battlefield, on the oceans, and in the air. Nonetheless, some … continue reading »

Four-Wheeling in Wisconsin

Assembly line workers in Clintonville kept the armies rolling forward at the front.

In a Fireside Chat on December 29, 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt said “We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company … continue reading »

Blimps, Bombs, and Wolf Packs

From high above Allied shipping lanes, the Battle of the Atlantic often didn’t look like much. But the airmen who snapped these photos from warplanes and blimps knew they were engaged in a deadly game of cat and mouse with … continue reading »


Arriving just in time for World War II, two American guns shared a name and a critical role in victory: the M1 Garand rifle and the M1 carbine.

John Garand, inventor of the semi-automatic M1 Garand rifle, works … continue reading »

History’s First Carrier Battles

The mid-1942 clashes in the Coral Sea and at Midway were the world's first fights between aircraft carriers. Plenty of photos were taken to remember them by.

Secretaries Of War

Thousands of women spent the early 1940s working in government offices in Washington, DC, getting vital information into the right hands to keep the war machine running.

The Pacific Fleet Strikes Back

After surviving the Pearl Harbor raid unscathed, US aircraft carriers lead the counterattack against the Japanese. Things went well. But not everything.

Welcome To The Service, Son

New recuits got an occasional fatherly pat on the back, but being indoctrinated into the military was hardly a family picnic at the park. There was exercise and long marches and drilling. And more exercise.

Raid Liberates American POWs In The Philippines

US Army Rangers and Filipinos free hundreds of Allied captives at the Japanese Cabanatuan prison camp on Luzon in early 1945.

Greyhound: On The Road Through WWII And Beyond

There was no escaping the world war, and America's intercity bus company changed with it like everything else did--while peering through a rose-colored windshield at the promising postwar future on the horizon.

Disney To The Front

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and an army of their kindred cartoons join the war effort at home and overseas

Stamps For The War Effort

Like almost everything else governments printed for public consumption during the war, postage stamps, in all their variety, were designed to stoke patriotism.

Battle Of The Bulge 2010

''GI" Joe Razes and more than 1,000 other reenactors march into Pennsylvania's Fort Indiantown Gap to re-create the winter of 1944-1945 fight in the Ardennes forest.

Heading Home At Last

Across Europe, Asia, and the Pacific, America’s victorious GIs pack up, tear down, and head home to restart their lives—and their country.

Victory Mania!

Americans cut loose around the world as they learn of Japan’s surrender and start the countdown to a new life and a brighter future.

America Beats The Nazis

Join the fighting GIs on their long, dangerous journey across Europe to end the tyranny of the Third Reich.

Long before GI boots marched against Adolf Hitler’s Fortress Europa, US and British bombers were turning German industry to rubble. Here, … continue reading »

George Patton And The Camera

Hard-fighting General George S. Patton, Jr., wasn’t just a warrior, he was a showman–dramatic, flamboyant, and ready to mug for the camera.

Major General George S. Patton, Jr., shouts last-minute orders before going ashore during the November 1942 Allied landings … continue reading »

Iwo Jima Snapshots

Clearing ash-coated Iwo Jima of its grim Japanese defenders was a grind unlike anything US marines had ever experienced before. Marines pour out of landing craft and onto Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, D-day for the island’s invasion. (National … continue reading »

Pulp Fiction Fantasy

Cheap, exciting, and fun to read, pulp fiction magazines were the ultimate escape from war’s hard times.

Pulp Fiction Goes To War

A sampler of World War II-era, military-themed pulp fiction magazine covers.

Icy Battle Of The Bulge

Here’s what it looked like when GIs battled two enemies–the Germans and a savage winter–to recover Belgian ground lost to blitzkrieg.

As this still from a captured German film shows, Adolf Hitler’s Blitzkrieg into the Ardennes left utter devastation … continue reading »

Death Of A Carrier

The aircraft carrier USS Princeton was launching planes on October 24, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, when a bomb ended her career—and the lives of hundreds of men. USS Princeton (CVL-23) was the fourth US Navy ship to … continue reading »

Marianas Turkey Shoot

A loosely chronological photo gallery of June 19-20, 1944, in the Battle of the Philippine Sea

Americans On D-Day

Follow American fighting men as they prepare for and launch the great Normandy Invasion of June 6, 1944.

Ghost Army Shoulder Patches

General George Patton fielded a historic-first phony army to fool the Germans in the 1944 Normandy Invasion. The deception was so elaborate it even included counterfeit insignia for the fake army units.

Under Fire On Guam

A grunt’s view

Early on July 21, 1944–D-day for the American invasion of Guam in the Central Pacific’s Mariana Islands–a US flotilla hovers offshore to provide artillery support and guard against Japanese air attack. (National Archives)

Loaded with … continue reading »