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NARA Resources

Archives Surviving from World War II
An excerpt copied with permission of the author, Gerhard Weinberg, from his book A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II.

War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army Service Location: Africa; Sicily, Italy Theme: The War: Jay S. Adams War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army Service Location: European Theater Theme: D-Day On the Beach Theme: Voices of War Theme: D-Day 70th Anniversary: Lucian Adams War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army. Donald C Mac Pherson is among the 1,369 American Gold Star casualties recorded in our archive with close ties to District of Columbia. This is a substantial number of individuals who gave their lives in service to their country.

  • Discover your family’s World War II Military History. World War 2 casualty, veteran, and military unit records research by WW2 Researcher Bill Beigel. Offering full-service research and records analysis, guided DIY research, research training workshops for genealogists, group and civic memorial research.
  • WWII—the world at war again. Just 21 years after the last global war, the world was drawn into an even greater conflict. More than 100 million soldiers—including 16 million Americans—fought in WWII. As records become public, our collections have grown to include millions of names and photos.
  • Trenches—long, deep ditches dug as protective defenses—are most often associated with World War I, and the results of trench warfare in that conflict were hellish indeed.

'Buddies: Soldiers and Animals in World War II'
Lisa B. Auel wrote this Prologue article.

Continuing the Fight: Harry S. Truman and World War II
This Truman Library website contains a collection of documents, photographs, and eyewitness accounts concerning the latter stages of World War II.

Day of Infamy Speech
Audio of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech to Congress the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

'Getting the Message Out: The Poster Boys of World War II'
Prologue article by Robert Ellis about government-produced posters from World War II.

Holocaust Era Assets
Information about the records and research available in the National Archives and Records Administration regarding Holocaust Era Assets.

Information Concerning Philippine Army and Guerrilla Records
This NARA site gives in-depth information on the collection of records of World War II Philippine Army and Guerrilla members, which have recently been transferred to the National Personnel Records Center.

War

'Irving Berlin: This Is the Army'
This article by Laurence Bergreen is from the Summer 1996 issue of the NARA publication Prologue, and presents an in-depth look at Irving Berlin's production of This is the Army.

Japan Surrenders
On September 2, 1945, Japanese representatives signed the official Instrument of Surrender. Both pages of the short document are available as digital images.

'Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson: A 1944 Court-Martial'
John Vernon's Prologue article about the court-martial of Second Lieutenant Jack (Jackie) Roosevelt Robinson

Journey of the Philippine Archives Collection
'The Philippine Archives Collection constitutes an invaluable source of information on the Pacific war during World War II, particularly concerning the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs); military operations in the Philippines, 1941-1942; guerrilla warfare in the Philippines; and conditions in the Philippines under Japanese occupation.'

'Let the Records Bark!: Personal Stories of Some Special Marines in World War II'
M. C. Lang's Prologue article about Dog Record Books of each canine who enrolled in the Army and Marine Corps from December 15, 1942, to August 15, 1945.

'The Lions' History: Researching World War II Images of African Americans'
An article from the Summer 1997 issue of NARA's publication, Prologue by Barbara L. Burger.

Memorandum Regarding the Enlistment of Navajo Indians
A Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan that provides background on the Marine Corps' decision to enlist and train the Navajos as messengers during World War II.

'Mission to Štechovice: How Americans Took Nazi Documents from Czechoslovakia — And Created a Diplomatic Crisis'
A Prologue article by T. Dennis Reece about the seizure of Nazi documents by Allied forces.

Mobilizing for War: Poster Art of World War II
A Truman Library online exhibit of a selection of posters illustrating such topics as 'wartime security, enlistment, production of food and war materials, salvage and conservation, patriotic inspiration, relief efforts, and funding of the war through the sale of war bonds.'

'The Mystery of the Sinking of the Royal T. Frank'
Prologue article by Peter von Buol describing the sinking of a U.S. Army transport ship off the coast of Hawaii by the Japanese in 1942.

'Nazi Looted Art: The Holocaust Records Preservation Project'
A three-part Prologue article by Anne Rothfeld about the Holocaust Records Project (HRP) which was tasked with 'identifying, preserving, describing, and microfilming more than twenty million pages of records created by the Allies in occupied Europe regarding Nazi looted art and the restitution of national treasures.'

Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG)
'The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) locates, identifies, inventories, and recommends for declassification, currently classified U.S. records relating to Nazi and Japanese Imperial Government war crimes.'

'Operation Blissful: How the Marines Lured the Japanese Away from a Key Target — And How 'the Brute' Got Some Help from JFK'
Prologue article by Greg Bradsher about a diversionary mission in the South Pacific.

'Remembering Pearl Harbor . . . 70 Years Later'
Prologue article by Lopez Matthews, Zachary Dabbs, and Eliza Mbughuni discusses deck logs of ships docked in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

'Return to Sender U.S. Censorship of Enemy Alien Mail in World War II'
Lois Fiset's Prologue article on the U.S. government's mail examination and censorship programs on the correspondence of enemy aliens during World War II.

'Safeguarding Hoover Dam during World War II'
Christine Pfaff's Prologue article on the measures taken during World War II to thwart potential sabotage of the Hoover Dam.

'Sage Prophet or Loose Cannon?: Skilled Intelligence Officer in World War II Foresaw Japan's Plans, but Annoyed Navy Brass'
Prologue article by David A. Pfeiffer about Capt. Ellis M. Zacharias.

'Semper Fidelis, Code Talkers'
Adam Jevec's Prologue article on the impenetrable Navajo language code used by U.S. Marine Forces in World War II.

'Sixty Years Later, the Story of PT-109 Still Captivates'
Stephen Plotkin's Prologue article on the sinking of a Patrol Torpedo boat commanded by John F. Kennedy in the South Pacific in August 1943.

'Two Americans and the Angry Russian Bear: Army Air Force Pilots Court-Martialed for Offending the Soviet Union during World War II'
Prologue article by Fred L. Borch.

Veterans Gallery: Faces of the Men and Women Who Served during World War II
This collection of photographs of military servicemen and servicewomen was compiled by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library from submissions by the public.

'Wearing Lipstick to War: An American Woman in World War II England and France'
James H. Madison wrote this Prologue article about Elizabeth A. Richardson, who joined the American Red Cross and died in France in 1945.

World War II Photos
This collection of photographs of military servicemen and servicewomen was compiled by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library from submissions by the public.

World War II Remembered: Leaders, Battles & Heroes
'This multi-year exhibit commemorates the 70th anniversaries of WWII and will change often as we progress through the timeline of the war.' From the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home.

'The 'Z Plan' Story: Japan's 1944 Naval Battle Strategy Drifts into U.S. Hands'
Greg Bradsher's Prologue article about 'how the Z Plan drifted into American hands in one of World War II's greatest intelligence victories, leading to a crushing defeat for Japan in the Southwest Pacific in 1944.'

Other Resources

After the Day of Infamy: 'Man-on-the-Street' Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor
'Approximately twelve hours of opinions recorded in the days and months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor from more than two hundred individuals in cities and towns across the United States.'

Combat Chronicles of U.S. Army Divisions in World War II
'The following combat chronicles, current as of October 1948, are reproduced from The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 510-592.'

FBIS Against the Axis, 1941-1945: Open-Source Intelligence From the Airwaves
Stephen Mercado's article provides extensive information on the establishment and operation of the Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service, an agency devoted to monitoring and analyzing foreign radio broadcasts for intelligence purposes, during World War II.

A Guide to World War II Materials
'Links to World War II related resources throughout the Library of Congress Web site.'

Hawaii War Records Depository Photos
'The HWRD includes 880 photographs taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the U.S. Navy during World War II. These photographs, taken between 1941 and 1946, document the impact of World War II in Hawaii.'

Historic Government Publications from World War II
This digital collection from Southern Methodist University Central University Libraries' Government Information Department 'contains 343 Informational pamphlets, government reports, instructions, regulations, declarations, speeches, and propaganda materials distributed by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) during the Second World War.'

Hyperwar: U.S. Navy in World War II
Provides lists of ships, Naval Intelligence Combat Narratives, U.S. Naval Operations, Naval Stations and Facilities, U.S. Coast Guard members, and U.S. Navy Histories from World War II.

July, 1942: United We Stand
This is a companion web site for a Smithsonian Institution temporary exhibit that ran through October 2002. The exhibit highlights nearly 300 magazine covers featuring American flags, the slogan 'United We Stand', and appeals to buy war bonds.

Medal of Honor Recipients: World War II
U.S. Army Center Center of Military History site that provides the names of Medal of Honor recipients and the actions that are commemorated.

Naval Aviation Chronology in World War II
Information compiled by the Naval History & Heritage Command.

Nuremberg Trials Project: A Digital Document Collection
Maintained by the Harvard Law School Library, this site provides access to trial documents and transcripts from the Medical Case held in 1946-1947 against 23 defendants accused of crimes against humanity in the form of harmful or fatal medical experiments and procedures. The site also provides a list of additional resources related to the Nuremberg Trials.

The OSS and Italian Partisans in World War II
Peter Tompkins, CIA, is the author of this article on the intelligence and operational support for the Anti-Nazi Resistance.

The Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color
This PBS site is a companion to its program of the same name. It includes color photographs and videos that were shot to document the war.

Ration Coupons on the Home Front, 1942-1945
'Shows how the U.S. government controlled and conserved vehicles, typewriters, sugar, shoes, fuel, and food.'

Stalag Luft I Online
The family of Dick Williams Jr., a prisoner of war during World War II, began this site as a tribute to his service. It now includes stories, photos, and letters that document the experiences of the POWs held at Stalag Luft I.

Student Voices from World War II and the McCarthy Era
A compilation of narratives from Brooklyn College students during World War II and the McCarthy era. Includes the oral histories of both participants in the school's Farm Labor Project and employees of the student newspaper.

Untold Stories of D-Day
This National Geographic site is an online gallery of stories and photographs telling the D-Day story.

The U. S. Coast Guard in World War II
The U. S. Coast Guard maintains this site, which includes Official Histories, Oral Histories of Coast Guard Veterans, and more.

U.S.-Russia Joint Commission Documents Database
The documents found in the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission Database consist mainly of translations of Russian-language documents retrieved from various archives in the Russian Federation pertaining to American personnel missing from World War II to the present.

Victory at Sea
From The Atlantic Monthly, this article describes the sea battles of World War II.

War Letters
This PBS website provides context to their film War Letters, based on Andrew Carroll's book of personal correspondence from the Revolutionary War through the Gulf War. Features letters, biographies, timelines, cartoons, and local resources.

World War II
Fordham University provides links to documents relating to World War II, including sections on the Lead Up to War, War In Europe, War In Asia, and After the War.

World War II: Documents
The Avalon Project's collection of World War II documents are available on this site, including British War Blue Book, Japanese Surrender Documents, Tripartite Pact and Associated Documents, and much more.

World War II Gallery
This site from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force includes descriptions and images of World War II era aircraft, engines, weapons, and more.

World War II History
From the Internet Public Library, this site includes print and Internet resources for high school and college students beginning research on World War II.

World War II Military Situation Maps
This Library of Congress collection 'contains maps showing troop positions beginning on June 6, 1944 to July 26, 1945. Starting with the D-Day Invasion, the maps give daily details on the military campaigns in Western Europe, showing the progress of the Allied Forces as they push towards Germany.'

World War II Poster Collection
The Government Publications Department at Northwestern University Library has a comprehensive collection of over 300 posters issued by U.S. Federal agencies from the start of the war through 1945.

World War Iimr. Mac's Class Website Download

World War II: The Photos We Remember
A collection of photographs published in Life Magazine during World War II.

World War II Time Line
Provides a timeline of the major events of World War II.

Introduction

This reference report provides an overview of selected electronic data records in the custody of the National Archives directly relating to World War II. Full descriptions of the series and data files listed in this report are in National Archives Catalog. Users can search the Catalog by title, National Archives Identifier, type of archival material, or keyword.

Some of the series and files listed in this report are accessible online:

  • View/Download - This is a link for viewing and/or downloading the files and documentation from the Catalog. For more details on downloading files, please review the frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • Search - This is a link for searching the records via the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) resource.

All of the files are also available for a cost-recovery fee. For more information see: Ordering Information for Electronic Records.

In addition to the series and files listed in this reference report, the unit has custody of other electronic series containing World War II-era records. Description of them are in NARA's Catalog. Some are described in Theodore J. Hull's article, 'Electronic Records in the National Archives for World War II Research', that appeared in the Fall 1994 issue of Prologue.

Record Group 38: Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

  • Records of Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel, 1942-1945
    National Archives Identifier: 603333
    Technical Documentation: 21 pages
    Online Access: DownloadSearch

    This series has information about military intelligence personnel attached to Naval Group China during World War II.

Record Group 64: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration

  • World War II Army Enlistment Records
    National Archives Identifier: 604357
    Technical Documentation: 74 pages of main documentation; 309 pages of codelists
    Online Access: DownloadSearch

    This series contains records of approximately 9 million men and women who enlisted in the United States Army between 1938 and 1946, including the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and the Enlisted Reserve Corps. The series does not include records for Army officers, members of other military services, or enlistments from other time periods.

Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority

  • Records About Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II
    National Archives Identifier: 574045
    Technical Documentation: 91 pages
    Online Access: DownloadSearch

    This series contains personal descriptive data about Japanese Americans evacuated from the states of Washington, Oregon, and California to ten relocation centers operated by the War Relocation Authority during World War II in the states of California (Tule Lake and Manzanar Centers), Idaho (Minidoka Center), Utah (Central Utah Center), Colorado (Granada Center), Arizona (Colorado River and Gila River Centers), Wyoming (Heart Mountain Center), and Arkansas (Rohwer and Jerome Centers).

  • Portland Branch Evacuee Property Files
    National Archives Identifier: 40143322
    Files: 98 Portable Document Format (PDF) files
    Online Access: View/Download
    This series documents the management and disposal of properties and goods as identified by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) as directed by Executive Orders 9102 and 9066. This series consists of correspondence, reports, and case files pertaining to the property of individuals, families, and businesses impacted by involuntary evacuation and relocation because of their foreign national status or Japanese ancestry.
  • San Francisco Branch Evacuee Property Files
    National Archives Identifier: 38221779
    Files: 345 Portable Document Format (PDF) files ​
    Online Access: View/Download
    This series documents the management and disposal of properties and goods as identified by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) as directed by Executive Orders 9102 and 9066. This series consists of correspondence, reports, and case files pertaining to the property of individuals, families, and businesses impacted by involuntary evacuation and relocation because of their foreign national status or Japanese ancestry.

Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense

  • American Soldier in World War II Surveys, 1942-1945
    National Archives Identifier:620483
    Technical Documentation: varies per survey
    Online Access: Download

    This series contains information on soldiers' attitudes toward job assignments, medical care, food quality, leisure time activities, opportunities to advance in the Army, women in the military, and race relations, among other subjects. Most surveys contain information on the respondent's age, education, marital status, home town, religious affiliation, pre-military occupation, rank, branch of service, time in the service, and job assignment.

Record Group 389: Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal General

  • Records of World War II Prisoners of War
    National Archives Identifier: 583428
    Technical Documentation: 67 pages of main documentation; 100 pages supplemental documentation
    Online Access: DownloadSearch

    This series has information about U.S. military officers and soldiers and U.S. and some Allied civilians who were prisoners of war and internees held by Japanese or German powers.

Collection ADBC: Records of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor

  • World War II Prisoners of the Japanese Data Files, ca. 1941 - ca. 1945
    National Archives Identifier: 731002
    Technical Documentation: 30-49 pages
    Online Access: DownloadSearch

    This series contains information on military personnel and a few civilians who were prisoners of the Japanese during World War II. The American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor compiled these records from the series 'Records of World War II Prisoners of War, 1942-1947,' the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor registration cards, unit rosters, and other sources.

Related Information

Theodore J. Hull, 'Electronic Records in the National Archives for World War II Research,' Prologue 26 (Fall 1994): 166-169.

Theodore J. Hull, 'The World War II Army Enlistment Records File and Access to Archival Databases,' Prologue 38 (Spring 2006): 54-60.

Lee A. Gladwin, 'Top Secret: Recovering and Breaking the U.S. Army and Army Air Force Order of Battle Codes, 1941-1945,' Prologue 32 (Fall 2000): 174-182.

Lee A. Gladwin, 'American POWs on Japanese Ships Take a Voyage into Hell,' Prologue 35 (Winter 2003): 30-39.

World War Iimr. Mac's Class Website 2017

NARA brochure, Finding Information on Personal Participation in World War II

NARA Reference Information Paper 78, Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II 'The American Soldier' Surveys

World War Iimr. Mac's Class Website Free

NARA Reference Information Paper 80, Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees

NARA Reference Information Paper 82, A Finding Aid to Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Military Casualties and Burials

Other finding aids and guides are listed on Selected Finding Aids Related to NARA's World War II Holdings

World War Iimr. Mac's Class Websites

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September 2017