Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Some stories can't just be told. They must be experienced. Teachers

Browse | New Search
Explore the American Experience
Teachers' Area.

Pick a Topic

Narrow your results by selecting below (optional)

Pick Features








Pick Media type










Sort By


The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)

World War II
Your search gave 198 results


Special feature

America and the Holocaust
Kurt Klein's Story [Text-based]

From July 1937, when Kurt Klein emigrated to the United States, until August 1942, when his parents Alice and Ludwig Klein were deported to Auschwitz, the family exchanged hundreds of letters. Many of them documented the older Kleins' constant struggle to join their children in America. In the late 1980s Kurt began translating this correspondence. You can read excerpts from some of these letters by clicking on the appropriate items in the chronology below.

Bataan Rescue
Survivor Interviews [Video]

Liberated POWs tell their stories in interviews and a newsreel from 1945. Two clips.

Bataan Rescue
Ranger Training [Video]

Raw recruits are molded into elite special forces in this footage from a Hawaii training camp. Twelve clips.

Bataan Rescue
Two Nations [Text-based]

Explore America's deep connection to the Philippines in this interview with journalist Stanley Karnow.

Bataan Rescue
Share Your Story [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Where were you during World War II -- on the home front, the front lines, or somewhere else?

Battle of the Bulge
Online Poll [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

What's worse: bloody combat and massive troop deaths, or the destructiveness of an atomic weapon?

Battle of the Bulge
Dispatches [Text-based]

Read the stories of soldiers and nurses who were at the Bulge.

Battle of the Bulge
Viewer Mail [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

After the program broadcast, many people sent us their comments. Here are some of them.

Battle of the Bulge
Share Your Story [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Where were you during World War II -- on the home front, the front lines, or somewhere else?

Battle of the Bulge
Vets Remember [Video]

Battle of the Bulge veterans remember their experiences. Four video clips with transcripts.

Building the Alaska Highway
Online Poll [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Do you think the highway should have been built along the scenic, coastal Route A?

Building the Alaska Highway
How to Build a Road [Flash interactive]

Discover how Army engineers negotiated with nature to blaze a trail through the wilderness. Flash with non-Flash version available.

Building the Alaska Highway
Bonus Interviews [Text-based]

Read excerpts from interviewees' stories about Alaska, and about the challenging highway project.

D-Day
Did You Know? [Text-based]

Learn about landing craft, battle reporting, the vast scale of the invasion, and what the \"D\" stands for.

D-Day
Paratroopers [Text-based]

Find out about the soldiers who dropped behind enemy lines.

D-Day
Share Your Story [Text-based]

Where were you during World War II -- on the home front, the front lines, or somewhere else?

Fly Girls
The B-29: A Brief History [Text-based]

Read about the B-29 Superfortress.

Fly Girls
The WASP and the B-29 [Text-based]

Read about Women Airforce Service Pilots' (WASPS) role in the testing of the B-29 Superfortress.

Fly Girls
Video Clips of the B-29 [Video]

Video clips of the B-29 taking off and in flight. Two clips.

Fly Girls
The B-29: Tour the Plane [Non-Flash interactive]

Explore the B-29 SuperFortress.

MacArthur
The Fight in the Philippines: Bataan, POWs, and the Guerrilla War [Text-based]

Vivid accounts from a few of the men who were there.

MacArthur
MacArthur Home Movies [Video]

The MacArthur family at home in Japan. Three clips.

The Man Behind Hitler
Historian Q & A [Text-based]

Noted historian Martin Kitchen talks about Goebbels, the Third Reich, and the Nazi view of America.

The Man Behind Hitler
Nazi Film Propaganda [Image-based]

Find out about popular German films in the Nazi era.

The Man Behind Hitler
Online Poll [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Should the U.S. have opposed Hitler in the late 1930s?

The Nuremberg Trials
Online Poll [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Were the Nuremberg trials fair, or did they mete out "victor's justice"?

The Nuremberg Trials
We Were There [Text-based]

A prison guard and an Army photographer share their memories of life in postwar Nuremberg.

The Nuremberg Trials
Defendant Göring [Video]

See footage of the Allies' prize prisoner after his surrender.

The Nuremberg Trials
More on World War II [Text-based]

Learn more about the Second World War on these American Experience Web sites.

Truman
Legacy [Text-based]

How will history remember Harry Truman?

Victory in the Pacific
Online Poll [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

In 1945, how would you have weighed the decision to drop an atomic bomb?

Victory in the Pacific
Target Tokyo [Video]

This government film tells the story of the B-29 bomber, "A Million Bucks on the Wing."

Victory in the Pacific
A Hell on Earth [Text-based]

Meet some of the Japanese and Americans who survived total war in the Pacific.

Victory in the Pacific
The Costs of War [Other]

Explore the staggering number of deaths and casualties in the Pacific theater.

Victory in the Pacific
Online Forum [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Questions and answers with historians and the filmmaker on the end of World War II in the Pacific.

Victory in the Pacific
"Umi Yukaba" [Audio]

Listen to a Japanese song of allegiance to the emperor.

War Letters
Share Your Stories [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Did you or someone in your family receive or send mail during wartime? Have you saved war letters from any of America's wars? Send in your stories.

War Letters
Special Delivery [Non-Flash interactive]

Play a military postal history game and get the mail from the front lines to the home front.

War Letters
Save Your Letters [Video]

Learn how to preserve important documents for future generations. Conservation specialist Linda Edquist demonstrates some easy methods. Twelve clips.

War Letters
The Legacy Project [Video]

Find out about the Legacy Project, Andrew Carroll's all-volunteer organization that works to honor the men and women who served America in wartime.

Zoot Suit Riots
Zoot Suit Riots en Español [Other]

Access the entire Web site for this program in Spanish!

Zoot Suit Riots
Online Poll [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

Under what circumstances would or wouldn't you wear a zoot suit?

Zoot Suit Riots
Zoot Suit Culture [Flash interactive]

Find out all about ankle chokers, sharkskin suits, beehive hair, the semi-drape, the Million Dollar Theater, penny arcades, and the pachuco hop.

Zoot Suit Riots
1940's Los Angeles [Flash interactive]

Follow the 1943 riots as they spread from neighborhood to neighborhood through Los Angeles.

Zoot Suit Riots
Votación En Línea [Opinion (poll, submission, forum)]

¿Bajo qué circunstancias se pondría o no se pondría usted un zoot suit?

Zoot Suit Riots
Los Ángeles en los Años '40 [Flash interactive]

Siga los disturbios de 1943 a medida de que éstos se iban diseminando por los vecindarios de Los Angeles.

Maps

America and the Holocaust
Maps of the Holocaust [Non-Flash interactive]

Track events in the U.S. and atrocities in Europe.

Bataan Rescue
Philippines Map [Image-based]

See the route of the death march and access a brief timeline of the war in the Philippines.

Building the Alaska Highway
How to Build a Road [Flash interactive]

Visit Alaska locations and explore the history of the "last frontier" in this interactive map. Flash with non-Flash version available.

D-Day
Map: Allied Forces Route [Image-based]

View a map of invasion routes and paratrooper drop zones.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor's Tour of the South Pacific [Flash interactive]

In 1943, while the U.S. was battling the Japanese, Eleanor Roosevelt went on a goodwill tour. Follow the first lady from island to island. Flash with non-Flash version available.

Fly Girls
Four Trips of a Fly Girl [Flash interactive]

Fly with WAFS pilot Teresa James as she ferries brand-new P-47 Thunderbolts across the country in wartime.

MacArthur
Where in the World is Douglas MacArthur? [Flash interactive]

Track MacArthur's career as he moved around the globe, accessing the information chronologically or by location. Flash interactive with non-Flash version available.

MacArthur
WWII: The Battle for Leyte [Image-based]

View maps detailing the Battle for Leyte.

Victory in the Pacific
World War II in the Pacific [Other]

Trace Japan's imperial ambitions, and the American military response, in these maps of World War II's Pacific theater. Images with text, with animated versions available as video files.

Primary source

America and the Holocaust
Memoranda and documents concerning the U.S. policies on Jews in Europe [Text-based]

Complex social and political factors shaped America's response to the Holocaust. For a short time, the U.S. had an opportunity to open its doors, but instead erected a "paper wall," a bureaucratic maze that prevented all but a few Jewish refugees from entering the country. It was not until 1944, that a small band of Treasury Department employees forced the government to respond. (26 documents)

Bataan Rescue
On the Home Front [Text-based]

Read letters sent to and from the anxious families of POWs being held in the Philippines during World War II.

Bataan Rescue
A Survivor of the Palawan Massacre [Text-based]

Army private Eugene Nielsen describes the terrible event that motivated the Cabanatuan rescue.

Bataan Rescue
Kill-All Policy [Text-based]

A Japanese war minister describes how POW guards should destroy their prisoners.

Building the Alaska Highway
Attack on America [Text-based]

A California newspaper reports on Japan's June, 1942 invasion of the Aleutian Islands.

D-Day
Voices of D-Day [Text-based]

The battle's fliers, the men who landed on Normandy's beaches, and German soldiers tell their stories.

D-Day
Hot Off the Presses [Text-based]

Read a newspaper account and Americans' reactions to news of the D-Day assault.

D-Day
Letters from the Front [Text-based]

Explore first-hand accounts of soldiers' experiences after D-Day.

FDR
Pearl Harbor Speech [Text-based]

FDR's famous request for Congress to declare war following the Japanese attacks of December 7th -- the "day that will live in infamy."

FDR
Propaganda Posters [Image-based]

Browse a collection of World War-II era posters.

Fly Girls
WASP Record: Official Statistics [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Official Correspondence: Telegram inviting application to WASP training [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Official Correspondence: Notification of acceptance into the WASP training program [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Official Correspondence: Required Qualifications for acceptance into WASP program [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Official Correspondence: Notification from General Hap Arnold of the end of the WASP program [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Official Correspondence: Letter from Walt Disney with a design for the WASP insignia [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Pilot Records: Extract from Pilot's Log Book [Image-based]

Fly Girls
Pilot Records: Honorable Discharge for Dora J. Dougherty [Image-based]

Fly Girls
Letters and Articles Written by WASPS and WAFS: At the twilight's last gleaming [Text-based]

Article written by Cornelia Fort, the first American woman pilot to die flying a military aircraft.

Fly Girls
Letters and Articles Written by WASPS and WAFS: Excerpts from Madge Rutherford Minton's letters home [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Letters and Articles Written by WASPS and WAFS: Excerpts From Mary Anna Martin Wyall's letters home [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Songs Written and Sung by the WASPS: Zoot-Suits and Parachutes [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Songs Written and Sung by the WASPS: I'm a Flying Wreck [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Songs Written and Sung by the WASPS: WASP Song [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Dora Dougherty's certificate of competence in the B-29 [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Excerpt from Maintenance Bulletin No. 19 [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Letter from Harry McKeown to Dora Dougherty Strother [Text-based]

Fly Girls
A WASP Among Eagles: A Woman Military Test Pilot in World War II [Text-based]

Read a chapter from "A WASP Among Eagles: A Woman Military Test Pilot in World War II," by Ann Baumgartner Carl.

Ike
Letters to Mamie [Text-based]

Excerpts from Eisenhower's letters home to his wife, Mamie, during World War II.

MacArthur
MacArthur's Speeches: "I Shall Return." [Text-based]

MacArthur
MacArthur's Speeches: Radio Message from the Leyte Beachhead [Text-based]

MacArthur
MacArthur's Speeches: Surrender Ceremony on the U.S.S. Missouri [Text-based]

MacArthur
MacArthur's Letters to Jean During World War II: October 15, 1944 -- General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area [Text-based]

MacArthur
MacArthur's Letters to Jean During World War II: October 19, 1944 - General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area [Text-based]

MacArthur
MacArthur's Letters to Jean During World War II: January 8, 1945 - U.S.S. Nashville [Text-based]

MacArthur
Communiqu No. 936 30 October 1944 from G.H.Q. Southwest Pacific Area [Text-based]

MacArthur
Communiqu No. 995. 28 December 1944 from G.H.Q. Southwest Pacific Area [Text-based]

Race for the Superbomb
Klaus Fuchs' Oath of Secrecy [Text-based]

The Man Behind Hitler
Gallery: Homefront Propaganda in Germany and the U.S.A. [Image-based]

The Man Behind Hitler
Joseph Goebbels' Diary [Text-based]

Track the propagandist's views from 1926 to 1945.

The Man Behind Hitler
Nation, Rise Up and Let the Storm Break Loose [Text-based]

Goebbels outlines his plan for "total war" in his speech at the Sportpalast in February 1943.

The Man Behind Hitler
Churchill's Lie Factory [Text-based]

Goebbels accuses Winston Churchill of lying about the situation in England in a 1941 article from The People's Observer.

The Man Behind Hitler
What Does America Really Want? [Text-based]

Goebbels reacts to U.S. criticism of Kristallnachtin this 1939 article from The People's Observer.

The Man Behind Hitler
The Berlin Book Burning [Text-based]

This article about the 1933 book burning from The People's Observer, the Nazi Party's daily newspaper, summarizes Goebbels' speech at the bonfire in Berlin.

Truman
Agreements of the Berlin Potsdam Conference, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
Leaflets Dropped on Cities in Japan Warning Civilians of Atomic Bomb, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
White House Press Release Announcing the Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
Letter from Albert Einstein to FDR About Nuclear Bombs, 1939 [Text-based]

Truman
Letter from Henry Stimson, Secretary of War to President Truman, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
Letter from Albert Einstein to FDR about Dr. Leo Szilard, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
Entries from President Truman's Diary, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
Letter about Atomic Bomb Testing, 1945 [Text-based]

Truman
U.S. Warning to Japan Urging Surrender, 1945 [Text-based]

Victory in the Pacific
Warning Leaflet Dropped on Japan [Image-based]

The U.S. urges the Japanese people to surrender.

Victory in the Pacific
Invade or Bomb? [Text-based]

President Truman's diary reveals his feelings about General MacArthur and his concerns about how to end the war.

Victory in the Pacific
Negotiating the Surrender [Text-based]

What would become of the Japanese emperor after the war?

War Letters
Featured Letters [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
The Press and the Riot [Text-based]

How did the Los Angeles press report the riots? Read excerpts from two newspapers of the time.

Zoot Suit Riots
La Prensa y Los Disturbios [Text-based]

¿Cómo trató los disturbios la prensa de Los Angeles? Lea algunos pasajes de dos periódicos de la época.

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Henry Leyvas to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from one of the Sleepy Lagoon boys to Jaime [...] [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Henry Leyvas to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Manuel Reyes a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Alice McGrath to Manuel Reyes [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Manuel Reyes to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Chepe Ruiz to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Chepe Ruiz to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Chepe Ruiz to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Ysmael "Smiles" Parra to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Ysmael "Smiles" Parra to Jaime [...] [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Henry Ynostroza to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Chet Huntley (CBS) to Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Newsweek [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Orson Welles to California Parole Board [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Youth Committee for the Defense of Mexican American Youth to Henry A. Wallace [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Henry Leyvas a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta a la familia, escrita por uno de los muchachos de Sleepy Lagoon [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Henry Leyvas a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Letter from Manuel Reyes to Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Alice McGrath a Manuel Reyes [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Manuel Reyes a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Chepe Ruiz a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Chepe Ruiz a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Chepe Ruiz a Alice McGrath [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Ysmael "Smiles" Parra a Alice McGrath 12 de marzo de 1944 [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Ysmael "Smiles" Parra a Jaime [...] [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Henry Ynostroza a Alice McGrath 22 de julio de 1943 [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Chet Huntley, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. a Comité de defensa de Sleepy Lagoon 25 de julio de 1944 [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Newsweek 21 de junio de 1943 [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta de Orson Welles a Junta de libertad condicional 1 de marzo de 1944 [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Zoot Suit Riots
Carta a Henry A. Wallace, Vicepresidente de los Estados Unidos [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Gallery

Bataan Rescue
World War II POW Drawings [Image-based]

Montana native Ben Steele spent 40 months as a Japanese prisoner during World War II. See the harrowing drawings he made about his experience.

Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge [Image-based]

Soldiers take on Hitler in the brutal winter cold.

The Great Transatlantic Cable
Telegraph Snapshots [Image-based]

Browse a gallery of snapshots showing how the telegraph affected Americans over the years.

The Nuremberg Trials
Berlin After World War II [Image-based]

Raymond D'Addario was 26 years old when the U.S. Army assigned him to photograph the Nuremberg War Trials from 1945 to 1946. Browse some of D'Addario's Berlin images.

War Letters
Gallery [Image-based]

Cartoonist Bill Mauldin captured the everyday experiences of foot soldiers in World War II. View a sampling of his cartoons.

Zoot Suit Riots
Gallery: Zoot Suit Riots [Image-based]

View a gallery of photos of the Sleepy Lagoon boys and San Quentin Prison.

Timeline

America and the Holocaust
Timeline of America's Reaction to the Holocaust [Text-based]

Bataan Rescue
World War II in the Philippines [Text-based]

Battle of the Bulge
World War II in Europe [Text-based]

Building the Alaska Highway
Alaska from Russian Colony to U.S. State [Text-based]

D-Day
Timeline: World War II in Europe [Text-based]

Fly Girls
WASP Timeline [Text-based]

George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire
Timeline of George Wallace's Life [Text-based]

MacArthur
Timeline of The War in the Pacific [Text-based]

Streamliners: America's Lost Trains
Streamliners Timeline [Text-based]

The Man Behind Hitler
Timeline: World War II Chronologies [Text-based]

This page links to all our World War II timelines.

The Nuremberg Trials
The War in Europe and its Aftermath [Text-based]

Truman
Harry Truman's Life [Text-based]

Victory in the Pacific
From the Fall of Saipan to Surrender [Text-based]

War Letters
Chronology of U.S. Military Actions and Wars, 1775 - 1995 [Text-based]

Read a timeline with maps of military actions and wars the U.S. has been in here and overseas.

Zoot Suit Riots
Timeline: Zoot Suit Riots [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Timeline: Zoot Suit Riots [Text-based]

(in spanish)

Bibliography

America and the Holocaust
Further Reading [Text-based]

America and the Holocaust
Bibliography [Text-based]

Bataan Rescue
Further Reading [Text-based]

Battle of the Bulge
Further Reading [Text-based]

Building the Alaska Highway
Further Reading [Text-based]

D-Day
Further Reading [Text-based]

Fly Girls
Bibliography [Text-based]

Ike
Further Reading [Text-based]

MacArthur
Bibliography [Text-based]

The Man Behind Hitler
Further Reading [Text-based]

The Nuremberg Trials
Further Reading [Text-based]

Truman
Further Reading [Text-based]

Victory in the Pacific
Further Reading [Text-based]

War Letters
Further Reading [Text-based]

Zoot Suit Riots
Further Reading [Text-based]

Teacher's guide

America and the Holocaust
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Explore ethnic conflicts and immigration at the time of World War II and today.

Bataan Rescue
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Find out about war prisoners and the Geneva Conventions, study American imperialism and U.S.-Filipino relations, and explore World War II in the Pacific theater.

Battle of the Bulge
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Access first-person accounts of war, explore air power, investigate international military coalitions, and understand World War II military strategy in northern Europe.

Building the Alaska Highway
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Travel to the American frontier and explore life in Alaska, World War II, the Pacific theater, homeland defense, African Americans and the military, the impact of a wartime economy, natural resource management, and infrastructure planning and development.

D-Day
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Explore war through first-person accounts, analyze military strategy and the role of technology in war, and discuss leadership in desperate situations.

Fly Girls
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Learn about women's military contributions to World War II, and research women's involvement in the military today.

Ike
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Discuss the military-industrial complex, popular images of life in the Fifties, and more.

MacArthur
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Explore the career of a controversial leader and understand events in the Pacific theater during WWII.

Race for the Superbomb
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Research and debate the ethics, policy, and events that led from Hiroshima to the development of the hydrogen bomb.

The Man Behind Hitler
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Ask your students to explore the road to tyranny and war, debate how Hitler might have been stopped, and investigate the nature and effectiveness of political propaganda.

The Nuremberg Trials
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Take your students behind the scenes at an international tribunal and investigate perspectives on war and justice, dictators on trial, the Holocaust, the city of Nuremberg as a symbol of Nazi ideology and later justice, and war's toll on great cities.

Truman
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Investigate containment, the atomic bomb decision, women in the workforce, and early civil rights legislation.

Victory in the Pacific
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Use this site to understand the U.S. role in the Pacific, military planning and strategy including the use of bombing campaigns, the human costs of war, the B-29 aircraft, first-person accounts of war, the decision to use atomic weapons, and more.

War Letters
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Discuss censorship, wartime service and sacrifice, and the experiences of individuals affected by war.

Zoot Suit Riots
Teachers Guide [Text-based]

Explore teenage rebellion, World War II, immigration and assimilation, race relations, conflicts between law enforcement and minority groups, and the history of Mexicans in America.