World War II

Introduction

Global conflict involving every major power in the world. The Allies originally consisted of Great Britain, France, and China, but totaled fifty nations, including the United States and the Soviet Union, by the end of the war. The Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, and (until 1941) the Soviet Union were eventually joined by six other nations. Causes of the war were the rise of imperialist and totalitarian dictatorships in Germany, Italy, and Japan after World War I and a worldwide economic collapse, the Great Depression.

Selected supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe in December 1943, Eisenhower coordinated the plan to cross the English Channel in early June 1944 and invade Normandy on the coast of northern France. Called Operation Overlord, the invasion began June 6, 1944 (D-Day), and resulted in capture of the beaches of Normandy. By late 1944 France and Belgium were freed and Allied troops were in Holland and Germany. Heavy Allied bombing hammered the industrial centers of Germany. On December 16–26, 1944, the Nazis tried a last desperate counteroffensive in the Battle of the Bulge, but it was thwarted, and the Allies swept into Germany. Hitler, trapped in a Berlin bunker between Russians advancing from the east and Americans and British from the west, committed suicide. The German provisional government announced his death on May 1, 1945, and on V-E Day, May 8, Germany's unconditional surrender was celebrated. The Soviet Union then declared war on Japan and occupied Manchuria. Allied planes started bombing Tokyo in February 1945, and while U.S. troops were preparing to invade Japan, President Harry S. Truman, who had succeeded to the presidency upon Roosevelt's death April 12, 1945, ordered atomic bombs (fruits of the Manhattan Project) to be dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki three days later, ushering in the nuclear age. Japan surrendered and on V-J Day, August 15, 1945, World War II ended.

Military deaths in the worldwide conflict were predictably massive, totaling in excess of 17 million troops. The number of civilian deaths due to bombing raids, starvation, and disease was even greater. When the Allies liberated the death camps in Germany and Poland, they were horrified to discover the extent of the Holocaust that Germany had conducted during the war. Some 12 million people had been murdered, including 6 million Jews. The Soviet Union suffered the most deaths of any single country —about 20 million military personnel and civilians died. The United States lost more than 405,000 troops.

Source: The Great American History Fact-Finder. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. s.v. "World War II," http://www.credoreference.com/entry/6601881/. (accessed March 12, 2009).

Collections

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository contains the collections listed below pertaining to World War II, 1939-1945. To browse all World War II materials in the DMR click here.

Ball State University Campus Photographs

Ball State University Campus Photographs

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Ball State Campus Photographs collection, which contains images courtesy of Ball State University Photo Services and Archives and Special Collections. Among the images are photographs that feature the World War II military training that took place on the Ball State Teachers College Campus in the 1940s.

Eleanor Roosevelt Speech Collection

Eleanor Roosevelt Speech Collection

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Eleanor Roosevelt's May 6, 1959 Ball State Teachers College convocation speech, entitled Is American Facing World Leadership?

Joseph Fisher World War II Scrapbook

Joseph Fisher World War II Scrapbook

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Fisher World War II Scrapbook, whose materials range from 1942-1945. Compiled by Vanchie Fisher, Joseph's mother. The scrapbook contains correspondence, documents, ephemera, maps and photographs.

Finding Aid

Eleanor Roosevelt Speech Collection

Middletown Digital Oral Histories

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the the Middletown Digital Oral Histories, whose holdings include audio oral histories and transcripts ranging from 1972 to 2006. These oral histories describe local historic events as well as veteran accounts.

Ostland Atlas

Ostland Atlas

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Ostland Atlas collection, published by the Nazis in 1942 and including 52 color maps of the Eastern occupied territories.

Other Side of Middletown Photographs

Other Side of Middletown Photographs

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Other Side of Middle Photographs collection whose holdings include 150 digital images, illustrating the history of the life and achievements of African Americans in Muncie and Delaware County through photographs donated by members of the community.

Spurgeon-Greene Photographs

Spurgeon-Greene Photographs

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Spurgeon-Green Photographs collection, whose holdings almost 3,000 images dating from the 1930s to the 1970s.

WIPB Documentary Videos

WIPB Documentary Videos

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the WIPB Documentary Videos collection, which included 3 films produced by Indiana Public Broadcasting. Ed Ball's Century describes Mr. Ball's experience in World War II as well as the impact of World War and World War II on Muncie, Indiana.

Cantigny Oral Histories

World War II Films

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the World War II Films collection, whose include 16 mm silent film ranging from 1942 to 1945.

Eleanor Roosevelt Speech Collection

Yorktown-Mt. Pleasant Township Historical Alliance Collection

The Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository features the Yorktown-Mt Pleasant Township Historical Alliance, whose holdings include documents, drawings, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, photographs, and programs ranging from 1888 to 2007.

Bookmark and Share
Ball State University, Education Redefined Digital Media Repository, A Project of Ball State University Libraries Ball State University Libraries