Experiences of World War II, 73 years later

This June marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, “the largest seaborne invasion in history,” that initiated the liberation of Europe from the Nazis and supported an Allied victory along the Western Front. Today, pieces from the archives that examine World War II through the experiences of three different groups of citizens.

Veterans remember  Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois professor Bob Espeseth undertook a huge project to gather oral histories from World War II veterans before they were lost. In this piece, he interviews an 87-year-old veteran named Ed Gordon about his experience as a soldier in the war. (You can find all of Espeseth’s recordings in the Early American Museum in Mahomet, IL.) Listen.

Japanese in California — Pacifica Radio Archives

Not all World War II atrocities took place overseas — in the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese American to be forcibly relocated and incarcerated in camps. All told, between 110,000 and 120,000 were affected, 62 percent of whom were U.S. citizens. This audio piece documents the experience with personal interviews of those who were interned. Listen.

The attack on Pearl Harbor through the eyes of students — KALW Crosscurrents

The attack on Pearl Harbor represented a major turning point for college students. Worried about final exams one day, many were enlisting and joining the army just a few days later. Sam Redman, cultural historian with UC Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office spoke about the effect this had: “For these young men and woman, it really was a major turning point in their lives. Do they stay in school? Do they continue their studies?” Hear firsthand how they felt — and what they did. Listen.

Image: Wikimedia Commons