Skip to Main Content

World War II History: American Heritage Center: World War II

World War II Quick Facts

Time Period: 1939-1945

Allied Powers: Belgium, Brazil, British Commonwealth, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Philippines, United States, U.S.S.R, and Yugoslavia

Axis Powers: Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, and Romania

Major Players:

United States: Franklin D. Roosevelt, President

United Kingdom: Winston Churchill, Prime Minister

U.S.S.R.: Joseph Stalin, General

Japan: Admiral Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister

Italy: Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister

Germany: Adolf Hitler, Der Fuhrer

Force Strength: About 70 million people fought in the Armed Forces of the Axis and Allied Powers


United States: 292,131

United Kingdom: 264,443

U.S.S.R.: 11,000,000

Japan: 1,300,000

Italy: 242,232

Germany: 3,500,000

Hungary: 200,000


Image: World War II Poster, 1939-1945, Coll. 5526, Edward Lyman Munson Collection, AHC. 

Facts from Encyclopedia Britannica and CNN

World War II Collections

Larry Adler Papers, 1927-1995

Acc. #8198

Larry Adler was a well-known musician that during World War II, went on USO tours with dancer Paul Draper across the world.

The collection contains photographs of Adler and Jack Benny on the USO tour as well as Adler's personal accounts of the war.


Jack Benny Papers, 1894-1993

Acc. #8922

Jack Benny was an actor and comedian, becoming a national celebrity with his Jack Benny Show (1943-1958). During World War II, he was known to travel on USO tours.

The collection contains documents and photographs about all aspects of Benny's career as an entertainer, including his beginnings in vaudeville and various recordings and footage of his acting and radio presence.


Murray C. Bernays Papers, 1919-1975

Acc. #2817

A Russian immigrant, Murray Bernays served in World War I before receiving his law degree from Columbia University in 1919. During World War II, he rejoined the U.S. Army and served with the U.S. Army General Staff Corps where he planned the legal framework and procedures for the Nuremberg War Crime Trials.

The collection includes Bernays' personal files regarding the Nuremberg Trials as well as correspondence from the trials and his service record.


Clay Blair Papers, 1945-1998

Acc. #8295

During World War II, Clay Blair volunteered for the submarine service. After the war, he would become a well-known authority on submarines and military history. Over the course of his career, Blair published numerous books on various parts of military history.

The collection includes various documents about U.S. submarine operations in the Pacific and Atlantic during World War II. These documents were Blair's research files for his books and include notes, interviews, and other files that he compiled. 


Russell Brines Papers, 1924-1982

Acc. #8894

Russell Brines was a journalist for the Associated Press who covered both World War II in the Philippines and Japan and the Korean War. Brines authored the book MacArthur's Japan as well as was an expert on Japanese and Asian affairs.

The collection contains correspondence, research files, and photographs from Brines' time covering the war for the Associated Press. 


Harry C. Butcher Papers, 1930-1977

Acc. #9431

Harry Butcher served as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's naval aide and a broadcast executive during World War II. In 1938, Butcher joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and was called for active duty in 1942, where he spent three years with Gen. Eisenhower. During his time as Eisenhower's aide, Butcher kept a diary which was the basis for the book, My Three Years with Eisenhower.

The collection contains mostly correspondence, photographs, and scrapbooks of Butcher's life and his service with Gen. Eisenhower. A few copies of My Three Years with Eisenhower in various languages are also in the collection.  


Joseph Castro Papers, 1937-1970

Acc. #9081

In 1937, Joseph Castro enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He was stationed in North China from 1945-1946 and in Okinawa from 1961-1962. In 1969, Castro retired with the rank of Major.

The collection contains Castro's military records, correspondence, photograph albums, and other items from his military career. 


Sonia Tomara Clark Papers, 1935-1979

Acc. #7219

Sonia Tomara Clark was a journalist that worked for a variety of newspapers and military intelligence across Europe. During World War II, she served as a foreign and war correspondent in Italy, Poland, the Balkans, India, China, England, and Germany.

The collection contains miscellaneous documents relating to Clark's career as a journalist as well as photographs and film negatives of Clark, Italy, and Benito Mussolini.


Paul Deutschman Papers, 1942-1998

Acc. #7890

Paul Deutschman served as a foreign correspondent for Life, Newsweek, and The Nation. Deutschman was stationed in North Africa during World War II, where he kept a diary about the war. The diary was published and became the first eye witness account of the effects of Allied bombing on civilians.

The collection contains correspondence, field notebooks, various notes, and Deutschman's diary from World War II. Also included are photographs and correspondence from during the war. 


John Lord Ferguson Papers, 1942-1946

Acc. #10743

John Lord Ferguson served as a legal attaché to assist the legal team of the Military War Crimes Tribunal during his time as a U.S. Army Officer. After World War II, the Tribunal tried Japanese officers for their treatment of prisoners of war in the Philippines.

The collection contains photocopies of diaries, poetry, and photographs from prisoners of war in the Philippines. The collections also contains transcriptions from the trials of the Military War Crimes Tribunal.


Guy H. Gale Papers, 1915-1974

Acc. #10878

Guy H. Gale was a pioneer in the military aviation field and a decorated officer. In 1917, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Service and trained as a pilot in Italy during World War I. In World War II, he also served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and took part in invasions of North Africa and Italy. Gale continued serving until 1953, when we retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Colonel.

The collection contains Gale's service records, photographs, correspondence, and artifacts from Gale's time serving in the armed forces. 


Husband Edward Kimmel Papers, 1907-1999

Acc. #3800

Husband E. Kimmel served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1904 to 1942. On February 1, 1941, he reached the rank of Admiral, assuming command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and combined U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor. After the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in December 1941, he was held accountable for lack of preparedness, was replaced, demoted, and retired without a court-martial.

The collection contains documents and materials gathers by Kimmel to prepare his defense and write his book, Admiral Kimmel's Story. The book challenged the accusation that he was derelict in the preparation of naval forces and was responsible for the destruction caused by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The collection also contains other documents on Kimmel's military career.


Herbert G. Luft Papers, 1940-1992

Acc. #9033

Herbert Luft was a German native who was interned at the Dachau concentration camp for six months in 1938 before fleeing Germany. Luft and his wife worked for the U.S. Office of War Information later in the war creating and broadcasting allied propaganda in Nazi Germany. Luft also served as a film editor on a project covering the trial of Adolph Eichmann.

The collection contains correspondence, audio tapes, scripts, and other documents pertaining to his work on propaganda as well as the transcripts of a pre-trail examination of Eichmann.


Ronald W. Sandefer Papers, 1921-2000

Acc. #11458

Ronald Sandefer was a teacher who traveled the world. During World War II, Sandefer's uncle, Theodore H. Sandefer, was a prisoner of war in Germany.

The collection contains materials regarding Theodore H. Sandefer, including a journal that he kept of his daily life in a P.O.W. camp in Germany.


Richard Tregaskis Papers, 1886-1983

Acc. #6346

Richard Tregaskis served as a war correspondent during World War II as diabetes prevented him from enlisting in the Armed Forces. He covered both the Pacific and European theaters until he was badly wounded in Italy. During his time as a war correspondent, Tregaskis covered nine wars, including World War II, the Chinese Civil War, Korea, and Vietnam.

The collection contains correspondence, diaries, notes, drafts, and photographs from Tregaskis' time as a war correspondent.