Website Launch of The American Soldier in World War II on 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

Edward J. K. Gitre's picture

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Online Digital Resources
December 7, 2021
Virginia, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Military History, Sociology

The team behind The American Soldier in World War II is delighted to announce the December 7, 2021, launch of its open-access website, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

During World War II, the US Army administered more than 200 surveys to over half a million American troops to discover what they thought and how they felt about the conflict and their military service. The surviving collection of studies is now accessible to the public for the first time at The American Soldier in World War II. Browse and search over 65,000 pages of uncensored, open-ended responses handwritten by servicemembers, view and download survey data and original analyses, read topical essays by leading historians, and access additional learning resources.

Site Features:

  • Browse 86 unique studies administered by the army stateside and around the world
  • Filter soldiers’ survey responses by rank, education, and other demographic variables
  • Download 139 complete datasets
  • Read and download 65,093 pages of transcribed solders’ handwritten remarks
  • Search the entire collection and filter the results by date, theater of war, and characteristics of surveyed soldiers such as race, rank, and combat experience
  • Download lesson plans that help students explore the collection and learn about the war from soldiers’ perspectives
  • Read 15 topical background essays by leading historians of World War II
  • View glossaries of World War II slang and jargon as well as other helpful guides to the army’s survey program and datasets

Six years in the making, the website offers the most comprehensive portrait of Americans who served in the war and of US society and culture in the 1940s. Topics covered by the army’s troop surveys include leave policies, food preferences, radio listening habits, combat experiences, racial views, mental and physical health, postwar plans, and many others.

Based at Virginia Tech and directed by Virginia Tech assistant professor of history Edward J.K. Gitre, the website was produced by a transdisciplinary team of scholars, digital humanists, librarians, archivists, and students. It has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom and has received additional support, resources, and cooperation from, National Archives and Records Administration, University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute, Social Science Research Council, and George C. Marshall Research Library.

This unparalleled resource would not exist were it not for the nearly 7,200 citizen-archivists who submitted a combined quarter-million transcriptions and annotations in a little over two years. To each of them and to those who served, The American Soldier in World War II is dedicated.

Contact Info: 

The American Soldier in World War II Project
Edward J.K. Gitre, director
Virginia Tech Dept. of History
407 Major Williams Hall (0117)
220 Stanger St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone (540) 231-8372

Contact Email: 
Categories: Collection, Announcement
Keywords: World War II