Browse Exhibits (1 total)

When We Went to War

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Curated by TJ Blakeman and Amina Malik

We know them today as ‘The Greatest Generation,” but seventy-five years ago, they were you, and I, ordinary citizens working to finish school, support their families, and improve their communities. However, Sunday, December 7, 1941, changed all of that, and the world would never be the same. By the end of the Second World War, nearly one-quarter of the nation’s men went to battle, and everyone was caught up in the war effort.

In 1941, the U.S. went to war for the second time in 23 years.  Once again, communities across the country mobilized and united in national pride and determination to support the war effort.  When We Went to War examines life on the homefront in Champaign County, as well as highlights stories of those far from home.

This exhibit takes a chronological look at the country’s role in training and arming a nation at war, the sacrifices on the battlefield, and the hard work and collective dedication of the local population. It also explores the role of the government in managing nearly every aspect of daily life. 

Finally, this exhibit concludes with a look at how the transformation to peacetime changed Champaign County.

Collections of this exhibit range widely. Items include daily material-culture objects, war-time correspondence, uniforms, photographs taken abroad, memrobilia from the 1930s and 40s, and many more. All items are depicted in this online exhibits through photographs. Various sections throughout the exhibit include multiple images, which can explored by clicking on the photographs.