World War II Introduction
This Web page provides links to materials that can be used for doing research on World War II (Second World War, aka Great Patriotic War). It is not comprehensive, but it contains more than enough information to help most researchers. Much useful material for history is found in books. Additional resources (articles, etc.) are identified in the bibliographies of these books and in indexes and abstracts (print and electronic--a number of these are full text online). Track these resources down for thorough research. See "identifying books" for subject terms used in library catalogs for the history of World War II. In addition, there is a growing amount of useful research material, including primary resources, on the Web and through proprietary (a library purchases them) databases; a number of these are linked to here, but accessible to CSU affiliates only (or if one's own library has a subscription; access would be through that library's portal).
Warning: because of the topic (war), there are a number of linked-to sites below that show images (photographs, etc.) of the dead and other potentially disturbing sights. Books and other materials will probably have these as well.
|Reference Books||Photographs||Biographical Information|
|Chronologies in Print||Oral Histories||Personal Accounts|
|Documents of World War II||Contemporary Speeches||Indexes and Abstracts|
|Overviews & Other Secondary Sources|
Reference Books & Site
These titles give overviews of World War II:
- Biographical Dictionary of World War II. D736 .B63 1996 Reference
- Encyclopedia of the Second World War. D740 .H64 1989 Reference
- The Holocaust and World War II Almanac. 3 vols. D804.17 .H65 2001 Reference
- The Holocaust Chronicle. D804.25 .H654 2000 Reference
- The Second World War. Spartacus Educational. Note: multiple advertisements.
- The World War II Desk Reference. D740 .W669 2004 Reference
- World War II in Europe: An Encyclopedia. 2 vols. D740 .W67 1999 Reference
- World War II in the Pacific: An Encyclopedia. D767 .W68 2001 Reference
- World War II: The Encyclopedia of the War Years, 1941-1945. D743.5 .P57 1996 Reference
There are many more timelines out on the Web, but one does reach a saturation point.
Chronology of the Second World War. Veterans Affairs Canada.
Combat Chronicles of U.S. Army Divisions in World War II. United States Army. Infantry, Armored, Airborne, Cavalry, and Philippine Divisions.
Timeline: World War II. 1921-1945. The National WWII Museum. Pacific/Asia; Europe/North Africa/Holocaust; The Americas, month by month.
World War II in Europe. The History PlaceTM. 1918 onward. Can jump to war years.
World War II in the Pacific. The History PlaceTM. 1941-1945.
World War II: Timeline. Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Museum.
Chronologies In Print
- The Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology, 1941-1945. D 301.82:C 73/941-45 Documents
- Chronology, 1941-1945. D 114.7:C 46/2010 Documents (also D 114.7.C46 Documents)
- The Holocaust Chronicle. D804.25 .H654 2000 Reference also electronic HC
- United States Naval Chronology, World War II. D 207.2:W89 Documents
- World War II: A Chronology of War. D743.5 .W69 2008 Oversz
- World War II Almanac, 1931-1945: A Political and Military Record. D743.5 .G64 Morgan
- World War II: American at War, 1941-1945. D743.5 .P56 1991 Morgan
- World War II: The Encyclopedia of the War Years, 1941-1945. D743.5 .P57 1996 Reference (also under Reference)
Documents of WW II
The resources listed in this section link to primarily primary source documents and images (photographs, posters, cartoons, etc.).
7th Armored Division Document Repository. Copyright © 2014 by Wesley Johnston
Site has information about the materials and on how to use them. Items are in different formats most in Word (some in Excel). Extensive. "The Box Score" image is a visual guide for researchers to narrow down their search to the time period or area of interest, although it is very difficult to read even in its larger format.
AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History 1940-. Lynn Nelson, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Kansas. Maintained by George Laughead Jr.
Section of the page. Source documents regarding the war from an American perspective. Scroll down to the Documents section (documents in PDF) for copies of the documents and background information on each.
American Memory. Library of Congress. Do a search in all collections for "World War II" to see over 760 collections and items.
Army -- World War II: 1939-45. National Archives of Australia.
Service records for Second Australian Imperial Forces, Citizen Military Forces, and Lists of Army personnel.
The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II: A Collection of Primary Sources. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162. Edited by William Burr - 202/994-7000. Updated April 27, 2007.
First section of page is a secondary source retrospective and overview of the use of the atomic bomb. Many, most or all of these were classified for many years; top secret and top secret ultra mentioned. Detailed.
Australia's War 1939-1945. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Australian Government. Sept 2019, site being re-done.
Categories under events include: Australia at War September 3 1939; Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941; Greece and Crete April-May 1941; and much more. There are War Posters, War Art, and special features.
British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries. CSU affiliates only. Primary source materials.
There are 114 entries in this database written by five different women under browse, historical events, World War II. Specific events (same documents) related to the war can be seen below that entry, for example Bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 and D-Day Invasion, June 6, 1944.
Crisis in Constitutional Politics. Chapter 4. Modern Japan in Archives. Copyright © 2006-2010 National Diet Library. Japan. All Rights Reserved.
Descriptive text constitutes secondary sources, but there are relevant images of primary source documents (1931-1945); these are in Japanese.
Documents of World War II. Vincent Ferraro Mount Holyoke College.
Chronological list of documents 1938-1946. Final section is general documents, including encyclopedia articles (secondary sources).
This "features photographs of men and women who served in the Canadian Forces during the Second World War." Search: Database to identify. See also Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead, 1939-1947 (Dossiers de service de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale - victimes de guerre, 1939-1947).
Congressional Publications. CSU affiliates only. Deselect the checkboxes that are out of the date range.
Search World War II OR WWII and find over 11,200 documents. Narrowing the search to items from Jan. 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946 brings up 3154 items. Items include published and unpublished Hearings, Congressional Record, House and Senate Documents, House and Senate Reports, and more.
The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb. Harry S Truman Library and Museum.
Chronology with scanned images (and PDF printer-friendly versions) of messages, memoranda, notes, diary entries, etc. beginning with March 25, 1945 letter from Albert Einstein and ending post war in 1964 with letters from Truman.
Documents: Second World War Japan Surrender Documents. Taiwan Documents Project. Divided by Japan and China Theater.
The End of the War in the Pacific: Surrender Documents in Facsimile (1945). Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. Internet Archive.
Begins with overview of ceremony. Actual documents a number of pages in, first in Japanese, then in English; the Instrument of Surrender (and signing page) is first in English, then in Japanese, then in English again with typed names for the signatures. Next is a document of the United States Forces in Korea with signatures. Read online, in PDF, EUB, Kindle, and other formats.
Table of Contents from the page:
The end of the war in the Pacific
Radio script of the ceremonies opening the exhibit of the Japanese surrender documents
Foreign Minister Shigemitsu's credentials authorizing him to sign the instrument of surrender at Tokyo Bay
General Umezu's credentials authorizing him to sign the instrument of surrender at Tokyo Bay
Instrument of surrender signed at Tokyo bay
Emperor Hirohito's rescript announcing the surrender and ordering the people to carry out the provisions of the instrument of surrender
Instrument of surrender of Japanese forces in the Philippines
Instrument of surrender of Japanese forces in southern Korea
Instrument of surrender of Japanese forces in South East Asia.
Foreign Relations of the United States. 1861-1960. 375 volumes. University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
Official documentary historical record. Original volumes have been scanned page by page. Browse/Scroll down for 1939-1945.
Germany: National Socialism and World War II. EuroDocs. Harold B. Lee Library. BYU.
Some of these are in German only. Most have English transcription.
A Guide to World War II Materials. Mark F. Hall. Virtual Services. Digital Reference Section. The Library of Congress.
Annotated links from the American Memory Historical Collection, American Folklife Center, Exhibitions, Journeys and Crossing, Prints and Photographs Division Guides, Today in History, and Veterans History Project. Final sections are External Web Sites, Selected Bibliography (with Younger Readers).
Historic Government Publications from World War II. Digital Collections. SMU Central University Libraries. Southern Methodist University.
"343 Informational pamphlets, government reports, instructions, regulations, declarations, speeches, and propaganda materials distributed by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) during the Second World War."
History: Military. Primary Sources WWII. Theresa Mudrock. University Libraries. University of Washington.
Links to various types of primary sources: General Sources, Newspapers from the Period, Holocaust; Japanese Americans. Search or browse.
A search for "Second World War" finds over 227,000 items, so search using those terms (as a phrase search within quotation marks, there are 218,850 results as of January 2016). A search for "World War II" finds just over 8200 items, so searching Second World War is recommended. Includes images of death. Filter by category.
The Kokoda Track 1942. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Australian Government.
"In 1942, along a narrow track over the rugged mountains of Papua New Guinea, 625 Australians were killed and over 1000 wounded." The site covers the events that took place over two months beginning July 21, 1942. "The Japanese approached to within 40 kilometres of their objective." The site has information about the track in 1942 and today; the war in Papua; four peoples at war; jungle warfare; a fighting retreat; into the mountains, Milne Bay; the tide turns; Japanese besieged; casualties; Australian Veterans' accounts. Video on initial page shows the landscape today with over text of events and dates, numbers of casualties, and images of those who fought there.
Medal of Honor Recipients, World War II. United States Army.
A Military Police Officer from Polk Co. Writes Home about the War in the Pacific (selections). Arild E. Nielsen. 1942-1945. Wisconsin Historical Society.
These are "letters to his parents in Centuria (Polk Co.) while serving with Company D, 738th Military Police Battalion, in the Pacific. The seven letters digitized here were written while he was stationed in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Okinawa." Facsimiles and text versions. Letters show both sides of the V-Mail, including the "passed by army examiner" stamp.
Nazi Propaganda: 1933-1945. Randall Bytwerk. German Propaganda Archive. Calvin College.
Arranged by: speeches and writings; racial and anti-Semitic material; visual material (including posters); war propaganda: 1939-1945; miscellaneous propaganda; material from Nazi literature for propagandists; and links.
North American Women's Letters and Diaries. Alexander Street Press. CSU affiliates only. Primary source materials.
There are 291 documents identified as World War II, 1939-1945 under "historical events."
Official Documents on the Outbreak of War between Japan and the U.S. Japan Center for Asian Historical Records.
Documents might be in Japanese only, but the page itself lets the researcher know what it is. Note: when going through ring binders, etc. the pages are turning from right to left--in one example (Progress of Japan-U.S Negotiations: Vol. 2 of 2) there are multiple pages in Japanese (pages 1-14) and then the English version reveals itself on pages 15-33--sideways, so using the provided rotation tool is recommended to avoid a 90 degree neck tilt. If the research can read Japanese, the original orientation works.
Overview of World War II. Digital History. Multiple partners.
Use tilted tabs as top to selected documents, music, images, and more.
Primary Documents Relating to World War II. April 14, 2007. Teacheroz.
Links to various sources. Quotes, speeches, statements, protocols, etc.
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog . Prints and Photographs Division. Library of Congress.
Do a search for World War 1939-1945 and find over 5,800 results. Not all of the images are available online.
Second World War (1939 – 1945). Veterans Affairs Canada.
Also in French (La Seconde Guerre mondiale (1939 - 1945). Anciens Combattants Canada. Timeline, Battles and Campaigns; History; Metals and Memorials, On the Home Front.
Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead, 1939-1947. Library and Archives of Canada. Also in French.
"During the Second World War, approximately 709,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the Canadian Army, 200,000 in the Royal Canadian Navy and 250,000 in the Royal Canadian Air Force for a total of over 1,159,000 men and women. Some 55,000 were wounded. A further 44,093 lost their lives: 24,531 served in the Army, 17,393 in the Air Force and 2,269 in the Navy. "Only the files for those who died in service during the Second World War are open to the public and are grouped as a collection within the Department of National Defence Fonds (Record Group 24)."
Select "Search: Database" to look up individual names.
Provides background information, resources, and twenty documents, including President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order.
United States Congressional Serial Set. CSU affiliates only.
Read primary source Congressional documents about the war. Classified as "World War I (1914-1918)" in the database. Between 1914-1920 there were 842 items. A search that does not narrow the year of publication brings up 3238 items.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific War) Washington, D.C. 1 July 1946.
Compiled and formatted by Patrick Clancey. ibiblio.org. Mostly textual with a few tables with numbers (pages 2 and 3), this report gives a detailed overview of the US bombing strategy. Individual pages are identified.
Wars/ International Relations: World War II. The National Archives. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
5 series: World War II Army Enlistment Records ca. 1938-46; Records of World War II Prisoners of War 1942-47; World War II Prisoners of the Japanese ca. 1941-5; Records about Japanese Americans Relocated during World War II 1942-6; and Records of Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel 1942-5. Over 9 million records.
The World at War. Samuel Spewack. The United States Government.
Produced and Released by The Office of War Information. Bureau of Motion Pictures. YouTube. 43:12 minutes. "This film represents an attempt to record history in the making. The Editors are Americans, and therefore partisan, but every effort has been made to let the facts speak for themselves." Film footage from the era. Starts with Pearl Harbor. Why the US entered the war.
World War II. Modern Internet History Archive. Fordham University.
Lead up to the war, war in Europe, war in Asia. At least two of the links are also on this page.
World War II Documents. Paperless Archives.
75 titles, with multiple documents in some of them. Scroll down (or click on initial list) for detailed information regarding content.
World War II Documents. C. Peter Chen of Lava Development, LLC.
Chronological. April 16, 1922 onward, including interviews, including one 2012 interview.
World War II Documents Table of Contents. Jewish Virtual Library.
Alphabetical list. A small number of them include dates on the page. Sample linked documents included dates.
World War II: Documents. The Avalon Project. Lillian Goldman Law Library. Yale Law School.
Alphabetical listing of documents. Some of the links are to multiple documents.
World War II - Documents. Illinois Digital Archives.
"This collection contains United States and Illinois government documents on subjects relating to World War II, including: rationing and conservation, women's work, civil defense, the Japanese interment, the development of the United Nations, and more." Browse by: African Americans; Bonds; Children; Civil defense; Conservation; Economic aspects; Japanese internment and the War Relocation Authority; Pearl Harbo; Production; Rationing; United Nations; and Women.
World War II Maps. Perry-Castañeda Library. Map Collection. University of Texas Libraries.
Divided by theater: Asia-Pacific and then European (most of the maps are U.S. Army Center of Military History).
World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I. Mary Smith and Barbara Freer.
"During World War II approximately 8,939 Allied Airmen ( 7,588 American and 1,351 Royal Air Force ) were imprisoned by the Germans at Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany. " Maps, articles, missing in action letters, postcards, German Kommandant orders, etc. Us sidebar menu to see additional sections of the site.
World War II Records. National Archives & Records Administration.
Includes copies of various primary and secondary sources along with contextual information (some sources found on linked to pages). Sources include casualty lists and photographs.
World War II Military Situation Maps. 1944-1945. American Memory. Library of Congress.
"The World War II Military Situation Maps contains maps showing troop positions beginning on June 6, 1944 to July 26, 1945. Starting with the D-Day Invasion, the maps give daily details on the military campaigns in Western Europe, showing the progress of the Allied Forces as they push towards Germany."
World War Two 1939 to 1945. Australian Army.
Documents and Training Materials.
WWII Resources. Pearl Harbor Working Group. The History Ring. ibiblio.
Along with search and links to primary sources, there are message boards and blogs (with 21st century commentary).
These pages have photographs that are not always numerous, but are annotated (albeit sometimes briefly) and relevant.
Historical World War II Pictures. Fold3. Over 90,000.
Pictures of African Americans during World War II. National Archives.
WWII. The Digital Collections of The National WWII Museum. 6+ collections of images.
World War II: Preparing for Battle. CPT John F. Curley. Signal Cors Collection. National Archives at College Park.
World War II: The Early Years. CPT John F. Curley. Signal Cors Collection. National Archives at College Park.
WW2DB. World War II Database. C. Peter Chen of Lava Development, LLC. By time period, topic, photographer, or source of photograph. Browse by country or do a keyword search. (19,173 pictures.)
The Art of War: World War II Posters from the Government Documents Collection. Cornette Library. West Texas A&M University.
As of August 2014, clicking on the small posters links to the Government Documents page at Northwestern University. Page has information and small images showing examples of the type of poster described. The More Information section has links to other collections, which seem to require some digging including Northwestern's to get to the Repository Images; some World War II poster collections do not appear to want to show themselves.
World War Poster Collection. University of North Texas Digital Library. Limit by years 1940-1949 to find 347 posters.
Can also select American War Posters, OWI posters, British War Posters, French War Posters, etc.
See also posters under Nazi Propaganda above.
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project. The Library of Congress. Not all WW2; look for World War, 1939-1945 (listed directly under serviceperson's name).
New York State Veteran Oral History Program. Completed Interview Transcriptions. New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.
WWII. The Digital Collections of The National WWII Museum. Click on Browse (by name--143 as of 8/14) or Search (by branch and theater).
Vital Speeches of the Day. 1934- PN6121 .V52 Current issues in Journal Room, older in Stacks or Microfilm.
All years available online full text in Academic Search Premier (ASP) and Business Source Complete (BSC) via the "Databases" page to CSU affiliates only. Once in ASP or BSC , put in the top search box: JN "Vital Speeches of the Day" AND DT 1939-1945; in the second search box (no room in the first) put "war." This finds 192 speeches that were given during the time periods of the war that mention war somewhere (may not be about WWII, but most likely is). Or put in "Vital Speeches of the Day" and change Select a Field to SO Journal Name, put "war" in the box below, click search and then use the publication date limiter on the left-hand side to narrow to 1939-1945 (which brings up 197 speeches).
Overviews & Other Secondary Sources Available Online
The 4th Marine Division in World War II. First Lieutenant John C. Chapin. Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. August, 1945. History and Museums Division. 1974 Reprint of the 1945 Edition. Republished 1976. PCN 19000412800.
Seven chapters: Formation and Training in the United States, Kwajalein, Maui, Saipan, Tinian, Maui Again, Iwo Jima. Maps. Perriferals and appendices (command and staff personnel, composition of the division, task organization, etc.) increase the 54 page history to 111 pages.
The Army Nurse Corps. United States Army.
Gives description of the activities of American nurses (more than 59,000) who served during World War II. Divided by specific areas and includes six photographs. List of further readings.
By name, by date & ship/unit (month-by-month).
CMH Website Search. U.S. Army Center of Military History.
A search for World War II returns thousands of results (a few listed in this section). Search for specific topics of interest, keeping in mind that the vocabulary of the day will be vital for success (for example, "Negros" was the term used during and after World War II). Historians used the then acceptable terms in their writings.
The Employment of Negro Troops. Ulysses Lee. General Editor, Stetson Conn. United States Army in World War II. CMH Pub 11-4. Special Studies. 1965.
Twenty-two chapters and more than 700 pages of history. "The author wrote most of this volume between 1947 and 1951." Multiple aspects of African-Americans in the military are discussed. There were "more than half a million . . . overseas by early 1945." [Hal C. Pattison, Foreword.] Tables, maps, and illustrations.
Equipment. World War II Database. C. Peter Chen of Lava Development, LLC.
By aircraft, ships, vehicles, and weapons. See also Places for countries and facilities.
History of Marine Corps Operations in World War II. Reprint,1989. Original 1958-1971. Internet Archive. Multiple versions: PDF, EPUB, etc, and online readers.
Use index within each volume to find specific topics of interest. Volume 1. Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal Frank O. Hough, Verle E. Ludwig, and Henry I. Shaw, Jr. PDF has 464 pages. Volume 2 Isolation of Rabaul. Henry I. Shaw, Jr., and Douglas T. Kane. -- Volume 3. Central Pacific Drive Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Bernard C. Nalty, and Edwin T. Turnbladh. -- Volume 4. Western Pacific Operations George W. Garand, and Truman R. Strobridge. -- Volume 5. Victory and Occupation Benis M. Frank, and Henry I. Shaw, Jr.
Imperial Japanese Navy Page. Jonathan Parshall, Anthony Tully, Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Gilbert Casse, Peter Cundall, Allyn D. Nevitt, Erich Muehlthaler, and C. Peter Chen. CombinedFleet.com
Many primary source images of warships, data, etc. A lot of information on the "Japanese Navy (or, in the Japanese language, Nihon Kaigun, or even Teikoku Kaigun, the Imperial Navy)" at the time of the war. Links from partner sites provide additional pictures. Western format names are used for the most part.
The Information War in the Pacific, 1945: Paths to Peace. Josette H. Williams. Central Intelligence Agency.
Summary of events, with images of primary source materials, with an emphasis on leaflets used as means of information sharing. For example, the August 12th aircraft drops with information on the Japanese government's surrender offer.
Kamikaze Images. Bill Gordon.
American and Japanese views are contrasted. Use left-hand menu to navigate. Photographs and analysis. Japanese material is translated into English. Links off to sites English and Japanese (some with sections in English). Lengthy and extensive bibliography of films, books and more.
Navajo Code Talkers History. ©1994-2011 Navajo People
Overview of Native American tribe participation in World War II. Living history videos share the events from the Code Talkers perspectives.
Interviews with "real code talkers," videos, and more. Information about Navajo history and rituals. Note: there are no longer any living Navajo Code Talkers; the last one, Chester Nez, died in early June 2014.
Navajo Code Talkers: World War II Fact Sheet. Naval History & Heritage Command.
Brief overview of Navajo recruits and the development of their code. Link to medal of honor recipients, bibliography, and dictionary. Also Navajo Code Talkers: A Select Bibliography. See also United States Army Code Talkers (American Indians in the U.S. Army)..
Nisei Linguists and New Perspectives on the Pacific War: Intelligence, Race, and Continuity. Dr. James C. McNaughton. A paper presented at the 1994 Conference of Army Historians.
Discussion of Nisei linguists and their story re: intelligence during the war. Footnotes and select bibliography.
The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War. 50 volumes. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection. Victoria University of Wellington.
"This series was first published as part of the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, produced under the auspices of the War History Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs. It has been republished online with the permission of the Minstry for Culture and Heritage as an exact copy of the printed version, and has not been corrected and will not be updated." Some of the footnotes are hyperlinked to a full text online version of the title. Different authors for each chapter. By Battalion, documents, locations, with Royal Air Force, etc.
The Pacific Coast Militia Rangers, 1942-1945. Kerry Ragnar Steeves. MA History thesis, 1990. The University of British Columbia.
War time history of Canadian Pacific Coast Militia Rangers. Home defense (and more) of British Columbia.
The Story of the Third Reich. World War Two Documentary. Written and Directed by Steve Connor. 2000. YouTube. 132 minutes. Washington National Archives.
Covers the end of World War I onward. Plentiful film footage. Hitler's thinking.
Provides extensive detail on each U-boat: type, ordered, laid down, launched, commissioned, commanders, career, successes (including tonnage), fate, and final location (on a map). In addition, when applicable, attacks on it, men lost, emblems, notes, photograph, etc. German U-boats of both World Wars are covered. There is also information about Allied forces, all Allied Warships, and more.
United States Army in World War II: Reader's Guide. CMH Publication 11-9. Center of Military History. United States Army. 1992.
"The United States Army in World War II series describes the organization, plans, and operations of the War Department and the Army, in the zone of interior and in all of the Army's five theaters of operations from 1939 to 1945. Since the Army authorized the project in 1946, seventy-eight volumes have been or are being published representing an organized treasury of knowledge on the world's greatest conflict. Behind them lies one of the largest masses of records and recollections ever produced. These documents, including those of the enemy, have been explored by professional historians, with the cooperation of a host of participants and with all the facilities and assistance that the Office of the Chief of Military History and its successor, the Center of Military History, could provide to ensure that this endeavor was as comprehensive, accurate, and objective as possible. The final result has provided commanders and staff officers, historians, and students-military and civilian alike-with an unprecedented professional guide to past experience as they seek light on the uncertain path ahead.
"But the volumes are large and readers who need the knowledge contained in them are often pressed for time. Although each volume contains its own analytical index, a given subject may be discussed from various points of view in a number of volumes. The present pamphlet thus attempts to furnish the seeker of information with a finding aid which will enable him to profit more readily from the great investment of resources that the Army has devoted to extending his knowledge. This work supersedes Reader's Guide II, published in 1960."
Links to the volumes and volumes have links to the chapters.
U.S. Army in World War II. "The Green Books." Originally printed 1947. PDF; large files, so they can take a few minutes to load.
- The War Department
- The Army Ground Forces
- The Army Service Forces
- The Western Hemisphere
- The War in the Pacific
- The Mediterranean Theater of Operations
- The European Theater of Operations
- The Middle East Theater
- The China-Burma-India Theater
- The Technical Services
- Special Studies
- Pictorial Record
U.S. Army Special Operations in World War II. David W. Hogan, Jr. CMH Publication 70-42. Department of the Army. 1992.
Chapters cover special operations in the Mediterranean, European Theater, Pacific, and China-Burma-India Theater. Maps and illustrations. Links go to more specific information such as We Deliver the Goods (from War Shipping Administration Report 1946)
The US-Japan War Talks: As Seen in Official Documents. All Rights Reserved, Copyright Japan Center for Asian Historical Records 2005.
Overview of 1941 talks; summary time-line, key figures (Japan, US); and related information. DjVu browser plugin is required for viewing photos. Much of the text is in English; some items have descriptions in Japanese.
U.S. Merchant Marine in World War II. American Merchant Marine at War.
Overview with charts and photographs.
The War in the Pacific. Liberation--Guam Remembers. National Park Service.
A retrospective. Summary and overview with photographs, including one showing the signing of the end of the war ("The War in the Pacific Ends") on the USS Missouri.
The Women's Army Corps. A Commemoration of World War II Service. Judith A. Bellafaire. CMH Publication 72-15. United States Army.
Provides an overview of women in the Army Corps--over 150,000 women served. Includes coverage of the bill the WAAC bill that needed to be passed by Congress in order for women to serve in additional capacities. Recruitment and other topics discussed. Seven photographs. Annotated list of further readings.
World War II. The National Archives. United Kingdom.
Animated maps, primary documents, audio. Select Western Europe; Easter Europe; Med & N. Africa, Atlantic, Asia, or Pacific (theaters of war).
World War, 1939-1945. National Library of New Zealand. Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa. Department of Internal Affairs.
Over 9,000 items from the 1900s--images, manuscripts, newspapers, books, audio, etc. Primary and secondary sources.
WWII Era (1941-1945). National Security Agency. Central Security Service. PDF or text files.
Arranged alphabetically by subject, NSA/CSS historical publications. Most are brochures, but there are also monographs. Topics include Cipher Machines; Mathematics; Pearl Harbor; Women. Publication dates range from 1993 to 2014 as of August 2014.
People. World War II Database. C. Peter Chen of Lava Development, LLC.
By category: air, ground, sea, government, other. By country.
If you already have the name of someone famous, see Biographical Research for search recommendations.
World War II Sites in Languages Other Than English (French/German--français/Deutsch)
See World War II Web Sites in Languages Other Than English for Web pages in French and German.
Do a search for these terms in the library catalog (and Prospector); they will work in any library catalog that uses Library of Congress Subject Headings. Items may be requested from other libraries in Prospector, the Regional Catalog, by Colorado State University affiliates. Subject terms listed in this section have 3 or more entries (these are most likely books) listed in the catalog, but there are additional terms that identify books on World War I that have one or two entries. Also look at related entries. "World War 1939-1945 Sources" identifies primary sources (see also personal accounts of the war for other primary sources, below). When you see subdivisions that end with "sources" they identify primary sources. For example: World War 1939 1945 Causes Sources.
For fastest searching, open another browser window and cut and paste (Ctrl c to copy, then Ctrl v to paste; or top menu: edit copy, edit paste) the terms found here into the subject search box in the library catalog (delete the bullet point or the search will not work):
From the initial catalog screen select Advanced Search:
To perform a search select subject, books and more, and then just cut and paste into the box:
Identify contemporary sources by limiting your search to year published.
There will not always be contemporary materials on specific topics, but it does not hurt to check!
Because there are so many terms assigned to this vast subject, items have been broken down into categories to make it easier to find relevant headings:
The war, broadly (entries in brackets  are subdivisions that can are added to the main subject heading):
*Primary sources about the war can be found directly under:
- World War 1939 1945 Sources
- World War 1939 1945 Germany Sources
- World War 1939 1945 United States Sources
- World War 1939 1945 Diplomatic History Sources
- D-Day Documents. D756.5 .N6 W56 2014 Morgan
- Germany Surrenders Unconditionally: Facsimiles of the Documents. AE 1.2:G 31 Documents
- The End of the War in the Pacific: Surrender Documents in Facsimile. AE 1.2: SU 7 Documents
- Stalin's Correspondence with Churchill, Attlee, Roosevelt, and Truman: 1941-45. D735 R853 1958 Morgan
The war, by countries or regions involved (see also campaigns above) with at least 3 entries in CSU's library catalog:
Specific kinds of fighting or intrigue during the war:
The war and food, equipment, casualties, and medical care:
Before (and during) the war, chronology, possible causes, attempts at prevention, promotion, and opinions on it:
Maps, photographs (see also Photographs, above), posters (also under war and the arts):
The war and territories:
Financing the war and various payments in its aftermath, legals aspects:
Prisons of the mind and the body:
Regimental and military histories (see also "Green Books" for the United States Army above, online in full text):
Refugees, evacuations relief, work, logistics, and life at home:
Women and the war:
The war in the arts (visual, music, etc.) and fiction:
Various other participants and contributors:
Miscellaneous with three or more entries:
To find items on a specific aspect of World War II, do a Keyword search for World War 1939 1945 and that topic. For example:
- World War 1939 1945 and Pearl Harbor
- World War 1939 1945 and treaties
You might also want to search the ACLS Humanities E-Book collection, available to CSU affiliates for books. There are 17 monographs with World War 1939 1945 in the subject. Read titles of interest online.
See also Naval Warfare: An International Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2002. E-reference for CSU affiliates only, which, while it covers numerous wars, includes many entries relating to World War II, and there are specific entries "World War II at Sea (Excluding Pacific Theater)" and "World War II at Sea: Pacific Theater."
Personal accounts (primary sources) of events can be identified with the subdivision "Personal Narratives." Some of these are diaries, letters (correspondence), or other forms of journals. Some are memoirs. For example (there are three or more books in the library catalog for these subject headings; use these same terms in Prospector and WorldCat to identify additional personal accounts):
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives American
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Australian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Austrian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Belgian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives British
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Canadian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Czech
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Dutch
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives French
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives German
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Greek
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Hungarian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Italian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Japanese
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Jewish
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives New Zealand
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Norwegian
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Polish
- World War 1939 1945 Personal Narratives Russian
Indexes & Abstracts
Identify articles by topic in these sources (these indexes are Step 1 of how to find articles). Some indexes have citations only and others have full text materials. Due to the nature of this topic, a number of really good resources (contemporary/primary ones) can only be identified via printed indexes. These valuable resources should not be neglected! Linked to CSU databases may also be found via the "A-Z Databases" page.
America, History & Life. 1954- . 1964- online (roughly; there are exceptions). Only one CSU user at a time. Printed version Z 1236 .A48 Reference South (1954-1994).
America: History & Life is a useful index for identifying articles and books. Subject term: World War 1939-1945. There are over 12,500 items with this subject--academic journal articles, magazine articles, conference papers, dissertations, and books. 20 of them date from 1941-1945. Items may have excerpts from primary sources.
Identifies over 5,500 articles about World War II from History and Political Science journals. Other journal subject areas, such as International Relations, are also represented. Because there is no exact subject for World War II in this database, there will be some items in the results that aren't about the specific war.
Essay and General Literature Index. AI 3 E752 1941-47 Reference
Vol. 3 has citations to some philosophical essays about war. See pages 1739-44.
Historical Abstracts. 1954- . Only one CSU user at a time. Printed version D 299 .H5 Reference South (covers history in years 1775-1945).
History of Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania after 1500. Subject term for United States is: USA. Subject term for the war: World War 1939-1945. There are over 36,000 items with this subject--academic journal articles, magazine articles, conference papers, dissertations, and books.Items may have excerpts from primary sources.
Index to Military Periodicals. Air University Library.
A search for World War II brings up over 4300 results. Adding AND ships returns 100 results. Be sure to limit searches to something meaningful. Some periodical titles have hyperlinks; you will need to then look in earlier issues, archives, or the equivalent to find a specific article.
International Index to Periodicals. AI 3 .I49 Reference
Identify articles from international publications.
- Vol. 8 (July 1937-March 1940) has the bulk of relevant articles under EUROPEAN war, 1939- (pages 748-62); there are about 4 pages of relevant articles under WAR.
- Vol. 9 (April 1940-March 1943), bulk of relevant articles are under WORLD war, 1939- (pages 1976-2047); major subdivisions are listed on pp. 1976-7. There are sub-subdivisions also; for example, on pp 2027-8 WORLD war, 1939- -- war aims – Women’s work. In addition there are see also references.
- Vol. 10 (April 1943-March 1946) has entries under WORLD war 1939-1945 on pages 1862-1915. Major subdivisions are listed on pages 1862-3.
These volumes are getting fragile—PLEASE BE GENTLE.
JSTOR. Articles for the most part are at least 3-5 years old. CSU affiliates only.
Full text articles from broad range of subject areas, including history. Scholarly articles. Search for words in title, author, abstract, or full text. You may select area(s) of journals to complete a search. (E.g. History, Political Science.) A general search for war 1939-1945 brings up over 62,000 articles (leave in reviews, etc. there are over 92,000). Identify contemporary items by doing a search for war and limiting the date range to 1935-1946 or whatever best fits your interests. An article search for war with articles published between those years brings up over 72,000 results. Do narrow searches of more specific aspects: for example, concentration camps, articles, published 1939-1945 brings up 885 results. "Missing in action" inside quotation marks (with the same limits) brings up 17 articles.
New York Times 1851- . CSU affiliates only.
If doing research on a particular topic, narrow the search by date () and use those terms AND add additional terms to narrow your search results. For example:
"war in the pacific" (over 24,000 results without the quotation marks; with 941)
Hitler (over 31,000 results)
women (over 159,000 results)
Contemporary articles about the war will be in the database, but selected items are missing starting 1923- ; missing articles and photographs can be identified in the printed index for the New York Times and seen on the microfilm copy of the newspaper: AN 1 .N4 MICROFILM (Journal Room).
Project MUSE. Various starting dates. CSU affiliates only.
Full text articles from the humanities and social sciences, including over forty history journals. All of these are recent journal articles, so they are all secondary sources; however, a number of them look as if they might contain excerpts from letters and other primary source materials. Note: a search for World War II brings up a number of articles about World War I.
Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. AI 3 .R48 Reference South
An excellent resource for contemporary, and therefore primary sources about the war. Look up the abbreviations of the journal names at the front of the printed index before looking in the library catalog for ownership (step 3 how to find articles; then do step 4, determine if the library owns the journal). Many of these resources will be in storage (request directly from the library catalog record), so plan ahead.
This resource is a good place to browse for ideas--in addition, you will know there is at least one contemporary article on that particular topic!
- Vol. 11 (July 1937-June 1939) entries start on page 1951; on page 1953 at the end or WAR and before WAR—Subdivisions there are see also references, e.g. Aeronautics, military; Armaments; Bombardment; Preparedness, military. Subdivisions are brief, then page 1954 has WAR, causes of, etc. There are also referrals: WAR spies. See Spies.
- Vol. 12 (July 1939-June 1941) entries begin on page 2157 (to page 2168). For example, WAR finance. There are some relevant entries under EUROPEAN war 1939- starting on page 650 (World War I entries are on pages 648-50); article citations continue onto page 696. It would be a huge mistake to look only under WAR in this volume.
- Vol. 13 (July 1941-June 1943) consolidates entries under WORLD war, 1939- . Entries begin on page 2154 and continue onto page 2230.
- Vol. 14 (July 1943-April 1945) WORLD war, 1939- entries begin on page 1895. There are see also references at the end of some subdivisions. For example, WORLD war, 1939- Economic Aspects has see also Commodity control; Industrial mobilization; Inflation (finance); etc.
- Vol. 15 (May 1945-April 1947) entries are found under WORLD war, 1939-1945 beginning on page 2233 with final entries appearing on page 2256; however there are still see also entries with subdivisions, so other sections of the index may need to be explored.
These volumes are getting fragile—PLEASE BE GENTLE
Times Digital Archive. 1785- . CSU affiliates only. Also The Times (London). 1788- . AN T5 Microfilm (Basement West). Palmer's Index to the Times Newspaper. A I 21 T51 Basement West.
London newspaper. Get a perspective of the war from England. The online database also searches the Sunday Times (London) and 19th Century Newspapers (you might want to deselect the latter). Because there have been numerous conflicts, researchers will want to limit their search to AFTER 1938 (or other nearby dates such as AFTER 1930 if trying to identify the precursors for it). Full text. Use magnifier to get size of text (which varies by the length and width of the article) comfortable to read. Limit by publication section or article type (other limiters not relevant when searching the Times and Sunday Times only). Contemporary vocabulary will be vital for success.
The printed index is year by year during the war: each year has been divided into four, so look for topics four times in each year: January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. Be careful to note which "j" (January, June, or July) in the first three quarters before going to the microfilm. In the first two quarters, "m" could be March or May. In the middle quarters "a" could be April or August. In other words, note which quarter you are in and spell out j, m, and a months--and include the year, because the year is not included as part of individual citations (but is noted in the right-side page headers).
See also World War I.
It is essential that you carefully evaluate whatever you might find, no matter the format. See: How to Evaluate Journal Articles, How to Evaluate Books, How to Evaluate a Web Page, and How to Evaluate a Movie, Video, or Film Clip.
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