Friday, September 21, 2007

World War II Living History Project (WW2LHP)

World War II Living History Project (WW2LHP). This site is the product of an ongoing high school educational project designed to collect and disseminate the personal histories of the World War II generation. Stories are compiled by Hudson Falls High School in upstate New York. Parts of the site are still empty but there is some good primary source content up.

Here are a few quotes taken from World War Two veterans:

"My co-pilot was sitting in the escape path, so I put my foot in his back and shoved him out. I immediately followed. Just as I cleared the plane, she blew. All I saw was a huge flash and felt some of the concussion. I was in the clouds and got scared and knew that if I opened my chute, it would be damaged by air currents. I decided to delay opening until I broke out into the clear..." Earl Morrow, B17 pilot, shot down over Germany, POW

"I remember this one time, we were under heavy German fire, and we jumped into a foxhole. The officer in charge said to me, “ Are they still firing, Dashnaw?” I replied to him, “ Go stick your head up there and see, sir!” Alfred Dashnaw, US Army, French Interpreter

"We never did find the Japanese fleet and I am awfully glad that we didn’t, because they had attacked us there with 6 carriers, 3 battleships, 10 or 15 cruisers, and about 20 destroyers. The planes alone would have taken care of us, so I was grateful that we never found them. We were out there searching for 36 hours... When we came back into Pearl it was pitch dark, and we could see the fires from the Arizona and the other ships still burning in the harbor..." Barney Ross, U.S. Navy, Pearl Harbor

I wish my high school had been this innovative back in the 80s when I was in the secondary grades. A lot of World War Two veterans I grew up talking with are now gone. There stories were probably not recorded. I wish my history teacher had thought to do something like this. I hope other schools consider getting students involved in similar projects.


Jennie W said...

Two things:

First, if you like this, you should also check out the LOC's Veteran's History Project - really awesome.

And remember...the War premieres on PBS this Sunday! I'm looking forward to it...such a geek, I know!

Peter Britton said...

Dear Milland,

I'm afraid this is not a comment on this particular post, but I am trying to contact you on another matter. If I'm going about this the wrong way, many apologies.

I am managing a new project which is creating an online atlas of world history. It is in its very early stages of development (it so far only covers history up to AD 1 in any dept at all), but we're wanting comments on it now from interested parties before we go too far down the wrong lines.

I am wondering whether you would put up a post with a link to our site (which would be the first external link we've actually asked for), and ask your readers to send us their comments and suggestions.

The atlas will be a free online resource. The idea will be to give people (and not just students and teachers) access to the "Big Picture", so that they can see how different episodes fit into the broader framework, both chronologically and geographically. In due course we'll be looking for other contributors, but we haven't got the admin capability to handle that at the moment.

The address is:

Thanks very much indeed.

Peter Britton

M said...


I wish you luck with your project. I will not devote a post to this but I am happy to publish your comment here. This blog does get read and you will get some traffic from this comment link. I hope it helps you.

Best wishes,


Peter Britton said...

Dear Milland,

Thanks very much indeed. Much appreciated.

When the atlas is in a more complete state I'll let you know. In the meantime, if I could get some constructive feedback on the site from readers, that would be great.

Best wishes,


lorraine.oback said...

San Jose Public Library invites Santa Clara County (CA) residents, past and present, to upload personal photos depicting their experience of the World War II era at sanjoselibraries/. It's part of a series of programs - "The War: Reflections on WWII @ San Jose Libraries" - designed to encourage sharing and discussion in relation to Ken Burns' PBS film series, "The War."

Peter Baird said...

On Ken Burns PBS "War" series, The Battle of Peleliu will be featured on Sunday September 29. That battle has special meaning to me because my father, an army surgeon, was wounded there and came home with a semi-claw for a left hand, impaired surgical skills, a refusal to talk about it and a bad case of PTSD, involving booze, depression, rages and violence. The battle not only damaged him but our immediate family and succeeding generations.

Consequently,I wrote a novel, Beyond Peleliu (Ravenhawk Books) about the generational impact of that battle and also about the importance of truth in achieving understanding and forgiveness. My royalties go to charity.

My novel has been generously reviewed nationally and, as Sister Helen Prejean, author of Deadman Walking, wrote: "This book can be a source of forgiveness and healing for those who inherited the demons of war."

Thomas Childers, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and author of "World War Two: A Military and Social History" wrote, "Peter Baird's Beyond Peleliu is a hauntingly powerful novel of compelling honesty and skill, a moving reminder tht wars do not end when the last shot is fired." Peter Baird

Matt said...

Hello, Matthew Rozell here, the teacher responsible for the World War II Living History Project. I appreciate your attention to this site- I am also World History teacher. I can't compete with the VOHP but I'll bet I've been at it longer. I'll be meeting Ken Burns this month and I hope you can read the "remember" section on my site. Kind of explains it all.