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New ProQuest History Vault Module: "World War II: U.S. Documents on Planning, Operations, Intelligence, Axis War Crimes, and Refugees"

On December 7, 1941, more than 100 Japanese airplanes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day, the United States declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany declared war on the United States, and the United States responded in turn.

The next month, in January 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the White House Map Room as his center for military information and communications. Roosevelt wanted the Map Room to become the single repository of his correspondence with world leaders like Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Marshal Joseph Stalin, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The Map Room also conveyed and received messages from Roosevelt’s immediate family and his key political advisers.

Additionally, in August 1943, as part of President Roosevelt’s preparation for the Quebec Conference, the Map Room set up “Special Subjects” files. These files contained all available military and diplomatic information which the president could draw on to draft messages and to formulate policy.

[Top photo: December 8, 1941, formerly secret message from the Commander in Chief Pacific regarding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This message is part of a file on U.S. aircraft losses in the Pacific Theater. From Map Room Files of President Roosevelt, ProQuest History Vault]

[Middle photo, right: Draft message to Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed by Roosevelt, June 12, 1942, regarding an agreement between U.S. General Henry H. Arnold and John Slessor, Marshal of the Royal Air Force. From Map Room Files of President Roosevelt, ProQuest History Vault]

[Bottom photo, right: Reaction in the Soviet Union to the D-Day invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944. From Map Room Files of President Roosevelt, ProQuest History Vault]

These examples from the Map Room files are just several of the thousands of documents in the newest ProQuest History Vault module, World War II: U.S. Documents on Planning, Operations, Intelligence, Axis War Crimes, and Refugees. This module is of significant value to researchers because it provides a wide range of valuable collections, revealing many different aspects of the war, from the highest levels of military and political leadership (as seen in the Map Room Files); to the experience of individual soldiers in the form of operations reports and combat interviews; to the lives of refugees in Europe; to the home front in the United States.

In addition to the Map Room Files, other notable collections in the module are Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Papers of George C. Marshall, U.S. Navy Action and Operational Reports; Records of the War Department’s Operations Division; World War II Combat Interviews; FBI Files on Tokyo Rose; and Papers of the War Refugee Board.

Many of these collections give researchers a behind-the-scenes view of events that is not available from any other source. Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for example, include minutes of Joint Chiefs meetings, giving researchers the feeling of being in the room when important decisions were made. World War II combat interviews were conducted by military historians shortly after battles concluded. These interviews were often held in field hospitals and reflect the strains and confusions of battle.

FBI Files on Tokyo Rose tell the fascinating story of Iva Toguri d’Aquino, who was accused of treason as a result of radio broadcasts in Japan during the war. Papers of the War Refugee Board include eyewitness accounts of refugees as well as documentation on the War Refugee Board’s efforts to rescue Jews in Europe during the war.

The records are supplemented with smaller collections documenting U.S. planning and participation in World War II and files for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East on relations with various nationalities. The files pertaining to the war in the Pacific are especially strong on Philippines material.

Sign up for a free trial of this and other key world-conflict resources, and download the brochure to get the real story today. Find out more about ProQuest History Vault, and be sure to also see the coverage of the Pearl Harbor attack and WWII in ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

06 Dec 2013 | Posted by Shannon Janeczek

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