The Paratroopers of D-Day
When we think about the Normandy Invasion, most of us remember the troops landing on the beaches under heavy enemy fire. Just as important were the contributions of Airborne troops who parachuted into France before amphibious landing began.
More about the Airborne Division and "Operation Neptune" from the Eisenhower Library.
Today we begin “Around the World in 80 Days with the Roosevelts.” Follow along as we journey around the world chronicling two lifetimes of travel and the Roosevelts’ common commitment to diplomacy and human rights.
Day 1: Eleanor Roosevelt in the South Pacfic
From August 17-September 24, 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt undertook a 25,000 mile trip to the South Pacific as a representative of the American Red Cross. During her trip she made 17 stops in Australia, New Zealand and a number of small Pacific Islands, including Guadalcanal, Bora Bora, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Christmas Island.
Eleanor spent most of the trip visiting about 400,000 servicemen at military bases, hospitals, nursing homes and American Red Cross recreation clubs. She chronicled her experiences in her “My Day” columns, the proceeds from which she donated to the Red Cross.
On this day, May 14, 1948, the United States became the first country to recognize the State of Israel.
At midnight, the Provisional Government of Israel declared the establishment of the State of Israel. At 6:11 pm that same day, President Truman released a statement recognizing the new state and the provisional Jewish government as its de facto authority.
The following day, after issuing a response statement, armies from nearby Arab states invaded Israel, beginning the first Arab-Israeli war.
Photo: Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of Israel, presents a Torah, or Holy Scroll, to President Truman during a visit to the White House. Donor: Rabbi Phillip S. Bernstein. May 25, 1948.
Happy 130th Birthday, Harry S. Truman! (5/08/1884 - 12/26/1972)
Abbie Rowe, photographer.
The photo of Truman smiling while he announces the end of the war in Europe (on his 61st birthday no less) is always one of our favorites. It was also a big hit with our “junior digital curator” who was helping out during our Take your Child to Work Day here at the National Archives—and who also shares a birthday with the 33rd President. In his words: “He’s probably thinking ‘This is an AWESOME birthday present!’”
It’s the Birthday of President Harry S. Truman
A brief timeline on what would have been Harry’s 130th birthday-
- 1884: Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8. As a young man, he works briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks.
- 1906: Harry begins working with his father to run the family farm. He continues working as a farmer for more than ten years.
- 1905-1911: Harry serves in the Missouri National Guard. When the United States enters World War I in 1917, he helps to organize the 2nd Regiment of Missouri Field Artillery, which is quickly called into Federal service as the 129th Field Artillery and sent to France.
- 1919-1922: Harry runs a men’s clothing store in Kansas City with his wartime friend, Eddie Jacobson. The store fails in the postwar recession. Harry narrowly avoids bankruptcy, and through determination and over many years he pays off his share of the store’s debts.
- 1922: Harry is elected to be one of three judges of the Jackson County Court.
- 1934: Harry is elected to the United States Senate.
- July, 1944: Harry is nominated to run for Vice President with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- January 20, 1945: Harry takes the vice-presidential oath. After President Roosevelt’s unexpected death only eighty-two days later on April 12, 1945, Harry is sworn in as the nations’ 33rd President.
- May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally one day before Harry’s 61st birthday.
- 1948: Harry wins reelection despite a widely expected defeat.
- 1953: Harry leaves the Presidency and retires to Independence, MO.
- 1972: Harry S. Truman dies on December 26, 1972.
Photo: President Truman on the celebration of his 61st birthday, the day after the unconditional surrender of Germany in World War II. May 8, 1945.
-from the Truman Library
The Defeat of German Nazi Forces
On this day in 1945, German General Alfred Jodl signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France.
This photo was taken in the War Room of the Allied Supreme Headquarters. On General Jodl’s left is General Admiral Von Friedenburg of the German Navy, and on his right is Major Wilhelm Oxenius of the German general staff. May 7, 1945. U.S. Army.
from the Eisenhower Library
Today is the Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans Interned During WWII
On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 granting the War Department broad powers to create military exclusion areas. Although the order did not identify any particular group, in practice it was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent.
Although there were no reliable reports that Japanese-Americans on the United States West Coast presented a subversive threat, on March 2, 1942 the military declared California, Oregon and Washington State strategic areas from which Americans of Japanese decent were to be excluded.
More than 110,000 Japanese-Americans (64% of whom were American-born citizens) were required to abandon their homes and jobs and to live in 10 relocation camps.
The United States Supreme Court finally ruled that continued detention without cause was unconstitutional, and the military relocation order was rescinded in December 1944.
Japanese Americans near trains during Relocation. Circa 1942.
Baggage check during Japanese Relocation. Circa 1942.
Exclusion order posted at First and Front Streets in San Francisco directing removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the first section of the city to be affected by evacuation. Evacuees will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration., ca. 07/1942.
Photograph of Dust Storm at Manzanar War Relocation Authority Center, 07/03/1942.
-from the FDR Library
The Monuments Men
Last week we were privileged to host two special advance screenings of The Monuments Men, one especially for the staff of the National Archives. Thanks to the generosity of Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men upon which the film is based for making this possible. The film will open in theaters around the country on February 7th.
In our East Rotunda Gallery, through the 19th of February, our featured document is an Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) album that records artwork looted by the Nazis during the Second World War – one of a series of photo albums created for Adolph Hitler’s benefit to document the Nazis’ systematic looting of cultural treasures and to serve as a pick list for his planned museum in Linz after the war. The Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program recruited the group known as the Monuments Men (although there were also Monuments Women), and they used these albums to return treasures to their rightful owners. The volume on display is one of several recently discovered albums donated to the National Archives by Robert Edsel, the president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. The newly discovered albums supplement the 40 already in the custody of the National Archives.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.