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SciTech Tuesday-The Los Alamos Primer

In 1934 a young man just finished with his PhD in physics at the University of Wisconsin made a spontaneous decision. He turned down a postdoctoral appointment with Eugene Wigner at Columbia University, and decided instead to head to UC Berkeley and pursue work with a scientist he had just heard give a talk in Madison.

The dynamic Berkeley professor was Robert Oppenheimer, and the young protege was Robert Serber. Serber, like Oppenheimer, was a theoretician. Unlike most of his kind, he admired gadgetry and was fascinated with the methods of empiricists. After a few years of work with Oppenheimer, Serber took a position of the University of Illinois in 1938, where he and his wife Charlotte nee Loef settled until 1941. At that time Oppenheimer recruited them to move to Los Alamos to join the Manhattan Project. Robert would become Oppenheimer’s shadow, and Charlotte the head of the technical library (this made her the only female section leader during the war).

Serber had a great ability to explain things, and to link the general and theoretical with the specific and empirical. Los Alamos operated effectively by not limiting communication across departments. This also proved a challenge to introducing new team members to the mission of the group and the combined knowledge of the project. After a conference sponsored by Oppenheimer at Berkeley in 1942, summary lectures on the principles of fission and potential bomb triggering mechanisms were delivered by Serber at Los Alamos in April of 1943. Notes of these lectures, taken by Edward Condon, were collected for internal use, and named ‘The Los Alamos Primer.” Summarizing all the relevant knowledge held by those who created the first atomic weapons, the Primer was classified until 1965. By then the field had developed enough to make its contents not very useful for engineers. However, it is priceless to historians studying the development of the project.

Serber was quick-minded and practical enough that he was the man sent to Tinian advise the military as they loaded and activated the bombs. He also was the one who gave them the names “Little Boy,” and “Fat Man.” Serber was on the first team of Americans who entered Hiroshima and Nagasaki to evaluate the results of the bombings.

The post-war years were a little rough for Serber, as an attempt was made on his life in 1947 by an anti-communist activist, and then he was swept up in some of the McCarthy era mess, mostly because of his family’s Jewish and Socialist leanings, and his close association with Oppenheimer. Angered by the government’s failure to give him a security clearance to go to a meeting in Japan in 1952, he refused to stay at Berkeley because California professors were required to swear an oath of loyalty to the US Government. He moved to Columbia where he stayed through his wife’s death in 1968, until his retirement in 1978. He died in 1997 from complications of surgery to treat brain cancer.

All images from Wikimedia, except those from The Los Alamos Primer, which can be accessed here.

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

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Bringing Charity to Life

An ambulance moves past a destroyed German fortress at Terracina, Italy on 26 May 1944.

An ambulance moves past the rubble of a destroyed German fortress at Terracina, Italy on 26 May 1944. 2002.337.576. U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, Gift of Regan Forrester, from the Collection of The National World War II Museum.

During WWII the US military had thousands of vehicles at its disposal. All were made possible by the “Arsenal of Democracy” that President Roosevelt referenced in his 1940 speech. As WWII progressed, so did the US manufacturing of weapons, vehicles, and war matériel. This subject is detailed marvelously in the current exhibition Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy on view now through May 31, 2015 in the Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery.

Deployed alongside the multitude of vehicles, boats, and airplanes that were used on the front lines were the soldier/mechanics that kept the machines running smoothly or at least patched them up and helped get them back in the fight. These soldiers’ ingenuity and tenacity were the stuff of legend. Often working on little sleep, without proper tools or materials, and under intense pressure, they did what they had to do to keep bringing the war to the enemy.

Here at The National WWII Museum, we are fortunate to have our own mechanic that not only keeps our fleet of historic vehicles running but also restores some of the Museum’s soon to be seen vehicles. Most days of the week you can find Joey Culligan, a retired NASA employee of 30 years, working away in our warehouse on a tank, truck or jeep. Joey’s current challenge is restoring a WC-9 Field Ambulance (2005.007.001) to its former glory. Nicknamed Charity, the ambulance was purchased by the Museum in 2005 with funds raised by the Charity Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association. The funds for the restoration were made possible through a generous donation by Tom, Lois, and Leo Knudson in honor of Edith M. Rubright “Ruby” Knudson Key.

Joey Culligan at work on Charity's engine.

Joey Culligan at work on Charity’s engine.

Charity weighs about 5600lbs, has a payload of 1000lbs (hence the ½ ton designation) and gets 12 miles to the gallon on a 78 horsepower, six cylinder engine. The ambulance’s 55mph top speed never seemed quite fast enough for the ambulance drivers or their passengers. The ambulance could carry four stretchers or seven seated patients and a two person crew. Charity is one of 2,288 WC-9s that were built in 1941 by the Dodge Division of the Chrysler Corporation. Ambulance crews were a very busy breed. The 68th Medical Group supported the First Army in the ETO from June 1944 to May 1945 during which their ambulances traveled 2.6 million miles and transported over 200,000 patients.[i]

The current plan is to restore Charity to resemble a WC-9 that would have been assigned to a medical group in Italy in 1943. While the exact date for completion of the project has yet to be revealed, Joey is busy getting Charity into working order. We promise to check in with him on Charity’s progress as she nears completion.


Ginn, Richard V.N. The History of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Surgeon General and Center of Military History United States Army, 1997. p.139

Posted by Lowell Bassett, Collections Manager at The National WWII Museum.

Road to Tokyo Countdown: Introduction and Orientation Area

Opening this December, the Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries will tell the story of the brave men and women fighting within the Asia-Pacific side of World War II and the logistical challenges, environmental difficulties, crude facilities, and tropical diseases they faced to secure victory.

As we begin our countdown through Road to Tokyo, we come first to the Introduction and Orientation Area. This gallery space will set the scene of how America first became involved with fighting in the Pacific.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Four days after the gruesome attack on US soil, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Americans ­– determined to avenge the attack on their territory ­­– were ready to launch a war with Japan.

The Road to Tokyo Introduction and Orientation Area will guide visitors through the precarious situation facing America, and the logistical challenges of fighting a two-front war, particularly across the vast Pacific Ocean and Asian territories now dominated by the Japanese. Finally, visitors will meet the Allied and Axis key leaders in the Pacific: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Emperor Hirohito.

Road to Tokyo Introduction and Orientation Area

Road to Tokyo Introduction and Orientation Area


Donor Spotlight: The Starr Foundation

The Road to Tokyo Briefing Room: Japanese Onslaught has been made possible through a generous donation by The Starr Foundation.

C.V. Starr

Cornelius Vander Starr, Founder of The Starr Foundation

The Starr Foundation was established in 1955 by Cornelius Vander Starr, who served in the US Army during WWI. He died in 1968 at the age of 76, leaving his estate to the Foundation, and he named his business partners – Ernest E. Stempel, John J. Roberts, Houghton Freeman, and Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg – to run the foundation under Greenberg’s leadership. The partners were all WWII veterans: Stempel, Roberts, and Freeman all served in the Navy in the Pacific and Greenberg served in the Army in Europe.

Chairman Maurice R. Greenberg

Maurice R. Greenberg  is the current Chairman of The Starr Foundation

Greenberg served throughout the European Theater – from landing on the beaches of Normandy to fighting in the Battle of the Bulge to the liberating concentration camps in Germany. Greenberg received the Legion of Honor from the French government on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in 2014. When being praised for his brave military service, Greenberg responds that he was “only one of millions of WWII veterans who fought for our country.”

The Starr Foundation awarded the Museum a $1 million grant, after Museum founder Stephen Ambrose met with Greenberg in 2001. Eager to dedicate a space that would preserve the story of the European Theater in Greenberg’s honor, The Starr Foundation generously provided an additional gift in 2006 in support of the Museum’s Road to Victory Capital Campaign to name the Road to Tokyo Introduction Area gallery.

Florence Davis

Florence Davis, President of The Starr Foundation

President of the Starr Foundation, Florence Davis believes the Museum is “a good reminder of the ideals that Americans fought for in the past and what we continue to fight for today.”

One of The Starr Foundation’s focuses is to “invest in education and international affairs,” Davis states that “the Museum educates visitors about the positive lessons of how the country pulled together on rationing, war bonds, and enlistment in huge numbers, as well as the negative lessons of the (racial) segregation of troops and internment of Japanese Americans. Understanding the entire history of WWII, warts and all, is very important.”

The Museum is grateful for the Foundation’s support and for the leadership of Greenberg and Davis, who have played key roles in developing the Museum into a world-class institution.


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Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day at The National WWII Museum


On May 7, 1945, the surrender of Germany was announced, officially ending the European phase of World War II. Allied leaders decided that May 8 would be celebrated as Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day). Join us the first week of May as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of V-E Day with a variety of events.

Upcoming V-E Day Commemorative Events

Wednesday May, 6, 2015
Lunchbox Lecture
Guenter Bischof presents “1945: End of the War in Austria”
H. Mortimer Favrot Orientation Center
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The Republic of Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich on March 13, 1938, after the invasion by the German Wehrmacht. During World War II Austrians fought in the Wehrmacht, participated in the Holocaust, and suffered from Nazi oppression and Allied bombing. By and large, public opinion in the “Ostmark” supported the Nazi regime to the end of the war. The territory of what would be called Austria again was liberated by the Red Army from the east, American forces from the north, and French forces from the west. On the basis of the Allied Moscow Declaration, the Provisional Renner Government proclaimed the re-establishment of Austria on April 27. Four-power Allied occupation government was finally established in September 1945 and continued until 1955. The road from war to independence seemed interminable for the Austrians. Guenter Bischof presents.

For more information visit us here or call 504-528-1944 x 229.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series on World War II
“Eisenhower The Liberator: A Panel Discussion” Featuring the Grandchildren of Dwight D. Eisenhower
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
5:00 pm Reception | 6:00 pm Presentation and Q&A

Join us for an enlightening evening as the grandchildren of General Dwight D. Eisenhower come to discuss their grandfather’s legacy and his experiences during the war.

Moderated by Dr. Keith Huxen, the Museum’s Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Director of Research and History, the panel will discuss Eisenhower in his role as Supreme Commander and chief amongst the liberators—including his personal encounter with the Holocaust as he inspected the camps at Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. One of Eisenhower’s lasting legacies as leader of the Allied Forces was to force soldiers, civilians, and media to tour the sites themselves in order to have eyewitnesses, written records, and photographic evidence of Holocaust crimes.

To RSVP visit us here or call 504-528-1944 x 412.

Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day
Friday, May 8, 2015

On May 8, 1945, World War II ended in Europe. While the mood was exuberant in neighborhoods, work places, and with families throughout the country, it was a bittersweet day—war still raged on in the Pacific and many veterans recall that they were being re-assigned to prepare for the invasion of the Japanese mainland.

The Museum will commemorate this important anniversary of World War II with speakers who will recollect receiving the news, footage from newsreels from 1945, and historians reflecting on the meanings and legacies of Victory in Europe.


  • New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy Performance
    US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
    10:30 am – 11:00 am
  • V-E Day Ceremony
    US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
    11:00 am – 12:00 pm

    Ceremony commemorating the end of the war in Europe, featuring reflections of those who remember the events of the day. Led by Bill Detweiler, The National WWII Museum’s Consultant for Military and Veterans Affairs.
  • Living History Corps and artifacts from the war in Europe
    Battle Barksdale Parade Ground
    All Day

For more information visit us here or call 504-528-1944 x 229.

Home Front Friday: Bakelite for the Fight

Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during WWII and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Due to rationing and conservation orders, life on the Home Front during WWII was much different than the world we have come to know today. Not everything was easily accessible. But some things were not affected by rationing. For example, Bakelite was readily available. Bakelite was an early plastic that was utilized for a variety of reasons during WWII, but perhaps for no reason as lovely as jewelry.

During the 1940s, a wide array of Bakelite jewelry was created to document the efforts of patriots in the USA. They were made into pins, necklaces, and bracelets so the Home Front could express solidarity with the men fighting overseas. Pins were made to honor sweethearts, and others trumped slogans like MacArthur’s, “I shall return,” and “Remember Pearl Harbor.” Bakelite jewelry became a way of expressing patriotism, and makers got creative – with moveable parts and many colors, shapes, and sizes. Not just a fashion statement, this jewelry carried much more weight.

Tri-color Bakelite 'V' for Victory pin with 'Mother' in wire at the top. Gift of Rhoda and Roger Berkowitz, 2011.009

Tri-color Bakelite ‘V’ for Victory pin with ‘Mother’ in wire at the top. Gift of Rhoda and Roger Berkowitz, 2011.009

The Museum’s Collection contains several pieces of jewelry, including the Bakelite pin featured above.

Today, collectors still admire the jewelry (and it is still wearable!). Louisiana’s own Bambi Deville Engeran compiled a collection of over 200 images of these fascinating pieces, and we offer it here at the National World War II Museum. Check out her book, WWII Bakelite Jewelry: Love and Victory, sure to excite jewelry and WWII buffs around the globe! What’s truly amazing is that something so small – like a plastic pin – could carry so much weight and meaning. These pieces may not be made of the most valuable material, but they were a way for the Home Front to champion our country. Enjoy the creativity and significance of these priceless pieces.

Posted by Laurel Taylor, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at the World War II Museum

Road to Tokyo Countdown


Guadalcanal Gallery in Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries

Pacific Theater Galleries

We are proud to present to you the Road to Tokyo, the second floor Pacific Theater Galleries scheduled for completion in December 2015. In combination with the first floor, the Road to Berlin, which opened in December 2014, the Campaigns of Courage Pavilion portrays the bravery, sacrifice, and sense of duty demonstrated by soldiers in each branch of the US military services in all campaigns of World War II.

For America, World War II began in the Pacific.  Although the nation’s attention had long been drawn to events in Europe, it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that officially brought America into World War II.  The Asia–Pacific Campaign builds on that galvanizing event, following the path that leads from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Harbor by way of New Guinea and Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Burma, and the islands of the Pacific.  Road to Tokyo will explore the evolving strategy for fighting in Asia and the Pacific, and the cultural differences and tremendous range of extreme conditions that confronted our soldiers. Galleries will include: The New Naval Warfare, Guadalcanal, Pacific Campaign Challenges, Island Hopping, China-Burma-India, Philippines, Death at Japan’s Doorstep, and Downfall.

All design for these galleries is now complete and exhibit construction has begun. In anticipation of these incredible exhibit spaces, and the completion of a major step in the Museum’s Capital Expansion, we would like to give you a sneak peek of the galleries and spotlight the generous donors who have made the construction of Road to Tokyo possible.


Donor Spotlight: Richard C. Adkerson

Museum Board Chairman, Richard C. Adkerson

Museum Board Chairman, Richard C. Adkerson

The Museum is immensely proud to highlight Board Chairman Richard C. Adkerson, who, together with his company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., pledged $5 million.  Mr. Adkerson’s gift honors the service of his father, a Seabee in the Pacific during WWII.  Freeport’s gift recognizes its large-scale mining operations in Papua, Indonesia on the island of New Guinea. Mr. Adkerson is the President, CEO & Vice Chairman of Freeport-McMoRan.

Adkerson’s parents came from small-farm families in Lauderdale County in west Tennessee. His father,  J.W. Adkerson, enlisted immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He became a Marine and a Seabee, a support unit in the Navy best known for construction projects, and he served two tours in the South Pacific including on Guadalcanal, the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands and Guam.  His mother’s twin brother, William Lawton “Buddy” Thornley, served in the Army in New Guinea under General MacArthur.  Regrettably, both died during the early 1970s.  J.W. never talked much about the war, and never wanted to vacation at beaches. Years later, in his mother’s memorabilia collection, the younger Adkerson found a piece of a map of the South Pacific where his father had traced the places he had been during his two WWII tours. Richard Adkerson often landed en route to Indonesia on air strips constructed during WWII in Majuro in the Marshall Islands and Paulu in the Caroline Islands where his father once was – and these experiences would later influence his involvement with the Museum.

After graduating from Mississippi State University with highest honors, Mr. Adkerson began his career in New Orleans and, after living in Washington D.C., Houston and Chicago, Adkerson returned to New Orleans in 1989 to join Freeport-McMoRan. A few years later, Stephen Ambrose began speaking with executives at Freeport about early plans for the Museum. Adkerson expressed strong interest from the beginning. His favorite memory of the Museum is the opening on June 6, 2000, and the feeling he had watching the veterans in the parade through the streets of New Orleans and the warm, patriotic reception they so richly deserved.

Adkerson's Parents

Adkerson’s Parents

Museum President and CEO Gordon “Nick” Mueller and Trustee Donald “Boysie” Bollinger approached Adkerson about joining the board in 2002, and Adkerson enthusiastically agreed. That year the Museum’s annual Victory Ball gala fundraiser, of which Freeport was a sponsor, honored former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a Freeport emeritus board member and close friend of Adkerson’s. Adkerson left the board in 2007 when Freeport moved its headquarters from New Orleans to Phoenix, but four years later Museum Trustee Governor Pete Wilson visited Adkerson and suggested that he re-join the Museum board. Adkerson accepted the invitation, and then in June of 2013 he became the Museum’s Board Chairman.

Adkerson felt that as he assumed the Chairman’s role, “it would be a good time for Freeport and myself personally to make gifts that would help the Museum move forward in achieving our goals and encourage others to participate as well.” Adkerson and Freeport decided to donate $5 million to name the Road to Tokyo. They felt this would fit naturally with his father’s involvement in the Pacific and Freeport’s current mining work in New Guinea.  In addition, Freeport’s predecessor company played a significant role on the Home Front by supplying copper materials during WWII.

With the help of this leadership gift, we will be able to tell the complete story of the war in the Pacific.  We extend our sincere thanks to Richard C. Adkerson and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. for their commitment to the Museum’s essential mission.

Louisiana History Day Finalists Advance To Nationals

Louisiana History Day State FinalistsOn Saturday, April 11, the Museum hosted the Louisiana National History Day state contest.  National History Day is a student research competition in which students, either as individuals or in groups, conduct research and construct a project on a historical topic of their choice.  Many of the students selected their topics in the fall and then spent much of the spring conducting research online, in libraries and at historical sites and archives. With the option to create either an exhibit, a documentary, a performance, a website or a documentary, students could display their research in the way they deemed most effective.

At this year’s state contest, over 260 middle and high school students with over 150 projects in 18 different categories from all across the state competed throughout the day for prizes as well as a chance to advance their work and represent Louisiana at the National Contest in June in Washington D.C..

In all, 67 winning students were selected on Saturday and will travel on as Louisiana’s representatives in the National Contest at the University of Maryland on June 15 – 18.  Best of luck to all our winners!


This post by Collin Makamson, Student Programs Coordinator @ The National WWII Museum

Whitney Bank Donation Commemorates Longtime Veteran Volunteer Group


Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller accepts Whitney Bank’s donation, along with “A-Team” Members Bert Stolier & Ronnie Abboud and their families.


The National WWII Museum today received a $75,000 contribution from Whitney Bank. The gift will be used to support the Museum’s researchers and historians in their ongoing educational and preservation efforts, as well as honor the longtime Museum volunteer group affectionately known as the “A-Team.”

John M. Hairston, President and CEO of Hancock Holding Company, parent company of Whitney Bank, presented Whitney’s donation to Museum President and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, along with certificates that represent commemorative bricks sponsored at the Museum campus for each “A-Team” member.  A band of seven WWII veteran volunteers, the “A-Team” assisted heavily with the Museum’s Speakers Bureau – an organization that gives free personalized presentations throughout the community.

“The National WWII Museum brings to life the story of the Greatest Generation and the incredible patriotism that rallied our entire nation around a fight for freedom in a war unlike any other to that point,” said Hairston. “We are pleased to help the Museum and humbled to honor the ‘A-Team.’ Their extraordinary courage and the resilient spirit of their generation changed the course of history for America and the rest of the world; and their experiences remind us that our freedoms remain intact because of the dedication and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families.”

Created by passionate Museum volunteer Ronnie Abboud, the “A-Team” has included WWII veterans Tom Blakey, Jack Sullivan, Frank Tuttle, George Wichterich, Vernon Main Jr. and Bert Stolier. Today, Stolier is the only living member who served in World War II.

The brick dedication comes at an ideal time – during National Volunteer Week. In addition to staff members, nearly 350 volunteers actively serve the Museum at the ticket counter, information desk, Solomon Victory Theater, and Kushner Restoration Pavilion. Volunteers at the Restoration Pavilion are in their seventh year of work, contributing more than 76,000 hours restoring a 78-foot Higgins Patrol-Torpedo boat. Of the total number of volunteers, 18 have served the Museum since it opened 14 years ago, and the average volunteer tenure is 4.1 years.

“I’m proud to represent the Museum as a volunteer, and I’m even more proud to have worked alongside such courageous men,” Abboud continued. “Every member of the ‘A-Team’ is a personal hero of mine. Their sacrifice is unmatched, and I’m incredibly grateful to Whitney Bank for giving us the opportunity to create a lasting tribute to this phenomenal group of gentleman – a memorial that will be around for generations to come.”

Today, the men and women who fought and won World War II are now mostly in their 90s – dying at the rate of approximately 492 a day, according to US Veterans Administration figures. When the newly constructed Campaigns of Courage pavilion is completed this winter, the “A-Team’s” commemorative bricks will be part of its atrium, accompanying dozens of other veterans’ names so that their collective sacrifice will always be remembered.


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SciTech Tuesday–Roosevelt’s Death and Polio

It was April 12th, 1945, just over a month after he had reported to Congress on the Yalta Conference, and just less than a month before Truman announced Victory in Europe, that Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. That afternoon, at his vacation home in Warm Springs GA, where he had gone to rest before the Inauguration of The United Nations, he declared “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head,” before slumping forward unconscious. He died shortly after, with the death attributed to a stroke.

In 1921, when he was 39, Roosevelt was diagnosed with Poliomyelitis. This disease is caused by an infection of an enterovirus. The Poliovirus is one of the simplest viruses, containing a strand of RNA in a protein capsule. Infection is oral, and in the vast majority of cases results in no symptoms. In a very small number of cases it results in muscle paralysis, and can lead to serious motor problems and even death if it affects the diaphragm.

In the early part of this century Polio was greatly feared, since it strikes almost exclusively children and onset is rapid. Sometimes it was thought to be transmitted by insects, and led to the spraying of DDT, in others to the closure of swimming pools. The development of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) by Jonas Salk in 1955 began the near eradication of the disease. There are still hotspots of infection, particularly in Afghanistan and Nigeria, but in recent years there have been only about 200 cases per year reported.

Roosevelt was diagnosed after developing a fever and losing strength in his legs over a couple of days. He had jogged and swam and hiked just before that–being an active man–and so it is unclear where he was exposed. It is rare to be infected past childhood, but Polio is the diagnosis that best fit his symptoms. He used braces to walk, a modified car that didn’t have foot controls, and a wheelchair the rest of his life. Age and the strain of events wore on him in the later years of his presidency. Observers of his speech to Congress about the Yalta Conference noted how he seemed aged and less energetic, and he sat through the address.

One of the dangers for those with partial paralysis is the development of blood clots. It may have been such a clot that led to Roosevelt’s stroke. If so, the Polio may have led to his death, but that’s not certain.

It is certain that without the developments of technology and government support of research that took place in the Depression and war years, innovations such as Salk’s vaccine would not have occurred. The systems put in place to win the war, to develop Big Science and Big Industry, continued in the post-war years.

All images from the National Archives

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

Year of Remembrance Documentary Screening: Above and Beyond


As a continuation of our Year of Remembrance programs, The National WWII Museum will present a screening of the feature-length documentary Above and Beyond, produced by Nancy Spielberg and directed by Roberta Grossman. Above and Beyond follows a group of Jewish-American pilots who secretly flew for Israel in its 1948 “War of Independence.” The documentary features never-before-seen interviews and thrilling aerial footage to share the little-known tale of men who risked their lives to help others in need – a heart-warming and heroic story.

“I identified with these flyboys, having grown up in Phoenix, Arizona, where we were the only Jewish family on the block,” said Spielberg. “And, I saw my father in them. My dad used to fly B‐25s with the Burma Bridge Busters Squadron doing radio communications. I marveled at the camaraderie he had maintained with his ‘band of brothers’ and saw similar bonds among our pilots.”

Preceded by a 5:00 pm reception, the Above and Beyond screening will take place at 6:00 pm on April 23 in the Museum’s Solomon Victory Theater. Nancy Spielberg and her father, WWII veteran Arnold Spielberg, will be in attendance as well as Roberta Grossman. A special discussion and Q&A with Spielberg will follow at 7:30 pm. To RSVP, visit us here.

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