On April 2, 1942, the USS Hornet steamed out of San Francisco with sixteen B-25s secured to the flight deck. Also on board was the already legendary Lt. Col. James Doolittle and his crew. He and his all-volunteer force were on a secret, one-way mission to exact a small taste of vengeance for the attack on Pearl Harbor just four months earlier.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of what came to be known as the Doolittle Raid and the succeeding actions that turned the tide of the Pacific war, culminating with the battle of Midway in June 1942,The National WWII Museum presents the special exhibit Turning Point: The Doolittle Raid, Battle of the Coral Sea, and Battle of Midway. On display April 18 – July 8, 2012, Turning Point tells the David and Goliath story of how a woefully out-gunned and outnumbered task force of aircraft carriers, diligent intelligence work and handful of intrepid aviators halted Japanese expansion in the Pacific.
Get a sneak peek at images, artifacts and exclusive oral histories that will be featured in the exhibit at turningpoint1942.org. The site also includes classroom resources for teachers and information on how to bring Turning Point to your town with the new, affordable Green Traveling Exhibit option.
In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close we meet nine-year-old Oskar Schell, who lost his father during the September 11th attacks. The story follows Oskar on a journey through New York as he searches for the meaning of a key found in a vase amongst his father’s belongings.
On May 8, 2012, at 6pm, we will meet to discuss and reflect upon Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 bestseller. The discussion will be held in a moderated book-club style. The following week, on May 15th at 7pm, we will screen the Oscar-nominated 2011 film adaptation starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.
Copies of the book will be available soon through the Museum Store. All those interested in film and literature are encouraged to attend. Both events will take place in the Stage Door Canteen and are free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended. Grab a bite in the American Sector before the events; Happy Hour is from 3-6pm.
Guam is the largest and most southern island of the Marianas island chain. Guam had come under American ownership following the Spanish-American War of 1898 and within three years, the US Navy and Marine Corps had footholds at Piti and Sumay, respectively. When Guam was invaded by Japanese forces on 8 December 1941 (7 December in the United States), Capt. George McMillin was serving as the island’s governor in addition to his role as CO of the naval base. The neighboring islands, Saipan and Tinian—islands which would prove crucial later in the war—were captured by the Japanese during World War I from the Germans. Japanese nationals began colonizing the islands, and the military strengthening its defenses there. By 1935, “westerners” were forbidden in the Japanese mandates.
Artifact Spotlight Stopped Watch Preserves a Moment in History
December 7, 1941, was a day that would live forever in the memory of any American who was alive and old enough to understand the magnitude of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Roy S. “Swede” Boreen not only remembers the attack first-hand as a survivor, he has a concrete reminder of the instant when everything changed.
When Boreen was interviewed by the Museumin early 2011, he donated the watch he wore on the day of the attack. The 21-jewel Bulova watch was significant because it had marked the exact second he hit the water to take cover from an enemy fighter – 8:04 am.
On December 7, 2011, The National WWII Museum will debut a new exhibit that commemorates not only the 70th anniversary of the costly attack on Pearl Harbor, but also sheds light on the lesser known attacks on Guam, Wake Island and the Philippines that took place over the course of one day.
Infamy – December 1941will open to the public at 10:00 a.m. on December 7th, and will be on view through February 19, 2012 in the Joe W. and D. D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion
Roosevelt, Rockwell and the Four Freedoms: America’s Slow March From Isolation to Action, the Museum’s special exhibit focusing on the years leading up to World War II, recently closed. The exhibit explored, with the help of Gallup polls from the times, the evolving views of the American public as world events unfolded in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his January 1941 State of the Union speech, envisioned four essential human freedoms that he believed could, and should, be gained for all persons everywhere – Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship, and Freedom from Want. Roosevelt, in enunciating these to the American public, was providing a moral bedrock on which to build a road to participation in World War II. He was certain of the righteousness of the cause, and hoped to convince Americans to share that belief.
During the exhibit’s run, we solicited feedback from Museum visitors about those same Four Freedoms. Roosevelt’s stated hope was that a victorious post-war world would encompass all of them. They are certainly among the highest of human aspirations. We wanted to know if Museum visitors would wish to help to bring them about in today’s world, and if so, what work would be needed by the individual visitor to accomplish these lofty goals.
This past Saturday the Education Department had its first Young Historians Tour as part of our Family Programming. Our tour took place in the Roosevelt, Rockwell, and the Four Freedoms: America’s Slow March from Isolation to Action exhibit. Our young visitors put on their “historian’s hats” and explored the exhibit as a historian would-looking at the how’s, why’s, and what’s of history and then took some time to think about the lessons we can learn from this important period in America’s history. Kids were able to put on the white gloves and try out their historian skills by analyzing artifacts from the museum’s education collection. We finished off our tour with a Four Freedoms book making craft in the classroom. Tons of fun was had by all!
Several of our Young Historians were repeat visitors to our Family Programming. This programming is one of the great reasons to get your family a museum membership. Many educational and fun filled family events are coming up, so please take a look at our What’s On Calendar for further details.
Here are some photos of the kids in action: (more…)
We hoped that visitors would reflect on the idealistic world that Roosevelt hoped would flourish after the war and ask themselves whether we have achieved it and what each can do to further that goal. To that end, we put up a comment wall and asked the public to pick one of the Four Freedoms and list how they personally can help achieve it.
Thoughtful comments are coming in, including: “Stand up for what you believe” and “If you don’t respect all four freedoms, what was it all for?”
These and other comments have been inspirational to visitors and staff and a few have even made us laugh. For instance, related to Freedom of Speech, one visitor pledged to “Stand up to my wife.”
Picture this scene: a man stands up to speak his mind at a community meeting. He’s not a town leader or a wealthy businessman. He’s a farmer, or a truck driver, or maybe a factory worker. But at this civic gathering, he delivers his opinion with the knowledge that his right to speak his mind is ingrained in the law of the land. It’s a simple scene, but one that Norman Rockwell seared into the American consciousness as part of his 1943 “Four Freedoms” series.
Today, the Museum opens a special exhibit titled Roosevelt, Rockwell, and the Four Freedoms: America’s Slow March from Isolation to Action (September 2—November 13). This exhibit explores a lesser-known side of WWII history—the time period before Pearl Harbor, when Americans debated what to do about the wars in Europe and Asia. From the Neutralities Acts passed in the mid 1930s to “Cash and Carry” to the Lend Lease program, American politicians, newspaper editors, community leaders, and everyday Americans argued between isolation and intervention, between staying out and helping out. As President Roosevelt became convinced that the United States must aid Great Britain in its solitary fight against Nazi Germany, he knew he needed to provide a moral justification to persuade his fellow Americans to go along. In his January 6, 1941, State of the Union Address, he spoke of a post-war world where four freedoms reigned: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. That speech and the ever-more frightening realities on the ground in Europe helped usher in a more aggressive anti-Nazi, pro British foreign policy. Two years later, with the United States in the war, popular American artist Norman Rockwell turned Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms into four iconic paintings, which in turn were turned into four of the best known American propaganda posters of WWII.
Come see these original posters, a timeline of pre-war American foreign policy, and a provocative audio-visual presentation that will get you thinking about whether Mr. Roosevelt’s vision has come true or not.
This post by Director of Education and co-Curator of the exhibit Kenneth Hoffman.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.