The Oshkosh Public Museum recently released the second edition of “Voices of History, 1941-1945” by Bradley G. Larson, a publication that ensures the legacy of Oshkosh’s World War II generation is remembered and preserved. This is the story of people who were thrust into the war, to experience it on the home front or in faraway lands, as told through oral histories and the Museum’s extensive collections.
Dozens of men and women from Northeastern Wisconsin willingly shared their wartime experiences, some with great difficulty. The war came back with amazing clarity for many who lived through those awful years. Even those who were children at the time had events and scenes burned into their memory. There were also good times, such as the victory in 1945, but it came at such a terrible cost.
This is the story of a generation of Americans as told by people in one average Midwestern town – Oshkosh. They are representative of the stories heard in hundreds of cities across Wisconsin and across the nation. The memories were all there, still – a scrap drive, a train full of soldiers leaving the downtown station, a Gold Star flag in a neighbor’s window.
The World War II generation is almost gone. The experiences of that cataclysmic war, and the almost universal military service for young men, resounded for decades. Their stories are preserved through artifacts, photographs, and historic documents, a symbolic link that tells of heroism, grief, and triumph. This book will help to ensure that the memories live on, revealing what some local men and women gave to the nation, and the world.
Carved on the smooth, cold face of the granite monument at the South Park War Memorial in Oshkosh are the names of 155 men who died in World War II. Flanking that list are more names – young men from Oshkosh who lost their lives in Korea and Vietnam. The carved names seem remote and distant, from another time, apt to be forgotten. “Voices of History, 1941-1945” is dedicated to all those who gave of themselves.
The impact of World War II on families, the nation, and the world continues to be felt as new information is discovered or released from archives. The first edition of “Voices of History, 1941-1945” has been out of print for almost ten years. The second edition, made possible by a grant from the Alberta S. Kimball-Mary L. Anhaltzer Foundation, includes an additional chapter that illustrates some of the Museum’s recent acquisitions related to the Second World War.
“Voices of History, 1941-1945,” a publication of the Oshkosh Public Museum, was the recipient of the Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in 2005. The second edition is now available for purchase at the Museum Store.
Regular hours at the Oshkosh Public Museum, located at 1331 Algoma Boulevard, are Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m.–4:30 p.m. For more information about the Museum’s exciting events and exhibits, visit oshkoshmuseum.org, call 920.236.5799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oshkosh Public Museum is a non-profit regional history museum, entrusted with the care of more than 300,000 collections and historical documents representing the history, culture and heritage of the region. An amazing resource for research and discovery, the Museum is nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Housed in the historic Sawyer home since 1924, the Museum brings history to life through quality exhibitions and special programs, engaging guests in ways that inspire discovery.