Omaha in WWII

Photos courtesy of the Bostwick-Frohardt/KM3TV Photography Collection from The Durham Museum Photo Archive and the John Savage/Osmaha World-Herald Photography Collection from The Durham Museum Photo Archive.

Recycling, scrap drives, rationing, and Victory Gardens became the new reality for Omaha residents during WWII. Citizens rallied to the war effort, enlisting for military service, providing a crucial labor force for war time industry, and establishing methods of homefront war efforts that set the standard for the nation. Beyond the homefront, the name “Omaha” made a significant impact abroad. The USS Omaha patrolled the Atlantic waters, and earned notoriety for capturing a German blockade runner. The Allied invasion of Normandy took place on five beaches, one of these code named “Omaha.” Omaha resident and soldier Gayle Eyler inspired the name of the beach, which was the site of one of the most pivotal battles of the war.

The “Omaha in WWII” website allows visitors to learn the history of the homefront in an engaging environment. Oral histories, conducted specifically for this project, offer viewers a first-hand account of the experiences of Omaha citizens during the war. The site provides a glimpse into the opportunities and challenges presented to minorities, and how they endured racism during this turbulent period. An interactive timeline allows users to compare events in two theaters of operations with homefront happenings. Images, videos, and infographics provide a detailed analysis for the complex motivations that resulted in the bombing of Dundee by the Japanese. The site provides the ability for visitors to contribute their own homefront memories, fostering community engagement to preserve Omaha history for future generations.