Nebraska and World War II
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Uncle Sam Wants You!

Great Seal of the United States
Great Seal of the United States.
Courtesy U.S. Government, Public Domain

The Selective Training and Service Act — the draft — became law on September 16, 1940. The first registration of men between the ages of 24 and 35 took place on October 16, 1940. One hundred and thirty-five boards were organized across the state of Nebraska to determine the procedures for selecting men to serve in the military. The first national lottery to determine which men would be drafted into the military and when was held in November, and 123 Nebraskans were among those selected. Over one million men were to serve in the army for at least one year.

Following the declaration of war, military recruiting stations across Nebraska were deluged with volunteers. Nebraska sent 139,754 men and women to war. They served in every branch of the service; 5,278 were wounded and 3,839 were killed.

"The war was a thrill. Most of the people wanted to be in the war, believe it or not, because at that time it was the thing. What the country does — it’s a horrible thing to say — but what the country does is they get everybody all worked up. You hated the Japanese. You hated the Germans. So it’s a hate trip that they put you on. It’s just the same thing you have today with prejudice. It’s a hate trip. They’d say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to hate that man.’ If they can get you to do this, you’ll do anything."
     — Bob Boyte, Lincoln High school student.
         He later served on the USS Ticonderoga, Pacific Theater.
Some World War II Medal of Honor recipients
are in the Nebraska Hall of Fame
.
Find about all its members.
Nebraska Hall of Fame button

For More Information within Nebraska Studies:
The War: Nebraska Stories — Reactions at Home: War Changes Everything
The War: Nebraska Stories — Combat: Over There
The War: Nebraska Stories — Combat: Loved Ones Lost
The War: Nebraska Stories — Minority Experiences: African Americans
The War: Nebraska Stories — Minority Experiences: Mexican Americans
The War: Nebraska Stories — Minority Experiences: Japanese Americans
The War: Nebraska Stories — The Horrors of War: Concentration Camps
The War: Nebraska Stories — The Horrors of War: Revenge, Justice, Forgiveness
The War: Nebraska Stories — The Atom bomb: Japan Surrenders

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