The War: Nebraska Stories
3 of 12

Reactions at Home:
Nebraskans Pitch In


Cornhusker Ordnance Plant, near Grand Island, NE, circa 1940s.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG0809-47-01
"Of course, there was the big ordnance (bombs and ammunition) plant in Grand Island and the one in Hastings . . . . I’ll never forget that because they had a lot of people working there. . . . There was something about the powder they worked in out there that turned their skin kind of yellowish-green, and their hair a kind of yellowish-green. . . . Some of the weirdest looking colored hairdos would come in there."
—Fred Merriman
Loup City Chief Clerk
Sherman County
Rationing Office

Because Nebraska was so far away from the coasts (and the enemies), the U.S. government found it a reasonably safe place to build defense factories. One of those factories, the Cornhusker Ordnance Plant, just outside of Grand Island, not only helped the war effort, but created jobs for Nebraskans, especially women.

The Cornhusker Ordnance Plant became a little town in and of itself.
From NET Television’s 2003 news series Statewide. An NET Television’s THE WAR: NEBRASKA STORIES interstitial. Courtesy 2007 NET Foundation for Television

Only men were drafted during World War II. Although many women served in the military, if a U.S. female wanted to pitch in for the war effort, often she had to do it back home.

Several North Platte women found a creative way
to help the troops with the Start of the North Platte Canteen.
From NET Television’s 2005 program The Canteen Spirit. An NET Television’s THE WAR: NEBRASKA STORIES interstitial. Courtesy 2007 NET Foundation for Television

Located in the North Platte train depot, the North Platte Canteen provided food, magazines, and entertainment to over 3,000 soldiers every day of the war.

Even though the war kept Mothers and Sons far apart,
the North Platte Canteen provided a way for strangers to feel at home,
if just during a ten-minute train stop.
From NET Television’s 2005 program The Canteen Spirit. An NET Television’s THE WAR: NEBRASKA STORIES interstitial. Courtesy 2007 NET Foundation for Television


teacher activities button
previous button   next button
 
print page button