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Experiencing the War

World War II was the most widespread war in history, spanning much of the globe. More than 70 million people lost their lives, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. Ken Burn' PBS series "The War" tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four quintessentially American towns.

The price of Iwo Jima. 1945. Americans suffer when careless talk kills./Harry Anderson. 1943.

As a companion piece, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project has produced a Web site for "The War." The site guides viewers through each episode of the documentary, detailing historic events through the individual perspective of hundreds of veterans who experienced World War II and contributed their recollections to the Veterans History Project archives within the American Folklife Center. Visitors can select stories according to theme, follow the film episodes or browse the entire Veterans History Project database. The site showcases interviews, photographs, memoirs, diaries and letters dating from Pearl Harbor to V-E and V-J Day—all culled from the more than 50,000 stories in its collections.

The site is part of an agreement and massive national effort by the Library of Congress, PBS and Burns to capture the hundreds of thousands of stories of men and women who experienced war firsthand. While the film series "The War" provides an intimate view of a few individuals, the Veterans History Project serves as the repository for the tens of thousands of oral histories that together document the full scope of America's wartime experience.

The Library offers countless other resources on World War II, including maps and documentary photographs of the home front. Both of these presentations are part of the Library's American Memory collection. A general search on "World War II" within the collection reveals a much larger representation of the Library's resources on the subject. Also, searching the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog for "world war 1939-1945 posters" will uncover pages and pages of digitized poster art from the Second World War.

A. The price of Iwo Jima. 1945. Prints and Photographs Division. SUMMARY: Photograph shows the Fifth Marine Division cemetery where some of the 4,189 U.S. Marines killed during the battle of Iwo Jima are buried. An American flag at half-mast in tribute to the late Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mount Suribachi are in the background. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-132799 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: NYWTS - SUBJ/GEOG--War--European II--Battles--Iwo Jima [item] [P&P]

B. Americans suffer when careless talk kills./Harry Anderson. 1943. Prints and Photographs Division. SUMMARY: Man with arm around weeping woman, who is holding Western Union telegram, and banner a with blue star is behind them. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC4-2753 (color film copy transparency); Call No.: POS - WWII - US .J75 1943 (A size) [P&P]