World War II

Fifteen-year-old Jay Mehta took first place this summer in the National History Day competition for his depiction of Winston Churchill. Steve Kraske asks the Pembroke Hill student why the English Prime Minister inspired him, and what it took to channel his persona. 

The Truman Library hosts the regional History Day contest. Teachers can get involved by sending an e-mail to Mark Adams at

Colonel Bob Moore, Commemorative Air Force (CAF)

During World War II, 18-year-old Mary White spent her days soldering wiring on the instrument panels of B-25 Mitchell bombers at North American Aviation in Fairfax, Kansas. A true Rosie the Riveter, White never thought of it as a sacrifice — it was her duty to her country. She also never thought she would be recognized for her work, certainly not 70 years later.

Simon & Schuster

They came by the thousands from around the country to work on a project so secret, the town where they worked couldn’t be found on any map. We’ll hear about The Girls of Atomic City, also known as Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and their contributions to the building of the atomic bomb.


Denise Kiernan is the author of The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story Of The Women Who Helped Win World War II.

70 years later, we catch up with Kansas City's own Riveter Rosies--the women behind the manufacturing of the aircrafts taken to battle in WWII. 

During World War II, the noses and tails of airplanes often were painted with cartoon characters, topless women or even some geographical landmarks. A history professor explains the meaning and stories behind those iconic designs.

LIbrary of Congress/Google Images -- CC

During World War II, the Hollywood Canteen in Los Angeles was a famous nightclub where civilian hostesses danced with Allied soldiers of all races. It was an oasis during a time of segregation — or was it? KU professor Sherrie Tucker interviewed people who frequented the club and heard about their different — and sometimes contradictory — experiences on the dance floor.


Jennifer Teege was strolling through her local library in Hamburg, Germany when she happened upon a book about the daughter of a brutal Nazi commandant—and recognized her mother's picture. Her life was turned upside down as she learned more about her infamous grandfather. It resulted in her recently released book, My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers her Family’s Nazi Past.

Prison chaplains provide service for many souls, but what happens when your congregation is made up of the men who served under Adolf Hitler? The book Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis pieces together the life of Henry Gerecke, the U.S. Army chaplain given one of the most controversial assignments following World War II.  Guest

  • Tim Townsend​, editor at Timeline and author of Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis


  Tanks and ammo certainly played a big part in winning World War II, but the Pacific theater had another large asset—elephants.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the man who led these animals against the Axis powers and the bond he developed with these surprisingly gentle giants.


Vicki Constantine Croke, author of Elephant Company

They fought on the beaches, in the air, on the sea... and on film. World War II made an indelible mark on pop culture, and it's especially evident on the silver screen.

1940 was a pivotal year for Kansas City. Tom Pendergast’s rule through corruption and debauchery had crumbled, leaving the new local government to reform a city hungry for jazz and liquor.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we examine how Kansas City was different in the World War II era. On the way, we take a look at how the “Paris of the Plains” changed from a den of iniquity to the city we know today.


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and The James A. Reeds Family

They were a group of soldiers with something in common — a knowledge of art and how to preserve it.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the Monuments Men, a special division from the Allied forces during World War II who braved the battlefields to save priceless art and architecture from the ravages of war.

Omaha, Juno, Utah, Gold and Sword. The names of the Normandy beaches echo in the annals of World War II history, but the iconic invasion wasn’t the last step of the European campaign.