The travelling panel exhibit, “Over Here and Over There: Georgia and Georgians in World War II” opens October 13, 2014, at the University of West Georgia’s Ingram Library. This exhibit, which is presented by the Ingram Library’s Penelope Melson Society, is free and open to the public and will be on display through December 7.
The exhibit’s two month engagement will also include displays of artifacts from local collectors of World War II memorabilia. Three programs, described below, will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit.
Over Here and Over There commemorates the contribution of Georgia and Georgians to the fight to win World War II, the bloodiest and most globally sweeping conflict in human history. Georgians, along with others throughout the nation, served in multiple ways – as soldiers, as workers producing the materiel needed to wage war, and as citizens implementing patriotic initiatives within their homes and communities. All were “soldiers” bound together in pursuit of “one great cause.”
This exhibit remembers a time like no other in Georgia history when the state was dotted with air fields, air and radar stations, forts, camps, and bases where millions of Americans soldiers were sent to train. As the war progressed, several of these facilities also served as detention camps for German and Italian prisoners of war. During this period of emergency, Georgia’s major industries converted to manufacturing war materiel including ships, airplanes, tanks, bombs, ammunition, tents, uniforms, parachutes, camouflage nets, life rafts, gas masks, and five billion bottles of Coca-Cola expressly for military personnel.
The war entered Georgians’ home and communities, as well. For the first time in the nation’s history the federal government mandated the rationing of foodstuffs, gasoline, metals, rubber, and other goods. Many Georgians responded patriotically, growing their own fruits and vegetables in “Victory Gardens,” helping finance the war by purchasing war bonds, volunteering their time to wartime initiatives, and donating thirteen million pints of blood to the war effort. Children took part as well, participating in metal collections drives in their schools and sending care packages to soldiers overseas.
At the war’s conclusion in 1945, Georgia was left with a legacy of energy production, military training, manufacturing, and improved educational opportunities. World War II ushered the state into the modern era and put it on the road to becoming a major corporate and manufacturing center.
The Ingram Library’s Penelope Melson Society will kick off the programming surrounding the exhibit with <strong>”Swing Time: An Extravaganza of Big Band Music from the World War II Era.” This event featuring live music and dance performances will be held on Friday, October 17, at 7:00 p.m., in UWG’s Campus Center Ballroom. The public is invited to celebrate the music that helped win World War II. There is no admission charge. Period dress is welcome. Click here for more information on World War II styles and make up. Special public parking will be provided.
Charles Chamberlain, a specialist in Southern history and World War II and the author of Victory at Home: Manpower and Race in the American South During World War II will speak on “Mobilizing the Arsenal of Democracy: How Georgia was Transformed Economically and Socially by World War II” on Tuesday, October 28, at 11:00 a.m. at Ingram Library. Dr. Chamberlain will discuss how President Franklin Roosevelt used America’s mobilization for war to raise the standard of living within the American South. Dr. Chamberlain will additionally address how Georgia’s residents, in turn, utilized a variety of strategies to gain economic security and improve their lives. Special public parking will be provided in the Townsend Center gated lot, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Dr. Jennifer Jensen Wallach, Associate Professor of history at the University of North Texas and the author and editor of numerous books on American foodways, will present “Rationing for Victory: Food as a Weapon on the Home Front in World War II” on Tuesday, November 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Ingram Library. Dr. Wallach will discuss rationing and price controls on food during World War II as a strategy for winning the war – its origins, challenges, and the manner in which many Americans came to embrace the concept, seeing themselves as domestic soldiers waging World War II on the home front. Special public parking will be provided in the Townsend Center gated lot, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Over Here and Over There was created by the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia, Dalton State College, and the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University. The exhibit at UWG is supported by the Carroll EMC Foundation, the Georgia Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.
Parking on the UWG campus is unrestricted on Saturdays and Sundays (other than handicapped, reserved, yellow curb, and red curb spaces). For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 839-5337.