World War II changed Virginia forever, reshaping its landscape, reconfiguring its economy, and transforming its people. Where there had been sleepy cities, the war awakened massive development. Where there had been clearly defined paths for women, the war opened new opportunities. Where there had been strict segregation between the races, the war raised questions about such laws and practices. In some respects World War II accelerated changes already underway in Virginia--the naval buildup in Norfolk, for example, began well before 1941.
Virginians participated in nearly every aspect of the war. Its soldiers fought across the Pacific and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 29th Infantry Division. Virginia citizens built aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines, and bombs. Virginians on the coast--men and women--stood guard in watch towers, patrolled beaches, and spotted airplanes. The war came remarkably close to home in 1942 when German U-Boats sunk Allied ships at the opening of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
This site holds the image archive used for the film "Virginia Fights." We have pulled together over 1,600 photographs for the site. Some of these images are from the personal collections of the individuals interviewed for the film. Others are from the National Archives, the Library of Virginia, and other institutions holding World War II Virginia images.
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