Tattooed on My Soul: Texas Veterans Remember World War II

Tattooed on My Soul: Texas Veterans Remember World War II

Tattooed on My Soul: Texas Veterans Remember World War II

Tattooed on My Soul: Texas Veterans Remember World War II


For more than forty years the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University has dutifully gathered the flesh-and-blood memories of the World War II generation in the state of Texas.

Tattooed on My Soul brings together seventeen of the most compelling narratives from Baylor's extensive collection of more than five thousand interviews. Taken together, these selections provide an authentic and powerful mosaic of those critical years and offer intimate glimpses into the reality and meaning of the war for those who fought it. For them, World War II is more than history. And when they tell their stories, it becomes more than facts and dates, victories and defeats for those who listen.

Representing a cross-section of Texas' population and a wide range of wartime assignments, these recollections reveal the personal perspectives on many events and figures of World War II. On land, in air, and by sea, in the Pacific and in Europe, they fought for America's future. With the clear ring of authenticity and a surprising immediacy, even after all these years, their stories make a global war personal.


On World War II

World war ii was a watershed in us and world history. the conflict dramatically affected the cultural, political, and economic fabric of society at home and abroad. Changes brought by the war were the impetus for major movements to come, from domestic social reform via the civil rights movement to global diplomacy through the United Nations. Its political wake generated the international standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union known as the Cold War. Domestically the war enhanced the role and power of the federal government. Federal spending reached levels inconceivable even during FDR’s Depression-era relief efforts. and the high production and employment of the war years did much more than kick-start a sluggish economy. Consumerism and suburbanization boomed, for the most part, throughout the remainder of the century. For the first time the nation enjoyed a middle-class majority. the war provided unprecedented opportunities for women as well as for Hispanics and African Americans. There was a significant shift in population, from the rural center to urbanized industrial areas near the coasts, particularly in California. Despite combat deaths and the rigors of wartime, the overall health of the nation improved considerably. the birthrate rose quickly, the death rate declined sharply, and median life expectancy increased by five years. Virtually no facet of American life was untouched by the war.

This volume, however, does not focus on global political power struggles, reformed economic landscapes, or national demographic shifts. the precise manner in which the war was prosecuted against the Axis is not to be found in these pages. Rather they contain personal stories telling how the events of World War ii were made manifest in the living of a life. Those who speak here represent the more than 16 million men and 250,000 women who served in the us military from 1941 to 1945. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they lived to tell others what they experienced. Oral history offered a vehicle for these individuals to record, preserve, and share their experiences during war.

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