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Alabama and World War II

Oral interviews: Have students interview someone who served in World War II, who worked in a defense industry, or who had some other interesting war-time experience. Many veterans are pleased to be asked to reminisce about their experiences. Be sure to have students ask their permission if the student wishes to tape record the interview. The interview should then be transcribed so that a hard copy is available. The interview could be used as a primary source for a paper, and the student should considering donating the interview to a local library.

Field trips: Some parts of former military bases can still be seen. Fort Rucker and Maxwell Air Force base are still active bases that have numerous historical markers and statues. Fort Rucker also has a small Army Aviation Museum. The old runways and some World War II buildings are intact at Craig Field in Selma, Napier Field in Dothan, and Moton Field at Tuskegee. The Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, and the Naval Air Museum at Pensacola are worth visits. There are several sites in Mobile and Baldwin County. The Battleship Alabama Memorial Park is especially noteworthy. Visitors can roam throughout the USS Alabama, launched in 1942, which fought in both the Atlantic and Pacific campaigns. A World War II-era submarine, USS Drum, is moored nearby, and several warplanes are on display on the park grounds and in a small museum. Runways and hangars at Brookley Field are now occupied by private businesses. The former Alabama Drydock and Shipping Company facilities, still used for ship repairs, can be seen from an access road on Pinto Island. The remnants of Gulf Shipbuilding's yard at Chickasaw also continues to do some repair work. Fort Morgan in Baldwin County was activated during the war to guard Mobile Bay's entrance and as headquarters for the mounted Coast Guardsmen who protected the beaches from possible Axis saboteurs.

Films: Hollywood has produced numerous World War II film classics, many of which are available on video. It should be remembered that war films normally contain violence and often deal with mature themes.

Subjects for research papers: In addition to the usual subjects for papers (military campaigns, heroes, weapons and technology), many topics can be found closer to home. Besides interviewing relatives or neighbors who lived during World War II, hometown newspapers or popular magazines from that era offer numerous possibilities.