World War Two

Dave Crawforth / Preservation Idaho

Every year, the nonprofit group Preservation Idaho puts on its Heritage Home Tour, spotlighting unique neighborhoods around Boise. This Sunday’s 15th annual tour takes us to the Randolph Robertson neighborhood on the Bench.

Diana Landa

An Idaho woman said she discovered a Nazi explosive as she was helping her parents clean out their shed.

Diana Landa identified the artifact by a Nazi insignia and the year 1938 etched on the bottom of it. It still had a propellant on it, she said.

Landa's parents have lived in their Meridian home for 25 years. They said they hardly used the old shed they cleaned out last week. They have no idea where the explosive came from and how it got there.

Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

Sunday was the Day of Remembrance. Each year, organizers look back at a dark period of history in the American West - the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War Two. Monday Idaho remembers the role it played in this history.

February 19, 1942 marks the date President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese people to be interned in the U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Close to 117,000 Japanese Americans were segregated into government camps, including at the Minidoka center in Idaho. There 10,000 people were held for three years during the war.

Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans / Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University

Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Executive Order that authorized the internment of Japanese people in America during World War II.

Two months after Pearl Harbor, the order relocated 117,000 Japanese Americans into camps. Idaho’s Minidoka site housed 10,000 Japanese for three years. Once the war was over, no one wanted to talk about the internment.

Photo provided by family via Richard Bennett

On this Veterans Day, veterans of World War II are disappearing at a rapid rate. Many veterans of that era never talked about their wartime experiences and came back from the war to live otherwise ordinary lives.

Richard Bennett is a freelance writer who grew up in Mountain Home after World War II. What he didn’t know then was how many of the men who lived in his small town had gone off to war. It wasn’t until much later, as he began to research their history, that he learned about the contributions they had made during that period.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

One Meridian high school student will be spending Memorial Day researching a World War II soldier from Idaho. He’s looking for help from the community to remember a soldier who died in Normandy.

Josh White is a sophomore at Renaissance High School. He and his teacher Janelle Gilson are taking part in a national program designed to teach students about World War II.

White is researching the life of Army Technician Fourth Grade Ray O. Coffey. He’s learned a few things from census and military records, but can’t find a lot about Coffey’s life in Boise.

This interview for Reader's Corner was originally broadcast in December of 2013:

In the summer of 1936 the world was transfixed by the grandeur of the Olympic Games in Berlin, and by a determined group of young Americans. In front of high-ranking Nazi officials, including Adolf Hitler, they overcame impossible odds to snatch victory from both the German and Italian crews in the Games’ signature rowing event.

This Reader's Corner interview originally was broadcast in July of 2013

When President Franklin Roosevelt selected mild-mannered University of Chicago history professor William Dodd to serve as America’s ambassador to Nazi Germany in 1933, neither man had an inkling of the coming terror. In fact, Dodd accepted the post in part because he believed his light duties would allow him time to complete his exhaustive history of the American South.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In June 1944, Robert Haga was on board the USS Chickadee in the waters off of Normandy. Now, a Boise resident, Haga is one of the D-Day veterans featured in a new NOVA special on PBS, "D-Day’s Sunken Secrets."

In the program, a team of experts explores the sea beds along the coastline of Normandy from above and below the water, inviting veterans like Haga along for the journey.

Isabelle Selby

When we spoke to Idaho author Anthony Doerr in 2010 about his award winning book "Memory Wall," we asked him what his next novel would be about. 

“It’s about radio of all things,” Doerr answered. “It’s about the power of radio. I’m just trying to bring a reader back to that time when it was still kind of a miracle to hear the voice of a stranger in your home.”

During World War II, a small group of British and American scientists worked tirelessly to defeat the German U-boats that were wreaking havoc on allied commerce. Armed with a dogged determination and a fair amount of mathematics, physics and probability theory, they forged the new field of operational research and forever changed how wars were fought and won.

John Burns / Crew members of the USS Medrick AMc 203

Life aboard a minesweeper in World War II was dangerous duty. The boats swept harbors and coastline for the deadly underwater mines planted by Germany and Japan.  Two men, who now live in Idaho, were part of the U.S. Navy’s minesweeping fleet.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

During World War Two, a popular song called "Rosie the Riveter" turned female assembly workers into icons. Women filled in at places like the Boeing airplane factory in Seattle and the Kaiser shipyards in Portland while the men went off to war. But one famous guitar company allegedly tried to hide the fact that it was using female replacements to keep making its musical instruments.