A rare glimpse into the life of sailors on the home front and how we know….
Have you heard the popular retort from the 1940s, “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?”
During the Second World War, naval commandants wrote diary entries about major events in their commands. The subordinate officers submitted reports to their commandants who typed up “war diaries” for the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations. The War Diaries were official U.S. Navy records, to be examined post-war as a source for histories of the various Navy commands.
But whose decided what was important enough to write down?
The answer, of course, was everybody. And everybody had a different view of the same experience. So the entries in War Diaries varied from one commanding officer to the next, and from one command to the next. A hand-written desk diary kept by the Commandants of the U.S. Naval Training Station at Great Lakes shows how different people viewed the exact same place and experience in vastly…
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