Selected Websites with Primary Sources on the Second World War

Websites with Primary Sources

 

For an extensive Webography on World War II with several websites that offer primary document collections, go here.

 

Institution: Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom

Created by scholars at Birkbeck, University of London with support from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, this site offers users a range of essays, documents, and resources on the Nazi concentration camps. Delving into the history of the camps before the Holocaust, the project seeks to discover the origins of the wartime practice of the Final Solution through the examination of three themes: regime policies and the links between terror, state, and society; conditions within the camps including the lives of various groups and their interactions; and, finally, the relationship between the camps and the German population as a whole. Documents are divided into thematic sections and are available both as digitized images of the German original and in English translations.

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Institution: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries

Established at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project aims to document women's service in the military and related services—including the Red Cross and other civilian organizations—beginning with World War I. The digital collections include a wide range of primary source material, including photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, oral histories, as well as physical artifacts from all of the period's wars, including World War II. Continuing to undertake acquisition and educational outreach, the project is working to study ongoing changes in the American military as gender integration becomes increasingly common in the armed forces. Site materials are searchable and browsable by war, branch, type of source, and by date.

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Institution: German Historical Institute, Washington D.C.

Initiated by the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, German History in Documents and Images provides primary sources on German history dating back to the early modern period. The collection is divided into thematic sections, each curated by scholars, framed by introductory essays, and accompanied by primary sources (including English–language sources), as well as maps and images. Subjects include government and administration, military, economics, gender and family, and more. Materials are text-searchable and fully translated. This website includes also a very informative section on Nazi Germany, the Second World War and the Holocaust.

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Institution: Gale, Farmington Hills, MI

Offering users access to more than 25,000 pages of documents dating from the years between 1944 and 1949, this collection concentrates on the investigation and prosecution of the war crimes of Nazi commanders and personnel in concentration camps. Among the materials are correspondence, legal documents, trial transcripts, interrogation reports, exhibit materials, clemency processes, photographs, newspaper clippings, and more. The materials cover a range of concentration and death camps from Mauthausen and Dachau to Treblinka and Sobibor, as well as several sub-camps. Including English-language documents, an introductory essay, and full searchability, the archives are accessible by a subscription, which may be held by your research library.

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Institution: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has extensive collections of photographs, documents, oral histories, and other source materials on the Holocaust and genocide. Many are presented on its website, which users can search and browse according to a range of categories. It also includes online exhibitions and thematic collections, as well as guides to collections unavailable online. The site also offers a range of language options beyond English. It also offers an extensive and searchable Holocaust Encyclopedia.

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Institution: Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford CA

Documenting the wartime viewpoints and diverse political sentiments of the twentieth century, the Poster Collection has more than one hundred thousand posters from around the world and continues to grow. Some 33 thousand are available online. Posters from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia/Soviet Union, and France predominate, though items from more than eighty countries are included. Additional posters can be found in various individual archival collections. Posters are searchable by keyword, artist, agency, transcription, description, as well as by country of origin.

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Institution: The National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD

Hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration, this site is an online version of an extensive exhibit at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., from May 1994 to February 1995. Its emphasis is on posters used to persuade, and includes related primary source material from official manuals and other sources on the U.S. Government's strategy to mobilize public support for the war effort, including popular songs and sayings from the era of World War II. The comparatively small number of posters are arranged into thematic collections, which are provided with brief explanations. Individual posters can be readily viewed in higher resolution versions. A few other sources, including audio files of popular songs are also included.

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Institution: BBC, London, United Kingdom

A series of short films ranging from a few minutes up to a full hour, this collection and accompanying website document the personal testimonies of witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust, with a particular emphasis on the realities of life and death in the camps, as well as the legacy of the Final Solution. The collection also includes materials conveying a sense of the shock felt by the liberators and how the atrocities were revealed by broadcasters in the UK.

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Institution: Christopher Newport University, Trible Library, Newport News, VA

This website by the library of Christopher Newport University provides a plethora of primary and secondary sources on World War II and the Holocaust organized by the main countries involved in the conflict and different types of primary source material, including movies, newspapers, propaganda, arts & culture as well as autobiographical accounts.

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Institution: PBS, Florentine Films and the Veterans History Project

This website offers a plethora of primary and secondary sources on World War II and accompanies the documentary by the same name, produced by PBS and Florentine Films and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. These producers partnered with the Veterans History Project in a massive effort to capture the stories of men and women who experienced the war firsthand. It includes a Timeline, Eyewitness Accounts from the battle and the home front, and several other resources. For the related documentary series, see under Documentaries.

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