Children and World War II

For many children, World War II was the defining experience of their lives. It bred a sense of patriotism and an intense consciousness of being a member of a distinct generation, set apart from those that came before or since. For most children, the war years were a time of anxiety. For many, this was a period of family separation. For some, it was a time of profound personal loss.

War infected children’s play and their imaginations. It had a powerful effect on the rhymes they told, the games they played, and the movies they watched.

Many children had to grow up quickly during wartime. Many teenagers (itself a new word) left school early to take jobs. Many younger children had to fend for themselves while their mothers worked. Meanwhile, families migrated in record numbers away from farms in the Midwest and big cities in the Northeast to the West and Gulf Coasts, and children had to adjust to new schools and make new friends.

Read the documents in the sections above and analyze the impact of World War II on children’s attitudes and everyday experiences.

Copyright Digital History 2016