Shared Sacrifice – Shared Success:
Milwaukee County During World War II
World War II required a total effort by soldiers and citizens alike. It was no different in Milwaukee County where thousands of men and women served in the armed forces, thousands more worked in war-related industries, and all citizens made sacrifices. This exhibit explores how average Milwaukeeans took up the war effort on the battlefield and the home front, and how their actions affected the war and Milwaukee County. It does not purport to tell extraordinary stories, or glorify war, but rather to demonstrate how even average people were involved in extraordinary activities, made sacrifices that contributed to the war effort, and ultimately shared in victory.
This section utilizes images and artifacts from the service of several Milwaukee soldiers to look at what life was like in the armed services during World War II. Highlighted soldiers include Tracy Hale, Jr., Frieda (née Frank) Luctman, John Stapko, and Sebastian “Pat” Corriere.
Industry and the War Effort
Artifacts, images, and text describe how many Milwaukee industries reconfigured their factories to manufacture goods for the war effort. Highlighted industries include Froemming Bros. Inc., Rexnord Inc. Chain Belt, and Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company.
The Home Front
Through images, artifacts, and text we get a glimpse into how the total war effort affected people at home. Rationing, scrap drives, civil defense, the purchase of war bonds, and volunteer organizations were some of the many ways that the people of Milwaukee contributed to the war.
Gertie the Duck
The story of Gertie the Duck, and her interesting choice to build a nest on a piling next to one of the busiest bridges in the state of Wisconsin, provided a welcome distraction and feel good story for people who were growing weary of the war. Gertie captivated the city, and her story became a nationwide phenomenon in early 1945 as thousands of people followed the exploits of Gertie and her ducklings.