On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, motivating the United States to join the Allied Forces in their struggle against Japan, Germany, and Italy. Texans responded to the call for troops in great numbers, and after four long years of war, Texas had supplied a greater percentage of men and women to the armed forces than any other state.
While thousands fought on foreign battlefields, others played vital roles within Texas’s borders. Fair climate, bountiful resources, and a central location made Texas an ideal setting for wartime facilities. Military posts sprang up statewide to accommodate the constant stream of recruits, and industrial plants developed rapidly to support the war effort. As a result, Texas beef, petroleum products, medical supplies, weapons, and equipment made a difference overseas.
The World War II Project
The Texas in World War II initiative was a multi-year statewide effort to honor the role of Texas during the war. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) launched the grant-funded initiative (supported by the FTHC) on September 2, 2005, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Components of the project included Vignettes of Wartime Texas (21 special historical markers), a Texas in World War II heritage tourism travel brochure, a series of 30 regional oral history training workshops entitled Here and There: Recollections of Texas in World War II, the eventual enhancement of the THC’s World War II webpage, and a comprehensive statewide survey of World War II military and home front sites beginning in 2008.
The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg is now a State Historic Site of the Texas Historical Commission and is managed by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation.