This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy. Memorial services for the war’s causalities are taking place around the world. These services commemorate the dead and also attest to the scope and ferocity of the Second World War. Those who liberated concentration camps felt it was of utmost importance to ensure that this history was kept alive.
In the early morning of April 11th 1945, the Third Armored Division, specifically Task Force Welborn from the north and Task Force Loveday from the south, led the capture of what they thought was a prisoner-of-war camp. After a few light skirmishes the nearby town of Nordhausen (in Northern-Central Germany) was secured. Once Nordhausen was seized 3AD units investigated rumors of a prisoner camp on the outskirts of the town. First person accounts note the bewilderment and nausea that the soldiers experienced upon finding the concentration camp. James D. Mathews recounted his own experiences: Continue reading “Remembering Dora-Mittelbau”→
February 7 is the release of George Clooney’s The Monuments Men–a story of men and women locating, protecting, and saving art, monuments, and archives during World War II. The University of Illinois’ own Dr. Edwin Carter Rae was a Monument Man, and his story can be found in the University Archives.
A Glimpse of the lives of American soldiers constructed with materials of the 3rdArmored Division Archives, housed at the University of Illinois Archives Research Center.
Experiencing WWII from the inside of a M4 Sherman tank was famously dangerous. Henry J. Earl retells his experience with the Sherman in a 1983 letter to Lt Colonel Haynes Dugan, one of the G-2 intelligence officers for the 3rd Armored Division. Continue reading “A Poor Defense: Sherman tanks in WW2”→
Wallace Trabue Hembrough, Jr., native of Jacksonville, Illinois, attended the University of Illinois as a student in the College of Agriculture from 1940 through 1943. As a freshman, he joined Alpha Gamma Rho, a social-professional agriculture fraternity. He was also a member of Pershing Rifles, a military fraternal organization for college-level students, during his first two years at the University. Continue reading “Wallace Hembrough”→