The Home Front Around the State

A collection of short news stories from around the state of North Dakota describes the headline-making news from 1941-1945.

Crary, N.D.
February 6, 1942

People have organized a Victory Club. The VC will present a talent program later this month to raise money for the armed forces.

A North Dakota paper drive for the war effort. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

Fort Berthold Reservation, N.D.
February 13, 1942

The Mandan tribe has held a ceremony for Lincoln’s birthday. To honor the men who have left the reservation to serve in the armed forces, war songs were sung as tokens of bravery for them.

Valley City, N.D.
October 6, 1942

Valley City State Teachers College has canceled homecoming events so that students can assist with the harvest.

Grand Forks, N.D.
October 30, 1942

The University of North Dakota football team has received national attention for its help with the sugar beet harvest. Life, Time, and Newsweek have carried the story.

Cavalier, N.D.
November 1, 1942

Pembina County has received a pennant for its performance in the last scrap drive. Residents led the state with the collection of 100 pounds of scrap per capita.

The results of Fargo’s 1942 scrap metal drive. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

Devils Lake, N.D.
November 25, 1942

Residents have surpassed their goal of collecting 895 tons of scrap metal in the recent drive. They delivered 3,024 tons that included the 700-pound capstan from historic boat, Minnie H, and the Civil War cannon from the Ramsey County fairgrounds.

Litchville, N.D.
December 15, 1942

The test air raid blackout has been labeled a success. Two flashlight-size bulbs at the elevator and light from a coal stove reflected through the crack on a window shade. Officials warned, however, “Just a few seconds of relaxation could have cost the lives of many people if it happened during a real raid.”

Williston, N.D.
January 1, 1942

Soldiers are now here protecting the bridge which crosses the Missouri River, guarding against sabotage.

Missouri River bridge guarded against sabotage. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (Farm Security Administration).

Cavalier, N.D.
January 4, 1943

The Victory Corps has been well organized at the high school. It is a national program for students to train them for war service after graduation and to give them an opportunity to take an active part in the community’s war effort. Victory Corps students must take part in a physical fitness program, military drills, and civil defense work. More than 100 students are in the program.

Neche, N.D.
May 3, 1943

Since March 15, Pembina County students have been participating in the “Buy a Jeep” program through the sales of war stamps and bonds. A Jeep costs $900. The Neche school raised enough to buy 41 Jeeps. The entire county accounted for 69 Jeeps, far above expectations.

Fargo, N.D.
June 3, 1943

WDAY is airing a dramatic new radio program, “Food For All,” on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The government program stresses ways to produce and conserve food.

Bowman, N.D.
July 22, 1943

The county agent reports that 32 ranchers and farmers have taken part in a class that deals with emergency repairs on machinery. They have learned how to fix almost anything.

Valley City, N.D.
September 7, 1943

Company C of the 817th Tank Destroyer Battalion from Camp Phillips, Kansas, has been stationed here to assist with the harvest. The soldiers organized a gala event to choose a Wheat Queen. From 14 contestants, they selected Rose Busche of this town.

Jamestown, N.D.
September 24, 1943

More than 3,000 people have seen the inside of a Japanese suicide submarine during its four-hour exhibition. The event has pushed war bond sales over the top.

Fort Totten Reservation, N.D.
December 15, 1943

Christine Jerome is the first Indian woman from North Dakota to join the Women’s Army Corps.

Minot, N.D.
February 14, 1944

The Red Cross has announced the local women have knitted 90 army sleeveless sweaters, 40 army helmets, 55 navy sweaters, 35 army rifle mitts, and 20 pair of army socks. The items will be shipped to and distributed from St. Louis.

Devil Lake, N.D.
August 30, 1944

A blood plasma drive at the Elks Lodge provided 140 pints of blood. “Blood plasma supply is almost as important as is the gasoline supply in winning the war,” according to the state health official who is in charge of the drive.

Fargo, N.D.
October 15, 1944

Formed in 1943 as part of the Emergency Labor Program, the Women’s Land Army (WLA) places its workers in areas where farmers urgently need help. Administered in North Dakota by the Agricultural College’s extension service, WLA workers have been brought into the Red River Valley to assist with the potato harvest. The extension service reports that six women just finished picking 775,000 pounds of potatoes.

Hastings, N.D.
November 14, 1944

The quota of $3,200 in war bond sales for this community has been surpassed by $900—with more to come in. The Sixth War Loan drive has been successful throughout the state.

War bond and stamp promotion in Fargo. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

Valley City, N.D.
February 1, 1945

Local cafes have announced “meatless” Wednesdays due to shortages of meat on the ration program.

Bismarck, N.D.
May 7, 1945

Governor Fred Aandahl has declared a statewide observance of V-E Day that marks the end of the war in Europe. In most towns businesses will close for a day of thanksgiving.

Valley City, N.D.
August 4, 1945

The Gamble Store is displaying a brand-new washing machine in front of its building, the first since March 1, 1942. Women stop to look and ooh and ahh.

Everywhere, N.D.
August 14, 1945

Word of the Japanese surrender has been met with wild jubilation throughout the state. Tomorrow has been set aside as a day of celebration and meditation. Communities and their churches have planned day-long meetings and services.

By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton


Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Grade Level

3-5, 7-12

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change

Related Links

“’You Have Been Kind Enough to Assist Me': Herman Stern's Personal Crusade to Help German Jews, 1932-1941"
By Terry L. Shoptaugh, North Dakota History, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Fall 1997), pp. 2-15.