Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

K'Meyer, Tracy Elaine


Children and war; World War, 1939-1945--Kentucky--Louisville; World War, 1939-1945--Indiana--Madison; Girls--Indiana--Madison; Girls--Kentucky--Louisville


This thesis presents the view of World War II, a watershed event in U.S. history, through the lenses of a group that is not normally called upon, that of young children. The war was viewed by and affected young girls differently than others. Granted, some aspects of the war affected all people in a similar fashion, regardless of age and gender. This study, however, focuses on girls born between the years of 1929 and 1936, with the goal of describing the experience of children in two communities by determining what factors do and do not affect that experience and thereby contributing to our knowledge of the war's impact in the Ohio River Valley. Based on oral histories of three women who grew up in Louisville and three women who grew up in Madison during the war, supplemented by secondary literature on children and war along with local newspaper sources, it is apparent the changes World War II brought to the cities of Louisville, Kentucky, and Madison, Indiana, affected the lives of young girls growing up in both these areas similarly. The changes the war brought to the lives of the six girls did not vary greatly due to the size of their urban or rural city. Instead, the determining factors appear to be the girls' young age and middle to lower class status. Regardless of the size of their cities, the girls experienced whatever location they were in as a smaller community because their age and social status limited their mobility and childhood experiences. These factors, as opposed to size of location, caused these six girls to be similarly affected by WWII concerning industrial changes, childhood activities, and personal households. The WWII era stories of these girls thus suggest a potential pattern in how children experience major national events.