World War II

Reporter Ashley Ahearn dug into the Northwest history of the B-17 bomber with her father, Joe Ahearn, Jr.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

There’s an old photograph in my father’s office that I’ve always wondered about. In it my grandfather and nine other young airmen stand in front of their B-17 plane, shoulders squared, staring proudly at the camera. They were probably in England at the time, getting ready to fly bombing raids over Germany in 1943.

Share Your Family Connection To World War II

Sep 27, 2015

In a recent story, KUOW Ashley Ahearn reports on the making of the B-17 bomber in Seattle – and the women who moved here to work on Boeing’s production lines.

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Henry Chamberlain looks at mementos from World War II. He spent three and a half years as a prisoner of the Japanese.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

In 1945 President Harry Truman declared Sept. 2 as Victory Over Japan Day. Japan surrendered aboard the USS Missouri. It was the official end of World War II.

But the suffering wasn't over for Henry Chamberlain, who had been captured on the Philippines' Bataan Peninsula more than three years before.

Georgie, age 35, wearing her favorite Christmas earrings.
Courtesy Georgie Bright Kunkel

When World War II came, millions of women joined the fight – not on the front lines but doing the vital work of building weapons to defeat the Axis powers. Georgie Bright Kunkel was one of them.

“It was a life-changing event,” she told KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel about the experiences that American women had by the time the war formally ended Sept. 2, 1945.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle; All Rights Reserved

As World War II came to a dramatic end 70 years ago on Aug. 14, the role that the Northwest played in the conflict was fully revealed in the aftermath of the atomic bombing in Japan.

In a much-anticipated speech, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his "profound grief" and "sincere condolences" for his country's role in World War II.

But the leader stopped short of renewing apologies extended by his predecessors, and he said he doesn't want future generations to be "predestined to apologize" for the war.

The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets.

But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit.

"Should it be a city? Should it be a military installation? Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Seven Pacific Northwest veterans of World War II leave for Tokyo Thursday. They're carrying 70 captured Japanese flags to return for the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Japan's Mitsubishi corporation is making a big apology. It's not for any recall or defect in its products, which include automobiles, but for its use of American prisoners of war as forced labor during World War II.

James Murphy, 94, traveled from his home in Santa Maria, Calif., to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, where a ceremony was held and Hikaru Kimura, a senior Mitsubishi executive, made the apology in person.

Living witnesses to the forced relocation of West Coast Japanese-Americans during World War II are growing fewer every year. Many who were incarcerated are in their 80s and 90s now.

An 89-year-old man accused of aiding the killing of 216,000 Jews as a Nazi camp guard at the concentration camp located in Auschwitz, Poland, during World War II, has been arrested in Philadelphia.

Johann "Hans" Breyer, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1952, was arrested by U.S. authorities Tuesday night. He is being held without bail.

The Associated Press says:

Brian Payton's book "The Wind Is Not A River."

Steve Scher talks with author Brian Payton about his new book "The Wind Is Not A River." The story is about the Japanese occupation of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska during World War II.

More than 70 years ago Wednesday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that led to the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Louise Steinman's book "The Crooked Mirror."

"Do they miss us?”

That was the question on Louise Steinman’s mind  when she decided to travel to Poland and explore the country’s efforts at reconciliation with their traumatic past of dual occupations of the Nazis and Soviets.