The World Wars

Decorated war heroes, daring aviators, an influential cabinet member, a hidden city and passionate patriotism are all part of Tennessee's wartime history. June 1941 saw Major General George S. Patton conduct armored maneuvers in Middle Tennessee.

True to the nickname of the "Volunteer State," Tennesseans supported World War II through the armed services and in their home front activities. Tennesseans flexed to adjust to a long war. Encouraged by President Roosevelt's radio "fireside chats," they purchased rationed food, collected scrap metals and tires. Families and communities planted Victory gardens, living with shortages of gasoline, meat, shoes and more. Tennesseans invested in war bonds and practiced for blackouts during air raid drills. Women's clubs knitted sweaters and socks, produced soldiers' kits and rolled bandages for Red Cross. Communities fed, housed and entertained soldiers. Young and old listened to the swing sound of the big bands.

Tennessee industry, as well as its cities, suburbs, and universities, experienced rapid growth in the immediate postwar years. World War II, as a total war, had touched nearly all Tennesseans' lives, and the economic expansion brought about by the war would continue to have an impact on the state in the years to come.