World War II

Public Domain / Wikimedia

The Japanese surrender in WWII was official with the signing of the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945. But for Jerry Yellin, the war ended with his last combat mission on August 14th, the same day his wing man, 19-year-old Phil Schlamberg from Brooklyn New York disappeared over Japan.

Yellin, who now lives in Fairfield was a Captain in the Army Air Corps and a fighter pilot who flew a P-51. He says he was never wounded and claims he never thought he would die, but he's still haunted by the deaths of every one of the 16 men lost from his squadron of 32. 

General Dynamics Electric Boat / U.S. Navy

There is a new USS Iowa. The Virginia-class nuclear-power fast-attack submarine was named Wednesday afternoon at Iowa State University’s Memorial Union.  It is the third naval vessel to have this name.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

The Battle of the Bulge ended 70 years ago this month. Iowan George Dane was caught in the middle of it.

During this interview, an Oelwein author talks about her family's fight for survival in Nazi-run Austria during World War II.

Ben Stanton / Iowa Public Radio

When Otty Schmakal left Austria at the beginning of World War II, she left behind her homeland and a fiancé who was training to be a doctor. 

Archives of American Art

While the Nazis were murdering millions of people, they also perpetrated the greatest mass theft in history.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with former Congressman and Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Jim Leach and Director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Sean O'Harrow about that theft, efforts to understand it decades after the fact and efforts to protect priceless artifacts during the war.

John Nakamura Remy /

In 1942, the U.S. Government issued evacuation notices “to all persons of Japanese ancestry.”  In the wake of Pearl Harbor, more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans were forced out of their homes and into internment camps.  In this 'Talk of Iowa' program, Iowa State University Professor Emeritus and author Neil Nakadate talks about his family’s incarceration and his new memoir Looking After Minidoka.

Worcester Art Museum

Winterset is known as the birthplace of John Wayne, but the town also claims real life hero and art conservator George Stout who rescued hundreds of pieces of art work from being destroyed by the Nazi’s during World War Two.  Stout is profiled in the book, Monuments Men, and a film of the same name starring George Clooney, opened this weekend across the country. Winterset Public Library director Nancy Trask says when he was younger George Stout was quite an actor…

In Uniform

Nov 11, 2013

In war or in peace, thousands of Iowans have served in the armed forces.  With both archival audio and original interviews, "In Uniform" honors and remembers Iowa veterans who sacrificed and served the country since the Civil War all the way up to the War on Terror.

Iowa Gold and Wisconsin Heroes

Aug 7, 2013
justinsfpics / Flickr

In 1911 "The Song of Iowa" by S.H.M. Byers became Iowa's official state song.  The lyrics "You asked what land I love the best, Iowa, tis Iowa, The fairest State of all the west, Iowa, O!

Gray Pearl Press

In 1935, seven-year-old Gerhard Loewenberg was on vacation with his family in Italy.  While they were there, they learned that their German citizenship had been revoked because they were Jewish.  Today Loewenberg is a University of Iowa professor emeritus of political science and the former dean of the College of Liberal Arts

"Talk of Iowa" sits down with Loewenberg to talk about the event that changed the course of his and discuss his new memoir "Moved by Politics."

Memories of the USS Iowa

Jul 4, 2012

One of the largest battleships to serve during World War II was the USS Iowa. Now the Iowa has found a place to rest, rather than rust, as a museum in the port of Los Angeles.  On Tuesday she welcomed many of her seamen back home. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks visited the ship to hear their stories.


Sullivan Brothers

May 27, 2011
Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum

On Memorial Day weekend 70 years ago, a large Irish family was at home in eastern Iowa enjoying its last spring together. No one knew that the five Sullivan brothers were bound for history, in a tragedy that would shake the nation in a time of war. Historic audio from 1943-1944.

Khun Ohm

She is named Liberty Belle, a proud B-17 bomber that was built in 1945. The aircraft brings back memories, good and bad, for the veterans who flew them. More than 40,000 men went down in B-17s. Iowa Public Radio strapped in for a ride, in this look back at the Flying Fortress. Historic newsreels are from You Tube, circa 1944. Note: Two years after we did this story, The Liberty Belle was destroyed when she made an emergency landing and burned in a cornfield near Chicago.

The U.S.S. Iowa

Sep 4, 2008
USS Iowa Veterans Association

Sounds from 1945 to 1991, from around the world. The USS Iowa was the first of the mighty "Iowa Class" battleships that projected America's global military power for more than a half century. Their potent, 16-inch guns made them the greatest fighting ship of all time. She opened as a museum in 2012 at the Port of Los Angeles. Historic sound from the State Historical Society and You Tube.

"The Greatest Generation" includes the veterans who fought World War II as well as the reporters who covered their harrowing stories. One of them was WHO Radio's Herb Plambeck, who left behind a treasure of historic recordings. The original reports, broadcast across Iowa, are held by the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting at Wartburg College in Waverly. Sounds from March-May, 1945, with the U.S. Army in Europe.