The Good War

In The Good War Terkel presents the good, the bad, and the ugly memories of World War II from a perspective of forty years of after the events. No matter how gruesome the memories are, relatively few of the interviewees said they would have been better off without the experience. It was a central and formative experience in their lives. Although 400,000 Americans perished, the United States itself was not attacked again after Pearl Harbor, the economy grew, and there was a new sense of world power that invigorated the country. Some women and African Americans experienced new freedoms in the post war society, but good life after World War II was tarnished by the threat of nuclear war.

Terkel quotes from interviewees in the introduction of The Good War:

"We were in a tribal sort of situation [in the army], where we could help each other without fear. I realized that it was the absence of phony standards that created the thing I loved about the army."

"This neighbor told me that what we needed was a damn good war, and we'd solve our agricultural problems. And I said, 'Yes, but I'd hate to pay for it with my son. Which we did.' He weeps. 'It's too much of a price to pay.'"

"The war was fun for America. I'm not talking about the poor souls who lost sons and daughters. But for the rest of us, the war was a hell of a good time."

"The war changed our whole idea of how we wanted to live when we got back. We set our sights pretty high. All of us wanted better levels of living."

"Ours was the only country among the combatants in World War Two that was neither invaded not bombed. Ours were the only cities not blasted to rubble."

"World War Two has warped our view of how we look at things today. We see things in terms of that war, which in a sense was a good war. But the twisted memory of it encourages the men of my generation to be willing, almost eager, to use military force anywhere in the world."

"It was one war that many who would have resisted 'your other wars' supported enthusiastically. It was a 'just war,' if there is any such animal. In a time of nuclear weaponry, it is the language of a lunatic."

Copyright © 1997 "The Good War": An Oral History of World War II. Reprinted by permission of The New Press.

The Good War Recordings 35 records returned


    
Interview with Lowell Steward and Colonel Gleed - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0g7-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Lowell Steward and Colonel Edward C. Gleed, African American Army Air Corps fighter pilots during World War II.
Keywords: Steward, Lowell, Gleed, Colonel, African American air pilots, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Racism, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Steward, Lowell
Gleed, Colonel

Search Again

Interview with Lowell Steward and Colonel Gleed - Part 2
File Name: terkel-a0a0g8-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Lowell Steward and Colonel Edward C. Gleed, African American Army Air Corps fighter pilots during World War II.
Keywords: Steward, Lowell, Gleed, Colonel, African American air pilots, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Racism, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Steward, Lowell
Gleed, Colonel

Search Again

Interview with Lowell Steward and Colonel Gleed - Part 3
File Name: terkel-a0a0g9-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Lowell Steward and Colonel Edward C. Gleed, African American Army Air Corps fighter pilots during World War II.
Keywords: Steward, Lowell, Gleed, Colonel, African American air pilots, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Racism, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Steward, Lowell
Gleed, Colonel

Search Again

Interview with Lowell Steward and Colonel Gleed - Part 4
File Name: terkel-a0a0h0-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Lowell Steward and Colonel Edward C. Gleed, African American Army Air Corps fighter pilots during World War II.
Keywords: Steward, Lowell, Gleed, Colonel, African American air pilots, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Racism, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Steward, Lowell
Gleed, Colonel

Search Again

Interview with Dellie Hahne and Sarah Killingsworth - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0h1-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Dellie Hahne, a music teacher, and Sarah Killingsworth, a domestic worker, about their experiences during World War II.
Keywords: Hahne, Dellie, Killingsworth, Sarah, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, War bride, Lost innocence
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Hahne, Dellie
Killingsworth, Sarah

Search Again

Interview with Dellie Hahne and Sarah Killingsworth - Part 2
File Name: terkel-a0a0h2-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Dellie Hahne, a music teacher, and Sarah Killingsworth, a domestic worker, about their experiences during World War II.
Keywords: Hahne, Dellie, Killingsworth, Sarah, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, War bride, Lost innocence
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Hahne, Dellie
Killingsworth, Sarah

Search Again

Interview with Dellie Hahne and Sarah Killingsworth - Part 3
File Name: terkel-a0a0h3-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Dellie Hahne, a music teacher, and Sarah Killingsworth, a domestic worker, about their experiences during World War II.
Keywords: Hahne, Dellie, Killingsworth, Sarah, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, War bride, Lost innocence
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Hahne, Dellie
Killingsworth, Sarah

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Polowsky - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0h4-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Chicago taxicab driver Joseph Polowsky, who as a young U. S. Army Private in World War II, was one of the first American soldiers to cross the Elbe River into Germany and come face-to-face with his counterparts in the Red Army.
Keywords: Polowski, Joseph, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Victory, Remorse
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Polowski, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0h5-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 2
File Name: terkel-a0a0h6-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 3
File Name: terkel-a0a0h7-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 4
File Name: terkel-a0a0h8-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 5
File Name: terkel-a0a0h9-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 6
File Name: terkel-a0a0i0-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Nora Watson - Part 7
File Name: terkel-a0a0i1-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Nora Watson about reminiscences of World War II and post-World War II life.
Keywords: Watson, Nora, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, the bomb
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Watson, Nora

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0i2-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Segregation, Racism
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 2
File Name: terkel-a0a0i3-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives., Segregation, Racism
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 3
File Name: terkel-a0a0i4-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Segregation
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 4
File Name: terkel-a0a0i5-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Segregation, Racism
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 6
File Name: terkel-a0a0i6-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Segregation, Racism
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 7
File Name: terkel-a0a0i7-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Segregation, Racism
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0i8-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge, Eugene B. Sledge, a U.S. Marine Corps combat infantryman in the Pacific during world War II.
Keywords: Sledge, Eugene. B. (Sledgehammer), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Sledge, E.B. (Sledgehammer)

Search Again

Interview with E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge - Part 2
File Name: terkel-a0a0i9-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge, Eugene B. Sledge, a U.S. Marine Corps combat infantryman in the Pacific during world War II.
Keywords: Sledge, Eugene. B. (Sledgehammer), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Sledge, E.B. (Sledgehammer)

Search Again

Interview with E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge - Part 3
File Name: terkel-a0a0j0-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge, Eugene B. Sledge, a U.S. Marine Corps combat infantryman in the Pacific during world War II.
Keywords: Sledge, Eugene. B. (Sledgehammer), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Sledge, E.B. (Sledgehammer)

Search Again

Interview with E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge - Part 4
File Name: terkel-a0a0j1-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge, Eugene B. Sledge, a U.S. Marine Corps combat infantryman in the Pacific during world War II.
Keywords: Sledge, Eugene. B. (Sledgehammer), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Sledge, E.B. (Sledgehammer)

Search Again

Interview with E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge - Part 5
File Name: terkel-a0a0j2-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge, Eugene B. Sledge, a U.S. Marine Corps combat infantryman in the Pacific during world War II.
Keywords: Sledge, Eugene. B. (Sledgehammer), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Sledge, E.B. (Sledgehammer)

Search Again

Interview with E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge - Part 6
File Name: terkel-a0a0j3-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing E. B. (Sledgehammer) Sledge, Eugene B. Sledge, a U.S. Marine Corps combat infantryman in the Pacific during world War II.
Keywords: Sledge, Eugene. B. (Sledgehammer), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Camaraderie
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Sledge, E.B. (Sledgehammer)

Search Again

Interview with Richard M. (Red) Prendergast - Part 1
File Name: terkel-a0a0j4-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Richard M. (Red) Prendergast, a U. S. Army infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Keywords: Prendergast, Richard M., (Red Predergast), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Defeat
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Prendergast, Richard M. (Red)

Search Again

Interview with Richard M. (Red) Prendergast - Part 2
File Name: terkel-a0a0j5-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Richard M. (Red) Prendergast, a U. S. Army infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Keywords: Prendergast, Richard M., (Red Predergast), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Defeat
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Prendergast, Richard M. (Red)

Search Again

Interview with Richard M. (Red) Prendergast - Part 3
File Name: terkel-a0a0j6-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Richard M. (Red) Prendergast, a U. S. Army infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Keywords: Prendergast, Richard M., (Red Predergast), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Defeat
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Prendergast, Richard M. (Red)

Search Again

Interview with Richard M. (Red) Prendergast - Part 4
File Name: terkel-a0a0j7-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Richard M. (Red) Prendergast, a U. S. Army infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Keywords: Prendergast, Richard M., (Red Predergast), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Defeat
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Prendergast, Richard M. (Red)

Search Again

Interview with Richard M. (Red) Prendergast - Part 5
File Name: terkel-a0a0j8-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Richard M. (Red) Prendergast, a U. S. Army infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Keywords: Prendergast, Richard M., (Red Predergast), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Defeat
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Prendergast, Richard M. (Red)

Search Again

Interview with Richard M. (Red) Prendergast - Part 6
File Name: terkel-a0a0j9-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Richard M. (Red) Prendergast, a U. S. Army infantryman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
Keywords: Prendergast, Richard M., (Red Predergast), World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Defeat
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Prendergast, Richard M. (Red)

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Polowski
File Name: terkel-a0a0r4-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Chicago taxicab driver Joseph Polowsky, who as a young U. S. Army Private in World War II, was one of the first American soldiers to cross the Elbe River into Germany and come face-to-face with his counterparts in the Red Army.
Keywords: Polowski, Joseph, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Victory, Remorse
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Polowski, Joseph

Search Again

Interview with Joseph Small - Part 5
File Name: terkel-a0a0r5-a.mp3
Date: November 30th, 1999
Summary: Interviewing Joseph Small, an African American U. S. Navy seaman and munitions handler during World War II.
Keywords: Small, Joseph, African Americans, World War, 1939-1945, Personal narratives, Segregation, Racism
Interviewer(s): Terkel, Studs
Interviewee(s): Small, Joseph

Search Again


HomeIntroductionBiographyGalleries: The Studs Terkel Program, Division Street, Hard Times, The Good War, Race, Talking to Myself, Greatest HitsEducation ResourcesChicago History MuseumSearchSite MapMultimedia InterviewStuds' 90th BirthdayStuds' 100th BirthdayDownloads

Created with support from the National Science Foundation

Copyright © 2002 Chicago History Museum
Web Site Credits