The history of military activity in the U.S. is closely tied to the development of the country as a whole, and it is impossible to understand the nation without knowing about its military engagements. The past century has seen some of the biggest conflicts in human history, and the most incredible advancements in the technology of war as well, and the U.S. has changed profoundly because of this.
A big part of our mission here at MilitaryOnlineColleges.org is to provide information to those who have served in the military and are moving into a different phase of their lives by pursuing higher education. However, we know it is important never to forget the lessons of our military past, or the servicemembers who have participated in America’s significant military history. This list is not a ranking of these sites, merely an index of some of the most informative sites and articles covering many aspects of the American Military during the 20th century and early parts of the 21st.
World War I, often referred to as “The Great War,” was a war of unprecedented scale in global history. Though the primary battlefields were in Europe, many Americans died in WWI. The war led to a great deal of political restructuring and revolutions in participating countries.
An excellent World War I resource that shares collections of maps from various parts of the world where major battles were fought. These high quality maps and symbols are laid out in chronological order based on battles fought, and are a great addition to the study of World War I.
The National War I Museum is based out of Kansas City and exists to educate the public about the Great War. Their research center contains 75,000 archival documents and 8,000 titles and their historical exhibitions change regularly to highlight battles, individuals, or other moments.
Honoring The Past — Research Center
Many historians are fascinated with the history of the U-boat in military efforts. This site focuses entirely on this military boat, including the boats and their histories and fates, the men who manned the boats, the allies, and a gallery. Check out the forum, too!
Honoring The Past — U-boats Today
You might think that there are a terminal number of World War aircraft, but this site continues to add photos and information to delight readers. Some information includes various hangars, air shows, and museum information if you’d like to visit the exhibits.
Honoring The Past — Army Hangar
The Aviation Institute of Maintenance offers information about amazing projects conducted by students. Currently, they are working on a WWI Sopwith Strutter aircraft, averaging about six students per day on the effort.
Honoring The Past — Sopwith Strutter progress at AIM Atlanta
The American Battle Monuments Commission provides an invaluable service by listing memorials dedicated to World War I as well as other wars during the twentieth century. Search for 116,516 American individuals by name or by state or cemetery for World War I.
Honoring The Past — Other Burial Listings
This site offers a great service to historians and to genealogists who cannot visit World War military cemeteries in other countries. The site contains photographs of all 940 cemeteries in France and Belgium, plus regular updates of cemeteries around the world.
Honoring The Past — France Index
Comprised completely of images and photos from World War I, this gallery is home to hundreds of pieces of visual history. All now public domains, images are searchable by a number of categories, such as War in the Skies, Commanders, Weapons and Equipment, and Heads of State.
Honoring The Past — Troops
If you need documents to cite for your paper or book, you can gain access to an extraordinary array of papers at this site. You have free access to American and European treaties, official papers, diaries, and more, including a community portal.
Honoring The Past — Conventions and Treaties
This site about the Great War of 1914-1918 is a personal effort among Joanna Legg, Graham Parker, and David Legg. Twenty members of their families served in the armed forces during that time, and four remain buried in France.
Honoring The Past — WW1 Remembrance Projects
A collection of links, this site serves as an extensive collection of documents from World War I. Primarily organized by year, this site includes not only information about battles, commanders, and countries, but also art, poetry, and other cultural information from that era.
Dedicated to the story of World War I aviation, this site shares the history of planes used in battle, as well as the history of early flight in the US. As planes helped create a “modern” war like World War I, their history is extremely important.
Honoring The Past — Early Development
This site explains many of the traditions of the Army, as well as helps Veterans locate other veterans and obtain personnel records. They also feature special information and resources monthly, such as Remembering 9/11 and Hispanic Americans in the US Army.
Honoring The Past — Force Structure and Unit History
This site is a complete history of World War I. With biographies, a photography and art gallery, maps, media, a user forum, and more, this is a useful and important resource.
Honoring The Past — Reference Library
At the beginning of War I and onward, women began to play an integral role in the military – volunteering with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the Signal Corps. Their service was crucial to the success of wartime efforts, and this site highlights their contributions.
Honoring The Past — Nurses
First World War is a multimedia presentation of the history of World War I, including videos, photos, and vintage radio segments. Also available are posters, poems, and memoirs.
Honoring The Past — Prose and Poetry
The historical significance of World War II cannot be overstated. It is one of the harshest memories not only in American military history, but in the military history of many, many nations across the globe.
The aim of this site is to offer useful and interesting facts and figures about World War II, catalogued in an organized and helpful way. Currently, the site has hundreds of pictures, maps, book reviews, weapon and vehicle models, historical documents, timeline entries, and biographies.
Honoring The Past — Events
This National Security Archive site offers primary sources dedicated to the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. The site includes photographs, documents, publications, and other offerings that can help with understanding the foundation for the impending Cold War and other twentieth-century military operations.
Honoring The Past — Guide for Researchers
Dedicated to two important battles fought during World War II, this site shares a 2 hour long video that goes into detail regarding these battles as shared from professors and experts in this area. There are related links on the page for continued study.
Honoring The Past — The role of New York in World War II
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force offers a great resource online for their on-the-ground exhibits. Look for specific aircraft, learn about Pacific Theater and European Theater exhibits, and explore related links from this site.
Honoring The Past — News and Events
The National Museum of Pacific War exists to honor the veterans involved in foreign wars. This site shares the mission and history of the museum, as well historical information about these wars, such as a photo gallery.
Honoring The Past — Our Story
This site is a great tribute and resource for all vehicles used in World War II – the planes and tanks that fought in the battles, the vehicles that transported the wounded, and those that came in with supplies. They even have a feature where users can search pictures and information by country.
Honoring The Past — Australia’s Vehicle History
The 509th Composite Group was created to plan and execute the deployment of the first atomic bomb. This site is dedicated to sharing the history of the plane, the Enola Gay, that delivered that bomb and the crew and mission that helped to end the war.
Honoring The Past — 509th remembered
Settle down to read some great essays on operations during World War II, including writings about strategies, battles, weapons, intelligence, military theory, and leaders during that war. This war advanced both military weapons and intelligence dramatically over any previous intercontinental wars.
Honoring The Past — World War 2 Submarines
Tons of military weapons sites are online, but Panzerworld is special because it focuses on tanks, among other weapons such as armor and artillery. The author updates this site regularly, so be sure to bookmark it for new photos and information.
Honoring The Past — Armor and Artillery
If you have questions about American aircraft used during World War II, this site might hold the answers. Search for aircraft by name, manufacturer, or type and function, or merely browse through the hundreds of photos and stats available at this site.
This site’s ambitious project is to provide a daily edited review of World War II news. The author hand-picks each article with criteria that the source is reliable, unique, contains photos, or provides the best insight possible on any given topic.
Honoring The Past — WWII Ruins and Bunkers in the US
Support Ships of WWII features historically accurate portrayals of many of the naval craft that supported the allied military forces during WWII, including detailed descriptions and historic photographs.
Honoring The Past — USS Dixie AD-14
This site, along with the Truman Presidential Museum and Library, offers audio transcripts of memories from World War II from the home front and at the war front. These transcripts are part of the University of Missouri System, and include collections from the Marr Sound Archives.
Honoring The Past — Topic Index
Learn more about the German U-Boats, especially in Atlantic Ocean battles. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest battle of the Second World War, providing plenty of opportunity for Germans to use their U-boats against Britain’s merchant marine.
Honoring The Past — U-Boat Weapons
At the beginning of the Second World War, the Japanese Navy was, arguably, the most powerful navy in the world. This site details the Japanese war weapons, ships, and stories that show how this navy engaged with the U.S. during that war.
Honoring The Past — Mysteries of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The California State Military Museum offers details about how this state engaged in the Second World War, including stories about rumors, events, and news that affected the outcome of events. This link is just one page in a series of pages about California’s role in the war, including information about submarine mine defense in San Francisco Bay.
Honoring The Past — Submarine Mine Defense of San Francisco Bay
The author of this site is focused on developing an online tribute to the men of all navies who served on World War II ships. Stories from veterans who were on these ships may accompany some of the photos that range across more than 425 pages. Use the “Ships Sunk” search to find information on 13,000 ships sunk during that war.
Honoring The Past — Experiences of War
This site details a particular perspective on the consequences of nuclear war, including “before and after” photographs from the City of Hiroshima. The photographs are disturbing, and the emphasis is on the personal damage that occurs to civilians during the course of this objective.
Honoring The Past — History of High-Alert Nuclear Weapons
Displaced Persons’ Camps is a personal effort to detail all the camps that developed from twentieth-century wars. While the most notorious camps — those in Germany — are listed, you also can find information about Austrian, Italian, Egyptian, and other camps at this site.
Honoring The Past — Displaced Persons in the Czech Republic
This site serves as a “digital museum” of artifacts from World War II. Many links are provided which each have a story – images of items left behind, found, or collected from the many battle sites of the war. Some links share information about collections of items that are now held owned by individuals in private collection.
Honoring The Past — Battlefield Relics
The Manhattan Project Heritage Preservation Association works to preserve the history of the Manhattan Project. They do this through multi-fold effort, such as sharing links that help users understand the history, maintaining a message board, encouraging the peaceful use of atomic energy and working diligently to connect with veterans and their families.
Honoring The Past — Digital Library
This World War II page is a thorough examination of World War II. Links include everything from battles and casualty statistics to quotes, poems, pictures, flags, and aircraft.
Honoring The Past — Trivia
Acknowledging that science and technology changed the landscape and outcome of World War II, this site takes users through an extensive timeline of how new and important technology was used throughout the war. They also have a small collection of images from war in the categories of radar, equipment, meteorology, medicine and health, and more.
Honoring The Past — Virtual Field Trip
This database takes uses on a year by year tour of World War II. Each year includes important battles, places, and people while the site also includes other WWII topics – like the Holocaust and treatment of POW – and list of movies about WWII.
Honoring The Past — WWII Virtual Radio
Since the Allies were not the only nations involved in World War II, this site was built to share the history and politics of the other nations involved in the War – the Axis nations. With information such as which countries were involved, their campaigns, equipment, war crimes, and generals, this is a great resource for World War II research.
Honoring The Past — Germany and Austria
This extensive library exists to preserve the history of World War II. Researchers can browse pictures, videos, veteran statements and interviews, and wartime periodicals, as well as over 8,000 books.
Honoring The Past — Videos
This site shares the specific history of Wisconsin veterans of World War II. It is also shares the history of how Wisconsin industries were changed during wartime, turning out ships and materials.
Honoring The Past — Military and Home Fronts
The American public consciousness was affected profoundly throughout the fifties and sixties by the Vietnam War and the Korean War. Political ideology and the fear of communism were strongly present, and American’s were divided about whether it was appropriate to participate in these conflicts in far off lands. The repercussions of these conflicts affect American conversations about war to this day, and will continue to for the foreseeable future.
It might be difficult today to realize the total destruction and casualties involved during the Vietnam War. This site, hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, provides a no-holds-barred look at artifacts, information, and stories that emerged from that era.
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center offers contributions to American history, including military history. This particular link offers information about the Fall of Saigon, which occurred on April 30, 1975. Be sure to explore the other amazing exhibits and initiatives offered by this institution.
Honoring The Past — Initiatives
The Center for the Study of the Korean War offers an invaluable resource about a war that is rarely understood. In fact, you can learn that the Korean War really has never ended, and that it is a factor in contemporary American policy.
Honoring The Past — Fast Facts
The Korean War’s 60th Anniversary was held this past summer, 2013, and honored with a special website that asked for oral histories, and shared news about commemorations. Often referred to as “The Forgotten War,” the purpose of this site is to help honor the service, commemorate their efforts, and educate the public.
Honoring The Past — Overview of the Korean War
Providing a very in depth look at the battle and strategy logistics of the beginning of the Korean war, this site examines this lesser talked about war in great detail. A collection of links support and organize their research.
Honoring The Past — Supplies
The Korean War project is an extensive site dedicated to the veterans and families of veterans of the Korean war. Here, they can find unit pages, health information, POW/MIA information, and an extensive historical database.
Honoring The Past — Finding the Families
When conducting history research or writing papers about 20th-century military endeavors, it might help to look at various perspectives about military topics. This Canadian site brings to light Canada’s participation in wars from the South African War to the present, with a special focus on the Korean War.
Honoring The Past — 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
This site focuses on one event within the Vietnam War to cover the details in full. The Battle of Kontum as experienced by one soldier who participated in that event is documented here, so that Americans can learn more about a battle that was mostly unheard of during the early 1970s.
Honoring The Past — Battle Summary
If you ever need information about the Military Police who participated in the Vietnam War, this site contains what you may need. The author, Jim Stewart, served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968, and also worked there as a civilian for two years.
Honoring The Past — War Dogs
For a different perspective of the Vietnam War, try using the perspective of women who served as nurses during that war. This site focuses solely on military nurses who served in Vietnam, including photos, memorials, and a helpful locater service.
Honoring The Past — Photo Tours
This site shares the history of the US Navy creating a waterboats to help fight and patrol the rivers that make up much of the southern half of Vietnam. With history about particular boats, call signals, medals, and even when boats were used in certain battles, this is an excellent and interesting resource for those interested in Vietnam.
Honoring The Past — Call signs
This website serves as a tie in with the Vietnam memoir “We Were Soldiers once…and Young”. The site documents research that meant into the book, as well as some of the in-depth history of the battles mentioned in the book and Vietnam as a whole.
Honoring The Past — Battle Timeline
This page is run by a Vietnam veteran and a highly useful collection of resources about Vietnam history, veterans, books, and more. Links to his own books are also available.
Air Mobility Command Museum is where old airplanes go for the public to explore. They have over a dozen planes from almost every era of combat, as well as exhibits about refueling and engines.
Honoring The Past — Education
The Korean War Museum is based out of Illinois and has plans to be moved to NYC. The museum is filled with tributes to veterans and representations of battles, while their virtual museum, launching in late 2013, will offer photos of major artifacts, museum pieces and maps.
Honoring The Past — History of the Korean War
With special emphasis on the role the Navy played in the Korean conflict, this site shares names of planes and ships used in battles and operations, as well as tactical information and timelines. Additionally, the site offers interesting facts about the history of Korea, and the time between World War II and the Korean War.
Honoring The Past — Ships at Sea
This site lists over 650 books written about the Vietnam war. Users are able to search by key word, as well as recently published or by publisher.
Honoring The Past — Recent
A site exclusively dedicated to the weapons of war, here a user can find the history of nearly every gun, ship, cannon, and tank used in battle. Users can search by category, going all the way back to very old weaponry used in ancient wars.
Honoring The Past — Kaga Aircraft Carrier
The American Military has participated in many conflicts in the Middle East over the past several decades, and there are still troops stationed all over the region, coping with internal regional conflicts as well as international rivalry.
All ships that served in the U.S. Navy are special, especially to the men who served on those ships…but some ships get a certain notoriety based upon their services. The USS Missouri was the first to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi targets at the beginning of Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Honoring The Past — The Ship
The National Desert Storm War Memorial is an effort to obtain a memorial to honor the men and women who served and sacrificed beginning in 1990. You can find information about this war, including a history, a blog, special events, and a Facebook page connected to this effort at this site.
Honoring The Past — About the National Desert Storm Memorial
Modern Warfare – Iran/Iraq 1980-1988 is a 37-minute documentary that details the weapons used in various attacks. The highlights include the Iraqi blitzkrieg on seven Iranian cities to the “Fountain of Blood,” where nerve agents and mustard gas were used to obliterate thousands of individuals.
This site provides a brief history of the F-14 and its use in combat. Through that, the site also provides a very cursory glance at the wars in Libya and Iraq and highlights the F-14′s use there.
The Margaret Thatcher Foundation offers a transcript of Thatcher’s statement on the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986. But, don’t stop here…the site also contains many other artifacts of the Thatcher era, offering insight into an ally’s perspective during the 20th century.
Honoring The Past — Multimedia
The editor of “Armed Forces Journal,” Bradley Peniston, offers his insights on defense news and history. He also created Military.com, which became the first online-only publication granted a Pentagon press pass.
Honoring The Past — Around the World with the U.S. Navy
Some 20th-century military sites focus on a particular event in military history, such as Operation Nimble Archer. This 1987 event is displayed at this site, where the U.S. utilized four destroyers to exact retribution for Iran’s previous attack on a Kuwaiti supertanker under U.S. protection.
A resource for all veterans for all Gulf Wars, the National Gulf War Resource Center works tirelessly to address the health and safety issues of those who have returned from wars in Iraq. They publish information on VA health care, treatment for mental and physical illness, and even information on current action being taken for Veterans in Washington
Honoring The Past — VA Health Care Myths
The mission of the GWVRP is to share health related information to veterans of the Persian Gulf War. The site offers a self-help guide, referral network, and regular announcements.
Honoring The Past — What’s New
The past century has seen unprecedented development of military technology, from the invention of the Atom bomb during WWII, to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct surveillance and launch bombs throughout the middle east. Though the future may contain a completely different military landscape that needs to be navigated, remembering the lessons of past wars will always be crucial.
This government-run website works to share the history and current news of the Department of Defense for the US. With military service news, a Pentagon station, a Veterans job bank, and other military videos and websites, they are a key resource in military history.
Honoring The Past — News
DARPA’s mission is to maintain U.S. military superiority by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research that bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and military use. This support also offers new technologies that can change civilian life.
Honoring The Past — Military Services
The Air Force Historical Studies Office offers a wide variety of resources about the full history of the U.S. Air Force, including articles about wars and operations, technology, enlistment practices, and other aspects of the force that have changed throughout history, and continue to play a significant role in the U.S. military.
Honoring The Past — FAQs
This site contains a comprehensive history of the United States Coast Guard. With artifacts from photography to a personnel file to a missions list, it severs as a great research tool for this long standing branch of United States security.
Honoring The Past — FAQ
The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a standing tribute to all U.S. Marines. This site enables visitors to plan a visit, but it also offers ways to experience the entire museum from your personal computer.
Honoring The Past — News and Events
In 1962, the U.S. and the Soviet Union brought the entire world to the brink of nuclear war. Learning from that experience, this site explores those thirteen fateful days, and how we can use that crisis to avoid future catastrophes.
Honoring The Past — The Lost Art of Compromise: Sustaining American Security in the 21st Century
The USS Midway Museum is held at sea – right on the USS Midway itself. The exhibits on the ship include flight simulators, music videos, films, and much more.
Honoring The Past — Exhibits
The Center for Contemporary Conflict works in the area of the current affairs and safety. Their research focuses on studying resources in the US and abroad, preventing and studying terrorism, and helping to create US strategy.
Honoring The Past — Research
The Crile Archives at the Cuyahoga Community College maintains an amazing collection of digital records focused on veterans’ battlefield and home front experiences. The collections document the U.S. medical and emotional involvement in wars of the 20th and 21st centuries, including photographs of Crile General Hospital, which is located on the college grounds.
Honoring The Past — Collections
The Armed Forces History Museum is a great place to visit to learn more about the U.S. role in 20th-century warfare. Their online presence offers a blog, education, and a section on military history. This organization is one of the largest non-government funded museums in the southeast.
Honoring The Past — Military History
The Society for Military History is the “intellectual home for military historians worldwide.” This site is followed by over 2,300 members, including many of the nation’s most prominent scholars, soldiers, and citizens who are interested in military history.
Honoring The Past — For Graduate Students
The Air Force Historical Foundation is a member organization that promotes the preservation and appreciation of the history of the U.S. Air Force. This organization also focuses on all components of the Air Force, including the active force, the Reserve, the Air National Guard, the civilian force, retirees, and all family members.
Honoring The Past — Air Power History
The Boxer Rebellion in 1900 is one of the key military battles that occurred during the dawn of the 20th century; yet, little is known about U.S. participation in this event. This site explores that war as well as many other wars during the twentieth century.
Honoring The Past — Pictures, Maps, and Charts
A son of a military man started this site to honor home front workers during wars of the twentieth century. Although the focus is on British experiences, any American can relate to the stories as the two countries were allies during most 20th-century wars.
Honoring The Past — Gallery
All World Wars covers an array of topics found in many other military sites, but the content is very different. For instance, under “Military Research,” you can find writing about German tactics in 1918 and information about “V-Weapons,” or the crossbow campaign.
Honoring The Past — Photo Interpreter’s Guide to Japanese Military Installations 1945
Olive-Drab offers an exciting fifteen hundred pages of military photos and information resources, and more information is added monthly. A directory and a site search option makes finding information easy among the thousands of entries.
Honoring The Past — Olive-Drab.com Military Directory
The Aeragon site examines how military technology impacts current civilian life. For instance, the computer grew from military technology as well as many articles of clothing, building styles, and air transportation. The author provides an unbiased look at how military technologies transformed to civilian use throughout the twentieth century.
Honoring The Past — Ordnance
This site provides 20th and 21st century stats on the numbers of people who have died in military conflicts that are easy to access and use. The site also offers information about modern genocides.
Honoring The Past — The worst genocides of the 20th and 21st Centuries
The Civilian Military Intelligence Group provides updated discussions about military history, strategy, and soldiers throughout history. There is a larger focus on the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, along with an index on stories about the Vietnam era.
Honoring The Past — Photo Of Jimmy Hendrix, 101 Airborne, US Army Ranger.
Muskets and longbows have their place in history — this site focuses on military equipment of the 20th century and the sorry fate of armies that didn’t evolve. One story details the sad fate of the Danish army against the Germans in 1864, and how that defeat resulted in a bayonet that became a world favorite among military weapons.
Honoring The Past — Danish M/1867 Remington bayonet – second pattern (1885)
How in the world did the U.S. get involved in a war in China in 1900? Learn more about U.S. involvement in the Boxer Rebellion at this link, as well as much more information about U.S. diplomatic history.
Honoring The Past — Political Parties & U.S. Foreign Policy
The Veteran’s Museum is an interesting and important project – it has a listing of information for every war that the United States has ever been involved in. From the Revolutionary War to the China Relief Expedition to the wars in Iraq, this site catalogues the branches involved, the history of the battles, and more.
Honoring The Past — War of 1812
This site takes you chronologically through the invasion of Grenada and examines the reasons for the United States involvement. With pictures, quotes, maps, and material from the time, it proves a well-documented and interesting historical site.
Sharing a detailed operational and political history of the Grenada invasion of 1983, this page is a good starting point for those not very familiar with this part of history. It shares countries and units involved, time tables, and other pertinent information.
The Urgent Fury Website shares the story of Army Ranger and their involvement in the invasion of Grenada. The site includes video, personal profile stories, and pictures from the operation.
Honoring The Past — Pics
The First Division Museum works to present and preserve the history of the 1st Infantry Division of the Army and their presence throughout wars in history. They have a military library, military archives and other research collections.
Honoring The Past — Online Collections
Since the late 1970s, The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation has worked to honor the long history of the Marines. Their site presents information and programs for both Marines and civilians.
Honoring The Past — Heritage Center
The Marine Corps Gazette features both current and historic information about the participation of the Marine Corps in military operations, and the development of the Corps into the elite military establishment it stands as today.
Honoring The Past — The Boxer Rebellion
SOC acknowledges the special operations missions of the United States military. Users can find out about recruiting, missions, intelligence, exercises, weapons, and more.
Honoring The Past — Special Operations