In this oil painting, Thomas Hart Benton shows New York's major role as an embarking point for troops and supplies. The canvas is based on sketched Benton made in Brooklyn in 1942, when the first American troops were leaving for Africa. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
NEW YORK—A new exhibition at the New York Historical Society illuminates how the New York metropolitan region and its citizens contributed to the Allied victory in World War II.
The war, which lasted from 1939 to 1945, profoundly impacted New York.
Beginning in 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, New York became a hub of war activities. Workers in the city did everything from shipbuilding at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to uniform manufacturing at Brooks Brothers.
The 1942 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was called off because of the war. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
By the end of the war, New York Harbor had seen 63 million tons of supplies exported to war-torn regions and 3.3 million men leave for deployment. At the busiest times, a ship left every 15 minutes, according to the society.
A massive affair, the exhibition features more than 400 images and objects such as maps, posters, and short films.
Four sections are presented: “New York Before Pearl Harbor” from 1933 to 1941; “The New York Home Front” from 1942 to 1945; “Going to War” from 1942 to 1945; and “Victory and Loss” in 1945.
The exhibition runs through May 27, 2013.
The historical society, which is located at 170 Central Park West, is open Tuesday through Sunday. Visit wwii.nyhistory.org for more information.
World War II increased traffic in Penn Station 80 percent between 1941 and 1942, as soldiers arrived in the city from across the nation and then left for North Africa and Europe. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
Women volunteers, formally known as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, stayed fit through the same fitness regimens the Navy went through, although they did not go into combat. Here women are seen at the training center at Hunter College (now Lehman College) in the Bronx. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
This 1942 poster depicts "the sense of fear and urgency that descended upon the city after Pearl Harbor," according to the historical society. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
After the passage of the Lend-Lease bill, enabling the U.S. to supply the Allies, New York was a major war material port. Pictured are some of the nearly 100 British, Dutch, and Norwegian merchant ships passing through New York harbor on Sept. 9, 1941. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
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