The war comes home to southwest Iowa.

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This relatively innocuous aerial photograph presents an anonymous small town – one of thousands across rural America whose inhabitants were fighting overseas. This particular example is that of Red Oak, Iowa.

Dozens of its young men, members of the Iowa National Guard, were called to be part of the 34th Infantry Division. Battles in North Africa, notably that of Kasserine Pass, took their bloody toll, and names of Red Oak causalities are boldly displayed over where they once lived.

Accompanying along the bottom notes a sign of hope – “Instead of having been killed, many of the boys had been taken prisoner. Last week, Red Oak was feeling a little less grim.” A town of 6,000, with 23 missing in action after one battle. A strikingly personal reminder of the soldiers’ physical presence (or absence) and loss suffered by loved ones at home.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1943

Author: Life Magazine

Sheet Width (in): 21.60

Sheet Height (in): 13.90

Condition: A

Condition Description: Two magazine sheets reinforced at the top, bottom, and in the center with museum-quality archival tape. A bit of faint toning and wear along the outer edges, but near fine overall.


1 in stock