World War II

World War II became the global arena for a titanic struggle for control of the air.

Combat in the air greatly accelerated the development of aeronautical technology and new tactical and strategic roles were found for military aviation. American military aviation alone witnessed tremendous growth, from about 2,500 airplanes to nearly 300,000 by the war's end. 


World War II: The Flying Frontier

This new Google Arts & Culture project explore the pilots, aircraft, and important aviation moments of World War II in commemoration of the the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.

Explore now

"Victory in Japan" Episode of STEM in 30

This episode of our Emmy-nominated webcast for middle school students will explore the events that led to the end of World War II.

Watch now

World War II in Color

Color photography had only just become widely available when World War II began. Existing color images of the war are not hard to come by, but they are considerably rarer than black and white images. The Musuem recently digitized thousands of color photos from the war. Explore a selection on Flickr.

View the photos

Soar Together: Family Activities

This virtual family day, which can be enjoyed anytime, features videos, interactive activities, and digital content about World War II, highlighting the diverse groups and people who helped end the global conflict.

Explore now


Hear first-hand accounts and see archival footage in these WWII lectures and videos.

Read More about


  • lightning on display

    Lockheed P-38 Lightning

  • Horten H IX V3

    Horten Ho 229

  • Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait

    Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait

  • Three-blade propeller on nose of Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft

    Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/R3

  • Overall view of gray and yellow checkered P-51 Mustang aircraft

    North American P-51 Mustang

  • Arado Ar 234 B Blitz at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    Arado Ar 234 B Blitz

  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay

  • Green tri-blade propellered Zero Fighter aircraft against a dark background

    Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen (Zero)

  • Overall, three-qaurter side view of green and blue Spitfire aircraft

    Supermarine Spitfire

  • Side of tan Macchi C.202 Folgore aircraft

    Aeronautica Macchi C.202 Folgore