The Great Plains During World War II

The Home Front

Home Defense

When the war began, Civilian Defense Committees organized in the towns across the Great Plains. The Omaha World Herald reminded readers that, "If you see the whites of their eyes, then it will be too late to start preparing for civilian defense." Civil defense committees organized to plan for an enemy attack. These organizations developed air raid warning systems, placed spotters in the nearby countryside to warn about the approach of enemy aircraft, and coordinate fire fighting and evacuations plans.

Civil air patrol until also organized across the Great Plains. The Civil Aeronautics Authority provided pilot training courses across the Great Plains. At the University of Nebraska women were allocated 10 percent of the seats. The men and women who enrolled in this program received fifty hours of flight instruction and a private pilot's license upon completion of the course. This training qualified them to fly small planes and serve as an auxiliary force to help safeguard the skies. In Lincoln, the Women Flyers of America also patrolled the skies to help guard against enemy attack. These women enjoyed flying and used their skills to contribute to the national defense, even though some critics thought such activities unnecessary.

Before Pearl Harbor, civilian defense committees also appointed air raid wardens, planned for medical emergencies in time of attack, and practiced blackout drills. In November 1942, Omaha police arrested individuals who did not comply with blackout drills and the municipal court fined them $100 plus court costs. Blackout drills and practice air raids continued in Omaha, Cheyenne, Wichita, Bismarck and other Great Plains cities throughout the war.