Collage of Smithsonian during WWI and WWII

Smithsonian in Wartime

During times of national crisis, the Smithsonian has often been called upon for its expertise.  The Civil War raged around the Smithsonian Castle, and Secretary Joseph Henry provided advice on inventions to President Abraham Lincoln. The world wars of the 20th century placed critical demands on the nation and the Institution.  The Smithsonian shared its expertise and its employees donated their time and funds to the war efforts.  These pages will provide an overview of the Smithsonian’s contributions to World War I and World War II. 

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