Fort Snelling, 1941-45

When the U.S. entered WWII in December, 1941, Fort Snelling became the entry point to military life for more than 300,000 people who joined the U.S. military. At its height in 1942, the fort’s Reception Center was capable of processing approximately 800 recruits each day. In addition, new units were organized and trained at the base for service with both the military railroad and military police forces. Beginning in 1944, the fort was home to Military Intelligence Service Language School where Nisei (second-generation) Japanese Americans learned the Japanese language in preparation for service overseas as interpreters, interrogators, and intelligence workers. By the end of WWII more than 7,800 Minnesotans lost their lives while serving in the armed forces.

This interactive site helps share the story of this important time in the fort’s history. Interviews with veterans, photographs, documents, and other sources help bring the past to life.

Click on different topics to learn more about Fort Snelling during WWII.

The Minnesota Historical Society gratefully acknowledges David and Barbara Koch for their generous support that has made this program possible.
The Starvation Study Medical Care at Fort Snelling Minnesota Home Front Induction Military Intelligence Service Language School