Contemporary Historians Series - Arsenal of Democracy: World War II and the Bay Area
Now in its third season, the Contemporary Historians at the Presidio series features nationally renowned historians exploring themes in American and world history. The Contemporary Historians series is part of the Presidio Heritage Program, which offers immersive, informative, and emotionally engaging experiences revealing the Presidio’s rich and ever-evolving history.
Arsenal of Democracy: World War II and the Bay Area
World War II dominated the social, economic, and political landscapes of the mid-20th century, setting in motion momentous events that still shape the world today. The communities that ring San Francisco Bay were irrevocably altered by that wartime era and still bear its visible marks in the remains of military bases and coastal defense fortifications, ships and shipbuilding facilities, worker housing and day-care facilities -- some preserved in national parks. Stephen Haller explores the social, political, and military impact of World War II on the Bay Area. The war’s tangible legacy is revealed through a web-based tour of the National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, which highlights 31 “heritage tourism” sites that reflect the Bay Area's role as the "Arsenal of Democracy."
Stephen A. Haller is the Park Historian and Branch Chief for Cultural Resources at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Formerly the Curator of Historic Documents for the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, he has also been an interpreter at a number of historic Bay Area sites including Alcatraz, Fort Point, and the Maritime Museum. He is the author of Post and Park, an illustrated history of the Presidio of San Francisco, and The Last Word in Airfields, a history of Crissy Army Airfield at the Presidio. He is co-author of The Last Missile Site: An Operational and Physical History of Nike Site SF-88 at Fort Barry, California, and Shipwrecks at the Golden Gate. He was editor of the Sea Letter, the journal of the National Maritime Museum Association, and has been principal investigator for World War II oral history projects at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial National Historic Site in Hawaii and at the War in the Pacific National Historic Site on Guam. He is co-author of the Seacoast Fortification Preservation Manual for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which received the California Preservation Foundation’s 2000 Design Award.
- November 21: Cameron Binkley will deliver the Redmond Kernan Lecture, an annual talk honoring Redmond Kernan, a lover of history and the Presidio.