An Iowa soldier, part of the 34th Division, looking through binoculars in North Africa in 1943.

War & Conflict

Wars have been a part of Iowa's history since the first inhabitants arrived. Early Indian tribes fought among themselves. When European explorers and settlers began to arrive in the 1700s skirmishes took place between the natives and the newcomers. Even wars that were fought in lands far away affected the people of Iowa. 

Many Iowans fought in battles where they saw death and destruction. During the Civil War battles were fought mostly in states east and south of Iowa. Although the battles were not fought on Iowa soil, many Iowans fought in the Civil War. During World War I and World War II men and women left Iowa and joined the war efforts in Europe, Asia and Africa. During the 1950s and '60s Iowans fought in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. And in the 1990s Iowans fought in the Gulf War. In 2005 Iowans took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan. 

War affects people who stay at home too. The families of those who are fighting worry about their family members who are in danger. Sometimes the economy is affected by the wars. Sometimes wars affect the way people live, play and work. 

People don't always agree on the reasons for wars. During times of war there are often conflicts between people who want the United States to stay out of the battles and those who want the country to become involved. Even government leaders don't always agree. This is true of Iowans as well as other Americans. 

Learn about the wars in which Iowans have participated. Explore how wars have affected the lives of Iowans—both on the battlefield and at home. 


Wars have affected the lives of Iowans both on the battlefield and at home.

Media Artifacts

Investigation Tip:
The story of your Iowa pathway is found many ways. Look in several different places - an article, a map, a photo all have great information.