Guide to Federal Records

Records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey [USSBS]


(Record Group 243)
1928-47 (bulk 1944-46)
977 cu. ft.

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 243.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 243.2 GENERAL RECORDS 1944-47 52 lin. ft.
  • 243.3 RECORDS OF THE EUROPEAN SURVEY 1934-47 603 lin. ft. and 371 rolls of microfilm
  • 243.3.1 General records
  • 243.3.2 Records of the Intelligence Branch
  • 243.3.3 Records of the Physical Damage Division
  • 243.4 RECORDS OF THE PACIFIC SURVEY 1928-47 445 lin. ft.
  • 243.4.1 General records
  • 243.4.2 Records of the Intelligence Branch
  • 243.4.3 Records of the Morale Division
  • 243.4.4 Records of the Physical Damage Division
  • 243.5 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
  • 243.6 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
  • 243.7 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
  • 243.8 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1944 38 images

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243.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the War Department as a civilian activity, November 3, 1944, pursuant to Presidential directive, September 9, 1944.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Combined Bomber Offensive Survey (Apr.-July 1944)
  • Strategic Bombing Effects Survey (July-Sept. 1944)
  • U.S. Bombing Research Mission (Sept.-Nov. 1944)
Functions: Studied the effects of Allied aerial attacks on Germany and German-occupied Europe (European Survey) and on Japan (Pacific Survey), to establish a basis for evaluating the importance and potential of air power as an instrument of military strategy and for planning the future development of the armed forces.

Abolished: October 8, 1947, with discontinuance of operations.

Finding Aids: Marilla B. Guptil and John Mendelsohn, comps., Inventory of the Records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Inv. 10 (1975).

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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243.2 GENERAL RECORDS
1944-47
52 lin. ft.

History: Combined Bomber Offensive Survey authorized by letter from Gen. Henry H. ("Hap") Arnold, Commanding General, U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), to Gen. Carl Spaatz, Commanding General, U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe (commonly referred to as "USSTAF"), April 21, 1944, and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 6, 1944. Strategic Bombing Effects Survey established in London by Headquarters, USAAF, July 1944, with designation suggested by USSTAF, to consolidate planning activities for a survey of the effects of the Allied air war in Europe. Renamed United States Bombing Research Mission by Presidential directive, September 9, 1944. Further redesignated USSBS, November 1944. SEE 243.1.

Textual Records: General correspondence of Chairman Franklin D'Olier, 1944-47. Copies of the final published reports of the European and Pacific Surveys, 1945-47. Cablegrams and other messages sent and received, 1944-46. Record copy of the published Index to Records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, June 1947.

Microfilm Publications: M1013.

Photographs (370 images): USSBS directors and staff; military officials in Japan and England; and USSBS installations in England, Germany, and Japan, 1945-46 (A). SEE ALSO 243.8.

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243.3 RECORDS OF THE EUROPEAN SURVEY
1934-47
603 lin. ft. and 371 rolls of microfilm

History: European Survey headquarters established in London, November 7, 1944, under the immediate direction of Chairman D'Olier, assisted by a Secretariat, and a nine-member board of directors, who had charge of the survey's 11 analysis and research divisions. Field survey teams conducted the actual investigative work in liberated zones and areas of Allied occupation beginning in the spring of 1945. D'Olier and board of directors transferred to Tokyo, September 1945, to begin the Pacific Survey. European Survey Secretariat remained in London until December 1945 to conclude the preparation and publication of the European Survey reports.

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243.3.1 General records

Textual Records: Published reports of the European Survey, 1945- 47. Unpublished field team reports and industrial plant reports, 1945. Transcripts and reports of interrogations, 1945. Interviews of German citizens and displaced persons, 1945. German dictionaries, telephone directories, railroad timetables, and industrial plant catalogs, 1937-44. Drawings and sketches of German industrial plants, airfields, and hospitals, 1942-45.

Motion Pictures (7 reels): Captured German films, produced 1934- 42, relating to American incendiary bombs and bombing methods and to German war industries, 1944. SEE ALSO 243.6.

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243.3.2 Records of the Intelligence Branch

Textual Records: Narrative and statistical operational reports of the U.S. 8th, 9th, 12th, and 15th Army Air Forces, and of the British Royal Air Force Bomber and Fighter Commands in Europe, 1941-45. Damage assessment reports, 1942-45. British Air Ministry target information lists, dossiers, and reports, 1941-45. Transcripts and reports of interrogations, 1945. Microfilm collection, 1940-45 (371 rolls), and published and unpublished records, 1939-45, of the Intelligence Library.

Motion Pictures (4 reels): Captured German films dealing with British incendiary bombs and countermeasures, produced by Krupp AG for training of air raid protection crews and civilian defense teams, 1943. SEE ALSO 243.6.

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243.3.3 Records of the Physical Damage Division

Photographs (8,000 images): Effects of bombings on industry, utilities, transportation, and social services in Germany, France, and Belgium, 1944-45 (E). SEE ALSO 243.8.

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243.4 RECORDS OF THE PACIFIC SURVEY
1928-47
445 lin. ft.

History: Authorized by letter from President Harry S. Truman to Chairman D'Olier, August 15, 1945, to include also an analysis of the effects of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Survey elements arrived in Tokyo in early September 1945, where Chairman D'Olier assumed direction, assisted by a nine-member board of directors, who had charge of 15 research and analysis divisions. Administrative and logistical support provided by the army and navy, with investigations conducted by field teams. Most survey personnel left Japan in December 1945. Tokyo headquarters closed, April 1, 1946.

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243.4.1 General records

Textual Records: Published reports of the Pacific Survey, 1946- 47. Reports of interrogations and interviews of Japanese citizens, 1945. Japanese maps, manuals, and other publications, 1928-45.

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243.4.2 Records of the Intelligence Branch

Textual Records: Transcripts and reports of interrogations, 1945- 46. Operational reports and statistical summaries of the U.S. 5th, 7th, and 20th Army Air Forces and the 20th and 21st Bomber Commands, 1944-45. Damage assessment reports, 1945. Joint Army- Navy Intelligence Studies, 1944-45. Joint Target Group air target analyses, 1944-45.

Microfilm Publications: M1159, M1169.

Aerial Photographs (2,340 items): Targets in Japan and Korea, produced by the Joint Target Group and the 21st Bomber Command, 1944-45.

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243.4.3 Records of the Morale Division

Sound Recordings (366 items): Interviews with Japanese civilians concerning the effects of U.S. bombing on various cities, including an eyewitness account of the bombing of Hiroshima, 1945.

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243.4.4 Records of the Physical Damage Division

Photographs (7,541 images): Used in the report, Effects of Incendiary Bomb Attacks on Japan, 1945-47 (R, 39 images). Atomic bomb damage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including injuries to civilians, 1945-47 (H, G, NP, HP; 7,502 images). SEE ALSO 243.8.

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243.5 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE Aerial Photographs UNDER 243.4.2.

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243.6 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 243.3.1 and 243.3.2.

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243.7 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 243.4.3.

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243.8 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
1944
38 images

Photographs: Effects of Operation Strangle, a U.S. bombing operation; and a survey of a Noball installation, a German rocket launching site in France, 1944 (F).

SEE Photographs UNDER 243.2, 243.3.3, and 243.4.4.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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