Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Harl Dalstrom


Influenza, or the flu as it is commonly called, is considered nothing more than a mild physical nuisance that requires little more than bed rest and aspirin. In 1918, however, this acute respiratory ailment elicited a greatly different response from the ordinary citizen. A deadly and highly contagious strain of the influenza virus emerged in 1918 that encompassed the globe in a matter of months. Although the 1918 influenza pandemic killed over twenty-two million people world-wide, of which over seven-hundred thousand were Americans, the deadly pandemic is rarely acknowledged as a catastrophic event. This study investigates Omaha, Nebraska's response to the pandemic and the effect that the virus had upon the economic, political, and social mechanisms of a large urban center in the central United States.


A thesis presented to the Department of History and the faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts, University of Nebraska at Omaha. © 1998 Gary Gernhart. All Rights Reserved.