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World War II

Cover of At Home with Ernie Pyle
Spring 2018

At Home with Ernie Pyle

Cover of At Home with Ernie Pyle

Edited by Owen V. Johnson ’68

Indiana University Press: 2016

 

A glimpse into the life and times of American journalist and Indiana favorite son Ernie Pyle, as seen through an extensive collection of Pyle’s folksy newspaper columns stretching from his student days in 1921 until his death by sniper fire during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

The homespun Hoosier, as Pyle was known, grew up in small-town … » More …

cover of Honored and Dishonored Guests
Summer 2017

Honored and Dishonored Guests

Cover of Honored and Dishonored Guests

Westerners in Wartime Japan

W. Puck Brecher

Harvard Univ. Asia Center: 2017

 

There was little surprise when the Japanese military police arrested and imprisoned a number of British and U.S. citizens on their soil after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Some, like the Reverend Samuel Heaslett, were held and interrogated for a few months, then released and eventually sent back to North America. However, outside prison walls, Western … » More …

Fred Kamaka in uniform
Spring 2017

The 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor

A personal history by Fred Kamaka ’51

The morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 proved to be clear with just a few clouds scattered above the Hickam Field/Pearl Harbor area. It would be extremely hot by 4 p.m. in the afternoon, the time scheduled for our Sunday parade for that month. During breakfast the cadets sitting at my table were all discussing the parade, for the competition between companies would be keen this year. It meant a lot to me as I was assigned to lead my squad for the competition from my company. My classmate, Rowland Melim, and I were dining room orderlies for … » More …

The Pacific War and Contingent Victory
Fall 2015

The Pacific War and Contingent Victory: Why Japanese Defeat Was Not Inevitable

The Pacific War and Contingent VictoryMichael W. Myers

University Press of Kansas: 2015

Conventional wisdom among scholars of World War II claims that Japan would inevitably lose the Pacific War to the United States and the Allies. They base that belief on greater American military and economic power and a U.S. strategy that forced the war against Japan on a path to unstoppable Allied victory. Myers, a professor at Washington State University’s School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public … » More …

Terry Ishihara
Spring 2015

Terry Ishihara ’49—“You can’t be happy and bitter”

As a teen in Tacoma, Terry (Teruo) Ishihara had his life planned out. The oldest child in his family, he was going to take over his father’s laundry business.

That all changed in the summer of 1942 when he and more than 150,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast were imprisoned as the United States entered World War II.

More than seven decades later, Ishihara clearly recalls the particulars of his internment, including names of fellow prisoners and a prized comic book collection that he had to leave behind. He recounts the nightmarish details without rancor. “You can’t be happy and bitter,’’ … » More …

Spring 2015

A Nagasaki letter

Minutes before the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the crew of the accompanying B-29 released a canister holding testing equipment. A letter was Scotch-taped inside. The canister fell on the outskirts of the city and its contents withstood the second and, to date, last nuclear attack in a war.

The letter, addressed to “R. Sagane, Imperial University, Tokyo,” was an appeal from three Manhattan Project physicists to fellow physicist and former colleague Ryokichi Sagane. They asked Sagane to confirm the power and devastation of the nuclear attack to the Imperial Japanese government, and to urge Japan’s surrender.

» More …

Soldiers of Paint
Spring 2014

Soldiers of Paint

Soldier of Paint

Doug Gritzmacher ’98 and Michael DeChant Jr.

Double Six Productions, 2013

 

Through clouds of smoke, soldiers call out to each other at Omaha Beach in the Normandy fields they recreated in Wyandotte, Oklahoma. Paintballs fly through the air as Allied troops storm toward concrete pillboxes filled with Axis troops intent on preventing the invasion.

It’s a hot, humid June day at the world’s largest paintball game, an annual reenactment of D-Day on 710 private acres. Thousands of paintball enthusiasts gather for this monumental event, captured in all of its chaos and camaraderie in the … » More …

Helen Szablya - small
Winter 2013

Helen Szablya ’76—Living in interesting times

Only seven when World War II came to Budapest, Helen Szablya remembers that December night in 1944 when she woke to the sound of bombs. The Soviet air raid was just the beginning of a siege that lasted more than a year and led to a Soviet occupation that culminated in a bloody attempt at a revolution in 1956. 

At one point during the siege, all 22 members of Szablya’s household took shelter in a little room that was normally used for ironing. It was on a lower floor and the safest place in the house. The family and their workers stretched their supplies, eating … » More …