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World War II

Hanford
Fall 2012

Poem: Hanford Reservations

Near Vernita Bridge—where the Columbia River flows eastward on the “Hanford Reach,” and the Department of Energy signs forbid all access—and say:

Arid Lands Ecology Reserve
All Plants and Animals Protected
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
Ask the sagebrush now to tell
What the river carried
In its waters to the sea.
Ask the river or the sun
What strange things were here begun,
What they all could well
Reveal, having witnessed what was done.
Here the mighty river’s run
On its westward journey to the sea,
Reaches toward the rising sun…
» More …

Hanford, 1960
Summer 2012

Gallery: Historical Hanford

“When President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the go-ahead for the Manhattan Project, he set in motion an extraordinary collaboration amongst scientists and the military to develop an atomic bomb, driven by fears of Hitler’s creating one first. Whether or not the eventual dropping of the bombs on Japan was necessary to end the war in the Pacific will probably never be resolved. But the bomb undoubtedly changed the world, as well as the cultural, historical, and physical landscape of southeastern Washington.”

—From “The Atomic Landscape,” by Tim Steury

Take a photographic journey through the history of Hanford below. Images and much of … » More …

Summer 2012

The atomic landscape

 

Seven decades later, we consider our plutonium legacy 

Works considered in this article:

Plume
Kathleen Flenniken
University of Washington Press 2012

Made in Hanford: The Bomb that Changed the World
Hill Williams
Washington State University Press 2011

Making Plutonium, Re-Making Richland: Atomic Heritage and Community Identity, Richland, Washington, 1943-1963
Lee Ann Powell
Thesis, Department of History, Washington State University 2007

 

Reactor B From State Route 24 east of Vernita … » More …

Spring 2012

Gallery: Life at Heart Mountain internment camp

George Hirahara and his family, including Frank ’48, had their lives in Yakima disrupted in 1942 when they were forced to relocate with about 10,000 other Japanese Americans to Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

Frank’s daughter Patti Hirahara has shared a number of items with Washington State University from her family’s internment experience. They include about 2,000 photographs and negatives, many of them showing daily life at Heart Mountain.

The gallery below shows a few scenes from the Heart Mountain internment camp: celebrations, school days, sports events, and daily routines.

The complete collection is housed at WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, where students, scholars, and descendants … » More …

Internment camp children photo by Frank Hirahara
Spring 2012

A Hidden History

In 1992, Frank Hirahara ’48 sent his daughter Patti to Yakima to help his elderly parents pack up their home for their move to Southern California.

What had at first seemed a chore turned into a treasure hunt as Patti unearthed letters, photographs, and official records that chronicled her family’s experience as Japanese Americans who had spent World War II in an internment camp. “These things were hidden all around the house,” she says. She discovered notes in the buffet, letters in the kitchen cupboard, and photo negatives tucked into books.

Frank’s grandfather Motokichi Hirahara came to Washington from Wakayama Prefecture in Japan in 1907. … » More …

Winter 2011

Building New Pathways to Peace

peace

Noriko Kawamura , Yoichiro Murakami, and Shin Chiba, editors

University of Washington Press, 2011

 

The idea of “peace” in our complex and conflicted world sometimes seems out of reach or even antiquated. The authors in this collection recognize these realities and make a concerted effort to build a new theory of peace studies.

Noriko Kawamura, a WSU assistant professor of history, co-edited the volume, which includes contributions from a number of Washington State faculty along … » More …

Video: Nicole Braux Taflinger narrates a slideshow of her photos from Occupied France in WWII

Nicole Braux Taflinger was only 13 when the Germans invaded France in 1940. She has published a memoir of her time growing up in Nancy, Lorraine, called “Season of Suffering: Coming of Age in Occupied France,” published by Washington State University Press in 2010. In it she recalls the severe shortages, collaboration, disappearances, and despair and hope of a teenage girl. After Nancy was liberated, Nicole met a dashing young American airman named Ancel Taflinger, General Patton’s personal pilot. They married and eventually settled in Pullman, Washington. 

In this narrated slideshow, Nicole talks about some of her photos and her youth. Read more in … » More …

Spring 2011

Nicole Braux Taflinger ’66, ’68—Season of Suffering

Nicole Braux (now Taflinger) was 13 years old when Germany invaded France in 1940. Years later, having survived the occupation with her mother, married an American airman, and moved to Pullman, she has written a lovely and moving memoir.

First written for her children, Season of Suffering: Coming of Age in Occupied France, 1940–45 (WSU Press) recalls the occupation of Nancy, the severe shortages, collaboration, disappearances, and despair and hope from the perspective of a teenage girl.

“The first week of the war ended my childhood,” she writes, “as if a fairy touched me with a magic wand.”

Stationed on the Maginot … » More …

Fall 2010

Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck ’33—Recognition at last

In March of this year, a special Congressional action signed by President Obama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the “WASPS” of World War II. Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck ’33 was awarded the medal posthumously.

Jeanne graduated from Washington State College with a degree in English. President Roosevelt had funded the start of construction on the Grand Coulee Dam, and Jeanne was an early hire. She married a young engineer on the project, Ed Norbeck.

Later, Jeanne and Ed became managers of a large plantation in one of the outer islands in the Hawaiian chain. Given the lack of transportation … » More …

Winter 2007

Secrets & Spies

The Office of Strategic Services, our country's first centralized intelligence agency, was formed during the Second World War to train men and women in the arts of sabotage and espionage and then to send them around the world to protect our nation's interests. Among the many Washington State College students and alumni who served in that conflict, five friends and classmates trained together in the OSS, then went to North Africa, Italy, England, and China to help win the war.

» More ...