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World War II

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.

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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 …

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…
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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.

 

 

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