University of Utah’s Contribution to the War in 1943

By Kyung Rin Kim

fighting

Ads in the Utah Chronicle: October 21, 1943, and October 7, 1943 (at right).

According to a review of Utah and the Great War, editor Allan Kent Powell shows Utah’s connections to World War I and explores the wartime experiences of Utahns, including those who joined the National Guard and the women who worked near frontlines in France as nurses.

But by 1930, Utah had been economically devastated during the Great Depression with an 11 percent higher unemployment rate than the average of the nation. The government tried a variety of methods to improve this situation by putting military installations in the state in response to the crisis in Europe to protect the defense budget in Utah. Utah’s industrial growth based on coal, iron, dolomite, and other materials contributed to the weapons and war products. Many Utahns also participated in military service all around the world in that era. In June 1945, there were 62,107 Utahns in active military service. (Launius)

The Utah Chronicle reported on October 7, 1943, that some University of Utah students had served in the army. The article introduced those students. For example, it mentioned Jerry Clarkson, who spent numerous hours flying in combat zones, fighting, and serving in combat missions in naval air forces.

A helmet advertisement using a soldier’s picture wearing a helmet for safety was in a Utah Chronicle article published October 7, 1943. The advertisement says, “Signal Corps engineers working with Western Electric and Bell Telephone Laboratories developed this new all-purpose military headset. Here is another instance of Bell System service to our nation at war.” This kind of advertisement shows that people in that era were very much interested in the war or something that is related to war.

ad

“Utah men are now scattered all over the world,” said Lorraine Stephens, a student of the U in a Utah Chronicle article published October 14, 1943. She emphasized many graduates of the U went to the war by saying that they were working for the greatest job, winning the war. The Utah Chronicle at that time frequently announced names of students who were serving in the military, and this proves that the U’s paper intended to show their contribution to the war as a college which has a good reputation in Utah. I think this can show the U’s social position in Utah.

On October 14, 1943, The Utah Chronicle announced that the U had received important comments from government officials who praised what the university contributed to the military. The summary stated that the school provided a five-month course during the 1942-43 school year during which the school catered to 72 enlisted men and 51 officers, who eventually played important roles for the vital posts and battlefronts of the world.

U Archives D Military 1940-49 Fd 2 #1Dr. Dilworth Walker, dean of the U’s school of business, announced the opening of a campaign to raise $2,500 for the war chest in a Utah Chronicle article published October 28, 1943, urged all university students, faculty and employees to contribute to the Salt Lake County War Chest.

Knowing what University of Utah did during the wartime can help us better understand the U’s role in the society and in the wartime. I believe we should know this kind of history as one of the U’s students and Utahns. The significance of knowing what the U did before helps to know the social position of the University of Utah.

Kyung Rin Kim graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.

Sources

“U Contributes To War Chest,” Utah Chronicle, October 28, 1943, 1.

Advertisement. telephone and radio equipment, Utah Chronicle, October 21, 1943, 4.

Robert Cutler, “Campus in the Crisis – A Summary of University Wartime Activities,” Utah Chronicle, October 14, 1943, 2.

“University Men at War,” Utah Chronicle, October 14, 1943, 2.

Advertisement for helmets, Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1943, 3.

“University Men at War,” Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1943, 2.

Brian, Cannon. Review of Utah and the Great War: The Beehive State and the World War I Experience, ed. Allan Kent Powell. Western Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Summer 2017): 316-17.

Launius, Roger D. “World War II in Utah,” Utah History to Go.

U Archives D Military 1940-49 Fd 3 n10

U Archives D Military 1940-49 Fd 6 #5

 

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How the World War II Draft Impacted the Lives of College-Aged Men at the University of Utah

By Averie Vockel

According to Allen Kent Powell, approximately 7,000 Utahns were serving in the U.S. military by June 1941. This illustrated how the draft or Selective Service Act enacted just one year prior had the ability to alter one’s reality instantly. Powell also noted that “enrollment in Utah’s colleges and universities offered another indicator of the coming war as enrolment in the fall of 1941 dropped from 10 to 25 percent below the previous year. At the University of Utah registration for the 1941 fall quarter was 3,665 or 19 percent less than the 4,085 students who registered for the previous fall quarter.” (“Utah and World War II,” p. 109)

military on campus PDF

World War II initiated the United States’s first-ever peacetime draft. Thousands were enlisted and many trained for battle on the University of Utah campus. Photo courtesy of Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Students of the university saw the shock wave right in front of them, as the draft majorly impacted male students’ education and career paths. In one Utah Chronicle article, “Are We Patriots,” published May 8, 1941, the writer questions the role of the war and why young men ought to be proud to serve against their will. The author suggests there should be nothing wrong with a student who has invested themselves into their education, continuing that education.

This question of the draft was something university students had no option but to face and for some, the idea of amping up militarism or leaving their school desks for war, was not as patriotic as it posed to be. Moreover, the March 6, 1941, Utah Chronicle included a letter from student Neil P. Richards titled “The Enigma of National Defense.” Richards explains the government has placed a stricter time limit on earning an engineering degree, from four to three years. Richards implies that this is due to the ways engineering departments are relied upon to assist with national defense, and isolates an example of one faculty member taken by the government. Moreover, he explains that the draft provides no provision for engineers, meaning they may finish their program and be sent to serve on front lines rather than develop technology. It is clear from Richards’s account there was not simply a war happening in the world, but a war that impacted the everyday life of the college student.

military on campus 2 PDF

The military on the campus of the University of Utah. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

On November 6, 1941, the Utah Chronicle detailed in an article titled “Utes Favor Militarism Short of War” the results of a survey of roughly 400 students. They were asked questions pertaining to the war and though they seemingly favored militarism, they strongly opposed adjustments to the draftable age of young men. Perhaps that was because, as outlined in a March 6, 1941, Chronicle article, that young men of university age were directly targeted by the draft. The article detailed how there could be a significant depletion of young men at the university as a result of a large draft in the following weeks that would take 410 Utah men. Or perhaps it was because the war would create a hot and volatile political climate that the young would be the only hope for recovery.

Hays Gorey, in his Chronicle article “College Men, Planners of Post War World Face Vital Issues,” explained that in order for there to be peaceful future decisions about international policies, it would be imperative to listen to various voices. Gorey suggested that the college student, specifically the college man, was the one in the best position to start creating this future.

Moreover, Heber Hart, in his Chronicle article “The War This Week: College Students Look Toward Future With Hope for Better World,” echoed the idea that college students are the future. Hart wrote, “What youth does not want is a hand in an orgy of blood and fire if it will do nothing toward bettering the world.”

The University of Utah played a key role in  World War II and its students bore much of the burden. It is clear that the war and the country’s first ever peacetime draft specifically harmed college students. In a day and age where international politics seem to be heating up and rhetoric surrounding weapons technology and development are constantly brought up by world leaders as “an option,” it is important that we don’t disregard history and the valuable lessons it has provided.

Averie Vockel is a student at the University of Utah. She is majoring in communication studies with a certificate in criminology.
 
Sources

“Draft May Cause Male Depletion,” Utah Chronicle, March 6, 1941, 2.

Neil P. Richards, “The Enigma of National Defense,” Utah Chronicle, March 6, 1941, 4.

“Are We Patriots,” Utah Chronicle, May 8, 1941, 4.

“Utes Favor Militarism Short of War,” Utah Chronicle, November 6, 1941, 1.

Hays Gorey, “College Men, Planners of Post War World Face Vital Issues,” Utah Chronicle, April 23, 1942, 4.

Heber Hart, “The War This Week: College Students Look Toward Future With Hope for Better World,” Utah Chronicle, October 8, 1942, 4.

Powell, Allen Kent. “Utah and World War II,” Utah Historical Quarterly 73, no. 2 (Spring 2005): 108-131.

Women Workers in World War II

By Riley Spear

women working2

Women in World War II performed men’s jobs. Used by permission, Utah State Historical
Society.

Women played a large role in helping the United States throughout World War II. With men being called from every home to come serve on the battlefields, it allowed women to enter the labor force and have opportunities in the military. The New York Times, on November 23, 1942, said, “Women want a real role to play in the planning of tomorrow.” Not only did they give their time in the home, but abroad as well.

Prior to the women’s commitment to serve in the workforce and military, The Utah Chronicle on November 25, 1942, stated there would be university classes offered to teach women certain techniques in case they were ever needed for combat. These classes included rigorous training such as wrestling, crawling through barrels, and other conditioning activities. This class excited and prepared women for their future job opportunities. Many superiors were thrilled at the chance to teach this class because it was a step toward changing the gender stereotype. Pathfinder magazine reported training classes continued to be held across the states for women in their late teens, to early forties. The training preparation classes were receiving positive feedback, and genuinely helping women in their future job roles they would pursue to help the war cause.

women working3

Women worked in the military air force in World War II. Used by permission, Utah State Historical
Society.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a moment in history where all citizens had to come together as a team in order to survive the war, and women were prepared to give their aid. The Utah Chronicle, on December 3, 1942, reported that the war was asking for University of Utah women with scientific training such as engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics and accounting. The need for help was dire, and it was urgent women were made aware of their need. The War Manpower Commission posted an advertisement that read, “Longing won’t bring him back sooner…GET A WAR JOB,” in order to encourage women to help. Posters such as these motivated women to serve their country and also help their men. Women responded, coming to serve in the country as industrial workers, and abroad filling the gaping hole in the U.S. labor force.

In San Diego, CLICK Magazine reported on February 1, 1944, “Women were becoming letter carriers, bus drivers, high altitude window washers, milk deliverers, and office workers.” An assortment of positions were left vacant and women were fulfilling them without hesitation. The American Magazine wrote an issue in January 1943 on a young women named Dorothy Vogley. When the war called for women employees she seized an opportunity at Timken Rolling Bearing Co. as a testing machine operator. “At first,” noted the article, “the strange hours put her at odds end with the world, but now she believes working in the war industry has made her a new, more self-reliant person.” (p. 11) The war was able to offer women a chance to prove their worth, and spread awareness that women were capable. In some cases, such as Vogley’s, it was also a realization and an inspiration to other women.

working women

Women working alongside each other in hard hats and overalls. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Women’s involvement in the war was a huge turning for the United States, and in gender stereotypes. “The war may have demonstrated to employers that women could function well in jobs that had previously been male domains,” wrote Claudia D. Golding in her research article “The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women’s Employment.” After the war, and when men returned, many women were forced out of their jobs. However, within five years the percentage of women in the labor force increased dramatically. Golding’s data prove that during wartime 24.7 percent of the labor force participation rates were made up of women, and by 1950, five years after the war had ended, it increased to 26 percent. This demonstrates the determination and perseverance women continued to strive for during and following the war.

The Utah Chronicle on December 3, 1942, reported, “Women are needed, and the time is past stereotypes.” It is hard to see light in horrible sequences of events such as war. However, women took it by the reigns and demonstrated their worth, and value. The U.S. would have suffered greatly without the hard work women gave in all fields of occupations. The recognition deserved for their performance is endless. “This is a women’s war as well as a man’s,” said Oveta Culp Hobby, director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, in the 1942 New York Times story.

Riley Spear is a senior at the University of Utah. She is studying journalism and will graduate in spring 2019.

Sources

Advertisement for women workers, Office for the War Manpower Commission, 1944.

San Diego: A Woman’s Town,” Click, February 1, 1944.

Girl on the Midnight Shift,” American, January 1943.

Amazons of Aberdeen,” Pathfinder, July 1942.

“7,000,000 Women Workers Seen in War Plants before Peace Comes,” New York Times, November 23, 1942, 1.

“Coed Commandos Out to Win War and Men,” Utah Chronicle, November 24, 1942, 4.

“Dean of Women Lists Coed Opportunities,” Utah Chronicle, December 3, 1942, 3.

Golden, Claudia. “The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women’s Employment,” American Economic Review 81, no. 4 (September 1991): 741-56.

The History of Cadet Nurses and Their Struggle for Veterans Rights

By Catherine Simmons

In the years leading up to WWll, jobs were in short supply. However, once America entered the war, that all changed. Because so many men signed up, employees of every kind were desperately needed. Nurses were perhaps needed most.

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University of Utah–Cadet Nurses War Vets. Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection, Utah State History.

In 1943, Frances Bolton introduced a bill to create a governmental program to recruit and train nurses. (“Short History”) It passed just a few months later. This led to a countrywide mass recruitment, particularly in universities. The University of Utah formed a club for all Cadet Nurses and even practiced drill with other ASTP, or Army Specialized Training Program, students. They often got in uniform and stood in formations and even ran practice exercises. (Cutler) There were numerous advertisements calling women to join the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, similar to the advertisements calling men to join the service. At one point, 80 percent of nurses in the United States were part of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. (“Short History”)

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St. Marks Hospital Cadet Nurses. Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection, Utah State History.

Their 30-month training was rigorous and demanding. There was a lot of school work as well as training, not to mention the strict curfews. (Bergman) But they all said they felt an obligation to help the young men and their country.

One nurse, Eunice E. Smolak, was assigned to Bushnell General Hospital where she treated wounded servicemen and prisoners of war. She wrote about how difficult it was, emotionally and physically, to care for those wounded soldiers, and that she would never forget those experiences. (“We Remember”) Each nurse was greatly affected by what she saw and heard in those hospitals. It was not an easy job. It was physically, emotionally and psychologically demanding. However, despite the hardship each cadet nurse faced, they were not considered veterans.

Numerous pleas have been submitted asking to change the status of cadet nurses to eligible veterans. A wave of activism has swept across the country. Former cadet nurses are sending letters and calling all their cadet friends and acquaintances, letting everyone know what they are trying to achieve. Letters were sent out begging for signatures on their petition. Cadet nurses and their families have sent letters to the editor in newspapers all over the country, including the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune, asking for recognition of their efforts and sacrifice. The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps is, in fact, the only uniformed force that has not received veterans status. That means they do not qualify for any of those benefits and services. (Karins)

On February 6, 2017, H.R. 1168, the United States Cadet Nurse Corps Equity Act, was introduced to Congress. It states that any member of the United States Nurse Corps who served between July 1, 1943, and December 31, 1948, is qualified to full veteran status, including all benefits, although those benefits won’t be back-paid. (Lowey) Seventeen representatives cosponsored the bill. However, despite all the effort put in by so many, nothing has come of it. Almost two years later and it has still not passed in the House of Representatives.

Thousands of women sacrificed so much of their time and energy, just doing their duty to their country and their fellow Americans and the least we can do is give them what they are owed. If we wait much longer, there will be no nurses left to recognize.

Catherine Simmons is a Utah resident who has a degree in communication from the University of Utah. She is married with a beautiful puppy.  She loves history and reading and dreams of becoming an author. 

Sources

Robert Cutler, “Campus in Crisis,” Utah Chronicle, November 4, 1943.

Belcher, David. “Cadet Corps Seeks Congressional Recognition: World War II Nurses Petition Congress for Veterans’ Benefits, Honors,” American Journal of Nursing 103, no. 3 (2005): 130-31.

Doona, Mary Ellen. “Cadet Nurse Corps,” Massachusetts Report on Nursing 11, no. 1 (March 2013): 6.

Karins, Jessica. “U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps members seek veteran status,” Columbia Daily Tribune, August 20, 2018.

Bergman, Julia. “All but forgotten: Cadet nurses reflect on service during WWII,” The Day, November 3, 2018.

Rep. Nita Lowey, H.R. 1168, United States Cadet Nurse Corps Equity Act.

Alissa Sauer, “Overdue Recognitions for WWII Cadet Nurse Corps,” Veteran Aid, April 3, 2018

Short History of Military Nursing: U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps,” Ebling Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, August 18, 2017.

“We Remember: Eunice E. Smolak,” USCadetNurse.org.

Expressing the Importance of Buying War Bonds and Stamps

 

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American Home Foods, window display, April 23, 1945; Shipler Commercial Photographers. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

By Eric U. Norris

During World War II, the war effort couldn’t be stressed more to the public than through the importance of buying stamps and bonds. The Utah Chronicle reported on April 8, 1943, that the University of Utah was starting a bond drive on April 19 with the goal of reaching $75,000 to buy a P-51 Mustang fighter plane by June 1. If the drive reached its goal the fighter plane would have the university’s name painted on its nose when it flew into its first battle. The Utah Chronicle made it a point to get young people involved and well informed in the war effort and contained multiple articles that detailed the development of the drive and how much money was raised.

The Utah Chronicle article “Easter Morn to Bring out Newest Fashions in War Time Clothing” mirrored many of the wartime efforts by magazines to encourage the purchase of war bonds. The majority of the article listed the newest spring clothing the campus coeds would be wearing on Easter Sunday. However, the author, Gladys Barker, tagged on at the end of the article, “It’s not wise to say that old bear ‘Vanity’ will not overcome that desire to save money for war bonds and stamps.” Its addition seems to contradict the theme of spending money on clothing yet it blatantly displays the obsession in raising money for the war effort.

World_War_II_Bond_Drive_P_3-1

Donor Everett L. Cooley holds a chart indicating money raised for the War Fund Drive, May 1942. From left: Arthur Gaeth Dommenter; J. Fielding Smith; E. J. Dreyfons; Mrs. Wm. Gibbs McAdoo. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

World War II brought out this involvement from the public to support itself. Basically, those who weren’t drafted were encouraged to buy stocks and stamps to fund those who were involved in the war — some of whom were University of Utah students. The overt patriotism that came up after the United States entered the war really shows in some of these articles and advertisements. One ad filled the entire page of an April issue of the Utah Chronicle. It depicted a caricature of Adolf Hitler with a swastika in the background. On the left side it read “JUNK HIM” and on the right side it read “BUY BONDS.” World War II was presented and is often remembered as a very black and white, good versus evil type war. The Nazis and the Axis Powers were considered evil and the US and its allies were good, so it was very easy to assimilate a communal aspect to the American public, and on a smaller scale, to the students at the University of Utah, especially when the majority of information people received about international affairs were from printed publications.

hitler ad

Utah Chronicle, April 29, 1943.

The drive worked as a great marketing ploy to get students to help out. By contributing to the drive, students were aiding the US in its quest for victory, and their school’s name would be on that fighter plane attempting to achieve it. The Utah Chronicle went as far as writing an article on April 29 that Nazi forces would infiltrate the campus on Friday, April 30, in an attempt to dissuade anyone from purchasing any securities in the form of war bonds and stamps. This article, “Nazi Forces to Blitz Utes on Friday,” read as a letter from Colonel Reinhart Von Schlubbe, but it wasn’t true. However, it sparked a reaction by students and resulted in a total of $1,000 in stamps and bonds that were bought that day despite the alleged raid, according to The Utah Chronicle’s May 6 article “Nazis Leave After High Stamp Sale,” which, of course, included a reminder about the bond drive and when and where to purchase bonds and stamps.

Despite the effort put into the advertising and emphasis in the articles for war bonds and stamps, the drive itself didn’t do well. The Utah Chronicle also reported on May 6 how the University of Utah only gathered $8,000 in five weeks for the drive, while the “high school down the street” managed to raise $45,000 in eight days. To add on, it brought the patriotism of the university into question and challenged the students to answer by buying more bonds and stamps. While the cause for the drive was to raise money to aid the military, the reward for reaching the goal made it look like it was a popularity contest. It felt that the U was trying to be the school that could say, “We raised the most money! We rallied for the cause! And now our name is immortalized in this war on the nose of a P-51 Mustang Fighter Plane!”

Eric U. Norris is a senior at the University of Utah. He’s majoring in communication with an emphasis on journalism. He is also a senior staff writer for SLUG Magazine.

Sources

Martin Tubbs, “U Sponsors Plane in Stamp Drive,” Utah Chronicle, April 8, 1943, 1.

Gladys Barker, “Easter Morn to Bring out Newest Fashions in War Time Clothing,” Utah Chronicle, April 22, 1943, 3.

Nazi Forces to Blitz Utes Friday,” Utah Chronicle, April 29, 1943, 1.

Advertisement, “Heil Hitler: Junk Him; Buy Bonds,” Utah Chronicle, April 29, 1943, 3.

Nazis Leave After High Stamp Sale,” Utah Chronicle, May 6, 1943, 1.

Bond Drive Shows Little Enthusiasm,” Utah Chronicle, May 6, 1943, 2.

 

 

 

 

Preparing for War: How the University of Utah Handled the Effects of World War II

By Lindsay Montague

The year was 1940 and World War II was into its second year. The United States had not declared war yet but on September 16 the US instituted the Service Act of 1940, which required all men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft. This age requirement was lowered to 18 in 1942. Many young American men were impacted by the draft, including students in college or planning to go to college. The University of Utah saw the impact of this Act and also prepared to do its part in the war effort.

U Archives President Cowles

University of Utah President LeRoy E. Cowles. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

According to the book, University of Utah and World War II by LeRoy E. Cowles, president of the university from 1941 to 1946, there was a decrease in student enrollment for the 1941 fall semester. (p. 27) This was in contrast to the pattern of an increase in enrollment for the previous ten years. “There would certainly have been an increase in 1941 instead of a decrease, had it not been for the impending war,” Cowles wrote. (p. 27)

This was just the beginning, and the effects of the war grew. A few months into the semester came the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and then the US officially entered World War II. Three days later, The Utah Chronicle published a letter to students from President Cowles. “We are at war!” he wrote. “I know you will do your duty. University students are noted for their patriotism and their idealism. They have always been among the first to respond and among the most valiant when our country has needed them.”

U Archives B Fieldhouse Interior Fd 1 #002

University Field House. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

What follows for the university is exactly that. The Utah Chronicle was constantly reporting on the university’s efforts during the war. On February 26, 1942, the Chronicle reported that “President Cowles has appointed a committee in charge of initiating, supervising, and coordinating the efforts of the institution.” With cooperation from the Committee on Civilian Defense and Military Affairs, Cowles appointed sub-committees to oversee the projects of four phases of the campus defense program. The committee also released a pamphlet known as the “University Defense Communique” for students and faculty members. The projects reported on included: 1. Air Raid Precautions 2. Information Service 3. Cooperative Recreation Program 4. Civilian Morale Service. Not only did the war mean more programs for the university, but it also meant physical changes for the campus. In 1943 the University Fieldhouse was converted to Army Barracks which hosted 1,000 military men. (Cowles, p. 152)

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“Time’s A-Wastin”: cartoon promoting the purchase of savings bonds. Published in The Utah Chronicle on February 12, 1942.

As previously stated, The Utah Chronicle was a great source to inform students about campus and war events. It was also a source for advertisements, and the publication of letters and accounts by students who were drafted, experienced a war event, or who participated in local civilian defense efforts. In one article titled “University Student Gets Taste of War,” published on February 19, 1942, student Ralph Chalker told his story about returning from Hawaii when war was declared. According to the article, “Fear of a Japanese attack was the first reaction of passengers,” considering that their ship was within 100 miles of the torpedoed Matson freighter. They returned safely and half a day early as the ship had increased its speed. Advertisements geared toward students would notify them about events on campus that boosted war morale or those of which the proceeds went toward the war. Both an article in The Utah Chronicle and an advertisement published on February 19 urged students to support the “War Relief Dance.” People were urged to “Be Patriotic!” as all the proceeds would go to support local war relief societies.

Many of the changes made to the University of Utah are still relevant today. According to an overview of the university during the years of the Great Depression and World War II, the war brought forth developments to student programs, the establishment of a summer quarter, courses in meteorology and photography, expansion of engineering and medical programs, and an increase to the participation of women in works on and off campus. When the war ended on September 2, 1945, faculty and students celebrated and the student population doubled.

In the last chapter of President Cowles’s book, University of Utah and World War II, he writes:

The University is facing forward, not backward. She has passed through tragic depressions, and two great and destructive wars. She has grown and expanded in spite of limited rations. She is just beginning her maturity as a real Alma Mater. For decades and for centuries to come, she will grow in power and prestige, and will radiate intelligence, and make better living a reality. (p. 227)

Lindsay Montague is a student at The University of Utah. She is majoring in mass communication.

Sources

LeRoy E. Cowles, “To Students of the University of Utah,” Utah Chronicle, December 10, 1941, 4.

Billy DeBeck, “Times a Wastin’,” Utah Chronicle, February 12, 1942, 3.

University Student Gets Taste of War,” Utah Chronicle, February 19, 1942, 3.

“‘U’ Dance to Swell War Fund,” Utah Chronicle, February 19, 1942, 3.

Advertisement, ASUU War Relief Dance, Utah Chronicle, February 19, 1942, 2.

Morale Unit Appoints Sub Groups,” Utah Chronicle, February 26, 1942, 1.

LeRoy E. Cowles. University of Utah and World War II. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1948.

The Great Depression and World War II” and “Rapid Expansion, 1946-1964,” The University of Utah Sesquicentennial, 1850-2000.

WAVES and SPARS: Women go to War in 1943

By Matt McPherson

At the height of the second World War, university students across the nation were forced to withdraw from school and join military forces. First the men, but with a high demand, women also became part of the war’s history. Women not only entered the workforce, but they broke gender barriers by joining military forces. In 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and the SPARS (United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve). Historian Roger D. Launius discussed women’s impact on the war saying, “Not only did women enter the workforce in a big way, but many of the other traditional sexual boundaries were eroded by the war.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.36.37 AMAs reported by the Salt Lake Telegram on Tuesday, January 11, 1943, Lieutenant Tova L. Petersen, a recruitment officer for the WAVES and SPARS, arrived in Salt Lake City to interview applicants. Just one month later the first Utah women would enlist in the military.

The Utah Chronicle reported on February 25, 1943, that twelve women from the University of Utah were assigned and enlisted to make up Utah’s first contingent of the WAVES and SPARS by the Navy Recruiting Station in Salt Lake City. In order to enlist, women had to be between the ages of 20 and 36, some schooling was required, and they could not be married to a man in the same military branch. The women had to complete four months of training of which nine participants were WAVES and three were SPARS. Following their training, they were assigned to active duty around the United States, or sent to schools for “technical training by Navy experts.” Utah continued to enlist women to reach a quota; to do so, the naval officer from San Francisco remained in Salt Lake City to approve applications.

A brochure titled Facts About the WAVES and SPARS addressed the importance of women joining the armed forces. The author wrote, “Never in history has there been such an urgent need for American women to serve their country. This is total war — a war in which every woman as well as every man must play a part.” The brochure gave complete instructions on how and where to apply, what living situations would be like, and the basic requirements to enlist as WAVES or SPARS.

On March 19, 1943, the Sugar House Bulletin shared an image with a brief description of women in training, titled, “Future WAACS, WAVES, SPARS Start Training.” The trainees are shown doing jumping exercises on a springboard.

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On March 8, 1943, The Utah Chronicle published a letter from Florence Henrichsen, a WAVES member and former University of Utah student. Henrichsen wrote from Massachusetts to her sister and told her of her daily life. There was no more staying up late and no more everyday clothing, which she referred to as “civies” — only uniforms were allowed now. Henrichsen did not express any resentment for her decision and seemed quite happy. She wrote of her meals and the training she partook in. She ended the letter to her sister with a little encouragement: “Come and be a WAVE with me – you would love it.”

Reporting for KSL in August 2014, Peter Rosen shared the story of Utah’s own Kathryn Klaveano who served in the Navy WAVES. Klaveano wanted to be a part of the action. She is quoted as saying, “I told them I will go AWOL before I would be a secretary.” And she was more than that. Klaveano was a flight orderly on domestic military flights “from Newfoundland to Miami and to Hawaii.” Another Utah woman, Ora Mae Hyatt, actually served outside of the U.S. and made her way to Okinawa. Unconcerned with her surroundings, Hyatt said, “We were young. We didn’t dwell on the danger we were in.” (Rosen)

World War II brought an urgency upon the United States and called for young men and woman to help fight. President Roosevelt’s establishment of WAVES and SPARS gave women the opportunity to join the war effort. In February 1943 the first twelve Utah women were given the chance to help shape America’s future military and they did just that.

Matt McPherson graduated from The University of Utah in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication.

Sources

“Future WAACS, WAVES, SPARS Start Training,” Sugar House Bulletin, March 19, 1943, 3.

“From Former U Coed—Now WAVE,” Utah Chronicle, March 8, 1943, 3.

“First WAVE, SPAR Unit Accepted,” Utah Chronicle, February 25, 1943, 3.

“Women Wanted in WAVES, SPARS,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 11, 1943, 18.

Advertisement/image of U.S. Army announcement, Utah Chronicle, January 14, 1943, 2.

Facts About the WAVES and SPARS,” n.p., 1943.

Rosen, Peter. “Utah Woman at War: Stories of Service in WWII,” KSL, August 28, 2014.

Launius, Roger, D. “World War II in Utah,” Utah History to Go.

 

Images provided by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

World War II and Its Effect on Utah Universities

By Joe Coles

The_Military_on_campus_University_of_Utah_14_World_War_II

Soldiers train on the field north of the Field House (old Cummings Field) during World War II. The Life Sciences Building and Presidents Circle are in the background. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

World War II, the last major world war, changed the lives of millions of people around the globe during and after the conflict. Those affected included students at universities. Supplies were rationed, students were drafted, and sports were canceled due to not having enough athletes to field the teams.

One way that these changes were evident were in morale shows, organized by the United States military. These shows were designed to make people feel good. In April 1942, The Utah Chronicle reported that the University of Utah was holding such shows. These “morale shows” originally started out as shows to boost the spirits of Army members, but the shows were so successful that Fort Douglas, adjacent to the University of Utah, put on the show for civilians and students. The shows included dancing, fencing, plays, and music.

A shortage of people, because students and workers were drafted into the war, manifested itself in both the workforce and in college athletics. In April 1942, The Utah Chronicle reported that the demand for workers was very high because the workforce had to replace those who had been drafted. Reported The Chronicle: “From the month of March to the month of April the demand for workers has almost doubled itself,” according to a report from Herald Carlston, the executive secretary of the placement bureau.

The_Military_on_campus_University_of_Utah_13_World_War_II

A crowd has gathered on Presidents Circle at the University of Utah during World War II, probably witnessing the departure of soldiers. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The shortage was also felt in college athletics. In May 1942, The Utah Chronicle reported that freshmen, who normally didn’t play in varsity sports, were being considered for varsity teams due to players being drafted for World War II. The Chronicle reported: “Freshmen athletes offer a solution to the problem of team members whose playing lives are measured not by their four years of college, but by their respective draft boards. Several of the major college loops in the East have adopted this policy, but no definite action appears likely in the Big Seven conference.”

Rationing and a shortage of supplies were another consequence of the war. Everything from sugar to slide rules was being rationed, and due to a lack of money, wage scales were implemented and the United States government encouraged people to buy bonds. Even student activities were being cut because of money shortfalls. In May 1942, The Utah Chronicle reported that the university was “pleading” to sororities, fraternities, ASUU, and faculty members to buy war bonds and stamps. In another article published that month, The Utah Chronicle reported that the University of Utah Board of Regents was being rationed sugar at their monthly dinner. Other limited items include “drawing instruments and more expensive slide rules, because of increased demand in war industries.”  In a May 1942 opinion piece, The Utah Chronicle observed that the United States government had established price ceilings, scaled wages and rationed food, and the Chronicle reported changes in its student activities due to the war. “One or more of the university’s four publications probably will be forced to cease publication” and other activities, such as “debate, dramatics, music,” were forced to cut back.

Local universities in Utah also got an influx of dislocated Japanese-American students.  An article in Utah Historical Quarterly discusses the Japanese American Student Relocation Program and the role that universities in Utah had on it. Nisei college students were welcomed by the University of Utah and Brigham Young University after President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which essentially evicted Japanese people from the West Coast. The University of Utah and BYU welcomed the Japanese college students who were forced to leave their schools.

In summary, World War II had a huge effect on college life, especially in Utah. Food and supplies were rationed, college life was dominated by freshmen because upperclassmen were serving in the war, sports were canceled, and dislocated Japanese-American students were welcomed into local universities. The war changed college life in America in a way that may never be changed again.

Joe Coles is a senior at the University of Utah. He will graduate in spring 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism.

Sources

“Morale Shows Gain Favor of Audiences,” Utah Chronicle, April 30, 1942, 1.

“Work Swamps Office of Job Dispenser,” Utah Chronicle, April 30, 1942, 2.

“Campus Prepares for Drive On Victory Bonds,” Utah Chronicle, May 7, 1942, 2.

“Freshmen Offer Solution To Athletic Problem,” Utah Chronicle, May 7, 1942, 6.

“Cooking Group Limits Sugar For U Regents,” Utah Chronicle, May 7, 1942, 2.

Harold Heath, “Greater Bureaucracy In Government Endangers Democracy,” Utah Chronicle, May 7, 1942, 4.

Hays Gorey, “War Status to Cause Extensive Change In Student Activities,” Utah Chronicle, May 14, 1942, 2.

“College Life During World War II Based on Country’s Military Needs,” The Harvard Crimson, December 7, 1956.

Welker, R. Todd. “Utah Schools and the Japanese American Student Relocation,” Utah Historical Quarterly 70, No. 1 (Winter 2002): 4-20.