The Pacific

While we were in Fredericksburg last weekend on our journey to see the wildflowers, my little family stopped in at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Back in the middle ’90s, when it was called the Nimitz Museum, The Big M and I had gone there and poked around in what was little more than a giant shed housing broken down planes and guns from World War II. It certainly has changed. It’s now on par with any great history museum, Smithsonian included.

That night we visited my parents, and they presented me with magazines and newspapers that my grandparents had kept during the war. This presentation was coincidental but well-timed.

Corpus Christi was my dad’s hometown and the home of the Naval Air Station, a major base that produced more than 35,000 Navy fliers for the war. George H. W. Bush was the youngest ensign produced there during the war, earning his wings in 1943 at age 18. (The Pacific museum, by the way, has a Plaza of Presidents; every president from FDR to G.H.W. Bush served in WWII — all 10 of them. That’s pretty amazing.)

Here are some shots of  newspapers from December 8, 1941 that Dad’s parents saved:

That was the morning edition. I’ll give you a better picture of the Final Edition:

A close-up of the right side:

Inset from that article:

Who had the lone nay vote?

Since the dawn of time, it’s always a woman causing the problems, am I right, folks? Interesting lady, this Rankin. She became a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi after the war. See her Wiki entry here.

Newspaper map of Pearl Harbor:

I thought this was interesting because I didn’t realize men were being drafted *before* the U.S. entered the war:

Do they still call residents Corpus Christians?

Check out this movie ad:

And finally, see if you can pick out what’s weird about this article:

Wanly? Laconically? Deplored? What kind of crazy vocabulary is this for a family newspaper?

I’m going to enjoy sorting through all this old stuff.

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4 replies

  1. Wow. That’s really cool. I didn’t know Grandma and Grandpa (and your dad) saved all of those. What else is there?

    • There are some old Look and Life magazines with the covers ripped off. It takes a little sleuthing to figure out when they’re from. My mother’s parents kept magazines too, and she gave me those as well. Cool stuff from the ’40s. I’ll post more pics as I come across random/interesting stuff.

  2. In re: Draft

    Hindsight is 20/20. That said, Americans at that time had some pretty good glasses.

    From the moment war started in 1939, Americans suspected they would end up in the war, and in some cases took steps to prepare. Reaction at the time ranged from acceptance and preparation for eventual war to determination NOT to be dragged into the war. That said, the war was the elephant in the room, and could not be ignored no matter what happened. Roosevelt and the govt. didn’t want a repeat of WW1, where soldiers took months to train and ship to Europe. So… they initiated the draft in preparation of possible conflict. Not sure when it started, but I know it was going on by the summer of 1941 (a 21-year-old named Joe DiMaggio was drafted in Manhattan – the same day a slightly-older baseball player by the same name finally had his 56-game hitting streak broken.)

    • Interesting. I knew we were doing “Lend-Lease” with Britain, and were essentially fighting in the war without appearing to fight, but I didn’t realize prep had gone as far as a pre-war draft. Thanks for the explanation.

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