World War II

In the late 1930's Griggs County citizens were much concerned about existing conditions in countries across the Atlantic.  Not until October 16, 1940, did it strike close to home.  On that date men in the 21 to 35 age bracket had to register for a peacetime draft for one year of military training.  A few of those who registered volunteered for service in the winter of 1940-41.  By spring the first draftees left for Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for further medical exams and processing.  From here they were sent to various camps for their basic training.  Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, became temporary homes for many young men from this area.

With the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii, December 7, 1941, the one-year enlistments became duration plus six months.  A shocked nation stepped up its preparation for a long and costly war.  On the home front shipyards, aircraft and ammunition plants operated around the clock.  Factories, of all kinds, were converted to defense production causing shortages for the civilian population.  The effects were felt from the implement dealer to the grocery store where rationing and priorities were commonplace.  Persons who were unemployed or failed to qualify for the military found profitable employment in defense work.

For persons in the military service their destination was decided for them.  On one side it was from the desert of Africa to the Normandy beaches.  On the other side it was from New Guinea to the Aleutian Islands with extremes of climatic conditions in scores of Islands in between.  "C" rations, "K" rations and mail call kept the overseas boys fighting for months, which turned into years for those who survived the battles.  Censored mail from overseas and limited space on the "V" mail revealed little of the war the men and women overseas were experiencing.

Following the successful landing at Normandy the end of the European war was a matter of time.  Local people remember VE (Victory Europe) day as May 8, 1945.  During the summer of 1945 the Pacific forces were closing in on the home islands of Japan.  The bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima hastened the end and VJ (Victory Japan) day came on August 14.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 176

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