They were young citizens, most not old enough to vote. They answered their nation’s call to war after enduring the Great Depression.
Many had never been more than fifty miles away from the place where they were born, yet, these youngsters traveled thousands of miles to engage in history’s greatest global conflict- World War II.
Millions of young people from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand formed the Allied Forces to enter into deadly combat with their counterparts of the Axis Powers from Germany, Italy, Japan, Austria, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia. The Allied goal was to free Poland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, large portions of China, Korea, Manchuria, hundreds of islands in the Pacific, and nearly all of Southeast Asia, all under the dictatorships of the Axis Powers.
While World War I was horrific in to itself to be sure, the twentieth century had two defining events: the Great Depression, which began in 1929, and the Second World War, which ended it in 1940.
From 1929 until the mid-1945, the world was in crisis. As late as 1944, it wasn’t clear whether the Allied nations would prevail against the A”\.is Powers. After the surrenders of these nations, the victors would discover just how close the A”\.is was in developing new and horrific war machines that would have turned the tide of battle in their favor.
Ironically, if it hadn’t have been for that world war, the Depression might have dragged on for several more years. Out of necessity, the United States pulled itself from economic ruin by gearing up for war.
Thousands of men and women were put back to work churning out war mate rials in defense factories, while millions of other young men became citizen soldiers.
With the Selective Service Act brought back. in 1940 by Congress, a new term crept into the American slang: “GI,” which stood for “Government Issue.” Whether a young man volunteered or was drafted into the U.S. Army, he was known as a ~GI “-citizen soldier.
About the Author
Thomas J. Morrow grew up in a small southern Iowa fanning community listening to war stories brought back by veterans of World War II.
Some 90 percent of Seymour, Iowa’s young men were drawn into the greatest global conflict in history. Since growing up and becoming a journalist, the author has spent a lifetime of studying the war, talking with veterans, and writing their stories.
For the past twenty-fiye years, Morrow has written numerous columns and feature articles about World War II veterans for the daily North County Times in Oceanside, California.
During World War II, the Morrow family lived in lincoln, Nebraska, where his father, Jared Morrow, worked as a foreman at the Goodyear Rubber Company’s Hayelock plant making rubber gas tanks for the B-29 Superfortress bomber.
The first realization of the war, other than Uncles in uniform and parental discussions, was traveling between Lincoln and Seymour along state Highway 2. The Morrow family would pass the huge Prisoner of War Camp near the southwestern Iowa community of Clarinda.
Although just a small child at the time, the author well remembers his mother pointing out the Gennan POWs working in the fields near the highway, saying, “Look, Tommy, look at the Nazis!”
The author graduated from high school in Seymour, Iowa, and through the years earned three college degrees.
For more than forty years he has enjoyed life as a newspaper reporter and editor, with twenty years spent as the daily community columnist for the North County Times in Oceanside, just north of San Diego, California. He retired from the newspaper in 2009.
As an award-winning newspaper reporter and columnist, the author interviewed dozens of Allied and Gernan combat veterans of World War II while doing research for this book.
To my grandchildren so they may know that freedom comes with a very high price, as evidenced in the following stories.