Attitudes on Campus Towards the War


After the war broke out in Europe, the United States was set on staying out of the conflict, but soon after Pearl Harbor a lot of mindsets towards the war changed as well as many stayed the same. This page is aiming to show the change of attitudes towards the war here at Ursinus college from the articles in the school newspaper called the Weekly. This page will go through articles through the years of the war (1939-1945) and will examine how their attitudes and approach to speaking about the war may have changed or if they stayed the same, throughout the years of the war.

In 1939, Mark D. Alspach introduces the idea of how other countries were reaching out to the United States in their “hour of national emergency” but explains how he was reluctant to do so since these are the same countries that did not want to pay their debts from WWI and referred to the U.S as “Uncle Shylock.” Mark later talks about how he hopes the U.S can “keep our fingers out of the fire this time.” He seems to be very fearful of another world war breaking out and this fear seems to be derived from the impact of WWI and he acknowledges how destructive another war would be. Mark is displaying the attitude towards the war is that, it's not our fight to fight and that it would hurt America more than it would help America.

This article was written one week after the attacks of Pearl Harbor, these attacks came from the Japanese on our naval base in Pearl Harbor, killing around 2,400 American soldiers, this event prompted us to join World War II. In this article, it seems that the realization started to set in very quickly for all students around campus as well as the faculty. Instead of looking for internships or job opportunities, these students were preparing to go fight a war across the globe. This article wanted to let the students know that this time of peace and “Happy state will not last”, he wanted any student that may not have realized how much their life will change to know that a change was coming and coming fast. In this writing, the author seems resolved in his duty and understands that his time to go fight may come soon, but just wishes the government would let the students know if they were going to fight, as they said, “We don’t shirk our duty-we merely want to know what it is.” This comment lets us know that these students were willing to do what they had to for our country if the country was transparent with them. The attitudes from the previous articles seem to have changed a lot since the U.S was the one being attacked now. This is very understandable, the people in the United States did not feel a threat in the years previous but now since American lives were lost, we felt like it was our time to intervene, Americans now felt like it was their time to fight.

The first article here is called Forgive and forget, where Leon North is dicusses how the U.S should handle other countries after the war is done. Leon first explains how the first human instinct would be to get revenge and makes these countries repay us for the war, and to "clip their wings." Leon goes on to explain other ways that people would like to sanction these countires. The next paragraph Leon then explains how all these tactics have been used before and the only thing that came from that is "wars and more wars." Leon wants the Ursinus campus to know that putting sanction and attempting to cripple these countries will only lead to more wars and the only way to move on from this is to "Forgive and Forget." This article is now looking towards the end of the war, people here on campus felt like the U.S needed to start to look at how to handle things after the war is won now, instand of foucusing on the war itself unlike the previous article.

In this second article called An Apology for Peace, Joy Harter is attempting to call for peace and writes a poem claming to be "Peace". The article speaks about how mens minds have been "Educated towards war" and peace apologies for them not willing to accept it, and clams they will only accept "Pseudo-Peace" witch allows for the thrill of wars. Peace is claming men need the thrill of war and this is the reason we allow something like this to countinue. Attitudes towards the war have shifted since 1941, as this last two articles were from 1942 and 1943, these articles are a call for peace and to end this war, while in 1941 they realized it was their time to fight for their country. This change in attitude came from the thousands of lives lost and people coming to the realization that this war could countinue for years, and us realizing that peace is the only way to prevent a war like this from happening again.


In 1945 the war came to an end things seemed to coming back to normal again here on campus with the largest freshmen class ever here at Ursinus college in 1945. With the biggest incoming class here at Ursinus 22 of them were vetrens from the army, as well as 9 of them working on the V-12 in the Navy. Just because the war was now over not everything was the same as the article explains, "The college enrollment as a whole includes 132 men and 402 women." This dispropotion of females to males is still an effect of the war, with a lot of veterns choosing to not go to school yet, especially with this new G.I. Bill this was surprising to see.

This next article also comes from 1945 and has to do with the vetrens returning to campus. This article is called Students Return to Their Alma Mater, and just like the previous article it goes into the students returning to Ursinus. Things on campus will take a long time to go back to normal after the war, but in 1945 things slowly started to get back to normal here at Ursinus.


A lot of things changed through this 6 year period, but through these articles we can see how some of the attitude here on campus changed a lot throughout the war. In the article from 1939 the attitude towards the war was much different then in 1941. In the article Home Sweet Home, Was Never Sweeter, Mark D. Alspach feels strongly that this war is not the United States problem and feels that we should not get involved. In 1941 that attitude quickly switched as in the article Where Do We Go From Here, we can see how after the United States was attacked we now felt like it was finally our time to get involved, this article wanted to prepare the students and staff for what was to come after we got involved in this war. Quickly after that in 1943 its clear to see that people around campus wanted this fighting to end and wanted peace around the war. It did not seem like people around campus were nervous about the United States winning the war but more nervous about how to deal with the other countries after the war came to an end. The nect article from 1943 named An Apology For Peace Joy Harter writes a poem from "peaces'" point of veiw, from this article its easy to tell that people only wanted peace but were concerned with the fact that there may never be complete peace. After the war had ended in 1945 things seemed to go back to normal with a lot less articles written about the war and with the new incoming class be the largest in school history. It is very interesting to see how fast attitudes can change thoughout a few years and with new classes coming in and out it was clear to see the difference in opinions.

Attitudes on Campus Towards the War