Browse Exhibits (3 total)
The Curtain Club was Ursinus' student theater organization that definitively originated in 1930, but it disappeared in 1968. During the same year, the club changed its name to "ProTheatre." By analyzing past articles from the Ursinus Weekly, Ruby yearbooks, diversity ratios among students, performances, and campus trends from the 1950s until 1968, we demonstrate that the name signifies Ursinus' focus on the transition into a more inclusive and democratic environment. Reorganizing the "Curtain Club" into "ProTheatre" signifies Ursinus' shift into being "pro-change."
This exhibit features collection of Ursinus Weekly and Lantern articles displaying how the Ursinus Community interacted with Vietnam War propaganda between 1955-1973. In doing so, we hope to answer the following question: How did Ursinus react to and interact with Vietnam propaganda between 1955 and 1975?
In the years of 1955-1960, the Military tried to build a sense of militaristic pride in the general public by using monetary rewards and tales of glory to make joining the armed forces seem like a noble, logical step for college grads. Nevertheless, there was still a growing contention regarding the war not only domestically but abroad.
While military culture was thriving at the very beginning of the 1960s as a result of the Cold War, it wasn't until around 1963 that the conflict between North and South Vietnam began to permeate our national consciousness. As we crept closer to war with Vietnam, there was no small amount of protest from students and student societies. This backlash was met by a corrective backlash from some educational institutions and other pro-intervention student groups.
In the years from 1966-1970, the government disseminated many prograganda statements regarding the war--that America was winning and that it was the duty of Americans to enlist. Ursinus, in accordance with the general public, reacted against such statements strongly. To Ursinus, the U.S. was not winning in Vietnam. To voice their strong opinions against the war, Ursinus hosted many anti-Vietnam speakers and participated in a nationwide Vietnam War moratorium that occurred amid a backdrop of nationwide protests over Vietnam.
In the years 1971 to 1973, the Ursinus community was focused on getting the soldiers home and what to do once the war officially ended. While there seems to be a consensus throughout the community that the war should end, there was a great deal of contention over what to do once the war was over. The Ursinus Weekly articles feature the community interacting with Vietnam War propaganda to try and navigate how to view the United States, how far to take protests, how to handle returning soldiers and draft dodgers, and who should take responsibility for the war. There appeared to be a great deal of unanswered questions regarding the war.
The second World War reared its ugly head in Europe in 1939 when Poland fell victim of Germany's blitzkrieg and the Soviet war machine simultaneously. While shocked, the American public largely maintained their isolationist viewpoint for some 2 years following this unexpected invasion. This, of course, changed dramatically when the United States was the target of a surprise attack by the Imperial forces of Japan in December of 1941. Almost overnight, the United States went from being 68% in favor of sending aid, to being 91% in favor of direct military involvement.
Imagine the dramatic shift to go from a standard college student to having to legitimately consider direct personal involvement in a distant war with threats looming on two fronts. This change is exactly what we as a group have set out to examine through our research of Ursinus documents. Specifically, we are observing general attitudes about the war, how rationing effected campus life, how residence life shifted, a summation of who from the community served, and how the news of the war was reported through the school's newspapers.
Through this project, we are looking to answer how specifically the Ursinus community during World War II changed. We believe that the shifts are most noticeably see through the five categories of research presented in the tabs on the right.
"Promise/Anthem" on display on the upper floor of the Wismer dining hall on campus at Ursinus College.
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