Chapter 3, Part 1 – The War Years

1940 – 1950: The War and its Aftermath

  • Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry made their cartoon debuts.
  • U.S. entered World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Congress created G.I. Bill for WW II veterans.
  • Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki end WW II.
  • U.N. founded after World War II; replaced League of Nations.
  • UFO crashed at Roswell, N.M.
  • Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.
  • Microwave oven invented.
  • President Harry Truman re-elected.
  • Soviet blockade of Berlin began.

The Great Depression was financially challenging for everyone and it was particularly difficult for the college to enroll sufficient numbers of students to remain viable. The college flirted with bankruptcy throughout the 1930s, but the commencement of World War II in early December 1941 would bring WSC even closer to the brink of closure.

World War II

Many of the students enrolled at WSC in the fall of 1941 withdrew in winter term to enlist in the armed services. Prospective students at WSC enlisted or were called up by the draft. It was only through the generosity of Drs. Albert and Kathryn Budden and Dr. Milton I. Higgens of Idaho that the doors of WSC remained open and the lights on. The Buddens and Higgens dipped deeply into their personal assets to keep the college alive for the duration of the war.

World War II was the defining event for an entire generation and life in the United States would not be the same. Most historical accounts of World War II make reference to the transformative nature of that event. In just over three years and nine months, the country would release itself from the grip of the Great Depression and emerge as a powerful and vibrant nation, poised to help reshape the entire world.

Evidence of the transformation can be seen in almost every historical record kept from that period. Even in the minutes of the WSC student government, one can see evidence of a change in student perspective as the war unfolded. Prior to Dec. 7, 1941, student government meetings focused mostly on social activities:

  • Details regarding athletics, such as choosing colors, mascots and uniforms.
  • Various gatherings and get-togethers, including holiday parties and fund-raisers.
  • Financial concerns such as dues and which items should be purchased for social events.

After Dec. 7, 1941, student government meetings focused on more serious issues, politics and the War, but not to the exclusion of some social activities:

  • How to pay for unpaid association dues of servicemen, creation of a “Scroll of Honor” for former students serving in the armed forces, public notification of veterans returning from the war, appropriate acknowledgement of former students killed in action and efforts to start a letter writing campaign to former students serving overseas.
  • Whether or not to merge or discontinue certain specific organizations due to the decreased number of students left on campus while others were working or at war.
  • How to go about sending the college newsletter to servicemen.
  • Christmas party, monthly potlucks followed by “games and fun-making,” dinner parties.

The war dominated the thinking and actions of WSC students, but it was not the only factor to influence student behavior. For some students, there were obligations that trumped even a Second World War. The student government minutes of March 10, 1943, recount the objections of a student who had been asked to assist in a college-sponsored dinner event. He was concerned, “…he would have to work all Sunday morning and thus, he would of necessity go to Hell while the rest of the student body went to heaven.” His objection was tabled for discussion at a later date.

Prior to and throughout the war years, the college continued to publish copies of Vitality, a trade magazine for Oregon Chiropractors. Dr. W.A. Budden served on the editorial board of the magazine or was the editor for most of the publications during this period. A number of editions published in 1941 and 1942 still exist and illustrate how the focus of the chiropractic profession changed in response to the war.

Vitality: Magazine of Health – January 1941
Vitality: Magazine of Health – February 1941
Vitality: Magazine of Health – May 1941
Vitality: Magazine of Health – September 1941
Vitality: Magazine of Health – October 1941
Vitality: Magazine of Health – February 1942
Vitality: Magazine of Health – March 1942
Vitality: Magazine of Health – April 1942
Vitality: Magazine of Health – May 1942
Vitality: Magazine of Health – July 1942

The college’s audited budget for 1944