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Preparing for War

Franklin D. Roosevelt to Mr. Administrator

Franklin D. Roosevelt to Mr. Administrator, 14 August 1940 
Records of the Office of Chancellor: Robert Burton House Series

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 the consolidated University of North Carolina (the University at Chapel Hill, the State College at Raleigh and the Woman's College in Greensboro) had already been preparing for war for more than a year. Indeed, the full resources of the consolidated university had been offered to the federal government by President Frank Porter Graham and the Board of Trustees. In a 10 August 1940 resolution, the trustees had pledged to improve aviation facilities for instruction at Raleigh and Chapel Hill, establish required military training for male undergraduates at Chapel Hill and undertake a program of mandatory physical instruction until such time as military training could be established.

The trustee-appointed University Committee on National Defense had already been hard at work, surveying the department heads and administrative officers for suggestions on how best to prepare the university to meet the country's needs in a national emergency. The committee had embraced the need to focus on physical education and training; inventory expertise within the ranks of faculty, staff and students; identify available university research facilities; and provide meaningful education and informal discussions of contemporary world conflicts and current events.

Members of the faculty had already assumed important governmental posts and production points in the national defense, and many alumni had already entered the armed forces. Though the Army had decided not to establish any new ROTC units, a Naval ROTC unit was established in 1940 at the University in Chapel Hill and the Department of Naval Science and Tactics was also established here.

The university had begun construction of the 600-acre Horace Williams Airport, and had been participating in the Civil Aeronautics Administration's program for training civilian pilots. Completion of the new field gave the university expanded facilities for pilot training, and paved the way for the later establishment of the Navy Pre-Flight Training School.

Archibald Henderson to Professor Bradshaw

Archibald Henderson to Professor Bradshaw, 4 July 1940 
Records of the College for War Training

In June of 1940, North Carolina Governor Clyde Roark Hoey appointed a committee of trustees "to consider the matter of military training at Chapel Hill." Dean of Administration Robert Burton House requested that Professors Herman Glenn Baity, Robert Ervin Coker, Corydon Perry Spruill and Dean of Students Francis F. Bradshaw survey department heads and administrative offices for suggestions on how the university could modify its program "so that we shall better do our part in the national emergency." Kenan Professor of Mathematics Archibald Henderson responded by suggesting several mathematics courses that could be taught, including: Trigonometry "for men proposing to use artillery in any form"; Plane Table Surveying for "mapping on the co-ordinate system"; Theory of Least Squares, "for preparation for the study of Gunnery"; Gunnery for Heavy Artillery; and Theory of Ballistics.

Frank Porter Graham, Convocation address

Frank Porter Graham, Convocation address, 27 September 1940 
Records of the Office of President, UNC System: Frank Porter Graham Files

A letter was sent from President Roosevelt to the administrators of the nation's colleges and universities in response to a growing concern that young people were planning to postpone or interrupt their education in order to volunteer for military service or other war work. Roosevelt expressed his belief that "it is their patriotic duty to continue the normal course of their education, unless and until they are called, so that they will be well prepared for greatest usefulness to their country." This sentiment was echoed by consolidated University of North Carolina President Frank Porter Graham in his 27 September 1940 convocation address "The University and National Defense." Graham urged university students to stay in school in order to complete their training as "integrated human being[s]" and stated, "In our conception of national defense as total defense, we hold that every student, every citizen, every farm, industry, business, institution, and agency of the people's life can make their best contribution to national defense by being their optimum selves."

Lee M. Brooks to Dean Bradshaw

Lee M. Brooks to Dean Bradshaw, 1 July 1940 
Records of the College for War Training

Though university faculty took Dean Bradshaw's survey seriously, some couldn't resist adding amusing personal notes to their responses. Sociology Professor Lee M. Brooks assured Bradshaw that "this Department stands ready to serve in any way possible in programs that will mean stability and security," then added the following note: "It's a long, long trail from books to bullets, or is it? Mein Kampf, - Mein Gott!" [My Fight, - My God!]

Frank Porter Graham

Frank Porter Graham, ca. 1940s, photo by Bayard Wootten 
Frank Porter Graham Papers

Frank Porter Graham's years as president of the consolidated university were difficult ones, coinciding with a critical time in our nation's history - the era of the Great Depression and World War II and its aftermath. His primary concern as president was to establish an administrative structure for the university as a whole and to coordinate the academic programs of the campuses to curtail duplication. With firm connections to the Roosevelt administration in Washington, Graham served as a member of the National Defense Mediation Board, the National War Labor Board and the Maritime War Emergency Board during World War II.

Carolina Volunteer Training Corps

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the students of the university held a mass meeting to vote for the immediate organization of a military unit called the Carolina Volunteer Training Corps (CVTC), open to all male students of the university. Early in January 1942, four hundred students were organized into a battalion of four companies and drill instruction was begun. At the same time, military science classes were incorporated into the academic schedule, taught by officers of the Army Reserve Corps and by faculty members with previous military experience. It was the first university sponsored training unit of its kind in the country.

The CVTC was under the direction of a headquarters staff composed of Lieutenant Colonel William A. Raborg, retired (executive), Captain Henry R. Totten, Corydon P. Spruill, James B. Bullitt, Oliver K. Cornwell, Floyd T. Siewert, Roland B. Parker, Earl A. Slocum, and H. A. Kear; Cadet Battalion Commander Charles W. Jenkins; and Cadet Adjutant Henry Wisebram, the university student given most of the credit for the CVTC's establishment.

A CVTC band was organized with instruments provided by the university. A uniform was adopted, regulations were issued and wooden guns were purchased by the students themselves. Colors were furnished to the corps and the university provided office personnel and space for storing guns and supplies. By the beginning of 1943 the CVTC consisted of a battalion headquarters, six basic (recruit) companies, two training (advanced) companies, and a band. With the commissioning of the Navy Pre-Flight School at the university in the spring of 1942 and the addition of Naval ROTC, Navy V-12, Army Pre-Meteorology, and the Army Specialized Training Program to its available military training programs, interest in the CVTC dwindled to a handful of civilian students by the fall of 1943 and the program came to an end.

Frank P. Graham to Colonel Venable

Frank P. Graham to Colonel Venable, 11 December 1941 
Records of the College for War Training

In this telegram to Colonel Venable of the War Department in Washington, D.C., consolidated university President Frank Porter Graham informed Venable of the organization of the Carolina Volunteer Training Corps (CVTC) and requested federal government assistance to aid in funding the groundbreaking program. However, no federal funding was forthcoming, and the university and the students themselves shouldered the burden of equipment and supplies for the CVTC.

Roland B. Parker to W. D. Carmichael

Roland B. Parker to W. D. Carmichael, 6 February 1942 
Records of the Vice President for Finance, UNC System

Roland B. Parker

Roland B. Parker, 1943 
1943 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection

Dean of Men Roland B. Parker was also on the headquarters staff of the Carolina Volunteer Training Corps (CVTC). In this letter he appealed to William D. Billy Carmichael, controller of the consolidated university, for help to outfit the men in the corps. "The boys are particularly anxious for military caps, which Mr. Weisebaum [Henry Wisebram] informs me can be purchased for $1.00 each." Parker suggested that "our loyal alumni of considerable wealth might be interested in financing these purchases." Parker also mentioned that Captain Totten had been called into service.

Henry Roland Totten

Henry Roland Totten, 1958 
North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives

A professor of botany at the University of North Carolina from 1913 to 1963, Henry Roland Totten was a field artillery officer in the Army in World War I, remained in the Army Reserve Corps in between the wars and served as adjutant at Camp Blanding in Florida during World War II. Prior to being called for service during the second world war, he helped organize and train Carolina students in the CVTC and served on its headquarters staff.

Carolina Volunteer Training Corps

Carolina Volunteer Training Corps, 1942 
1942 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection

Carolina Volunteer Training Corps Drill

Carolina Volunteer Training Corps Drill, 1943 
1943 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection

Prior to the adoption of a standard uniform and equipment, the CVTC was outfitted in sweatshirts bearing the logo W. G. (for Woollen Gym).

College for War Training

Established in November 1942 as a result of studies conducted by the Faculty Committee on the University and National Defense, the College for War Training was administered by Dean Francis F. Bradshaw and Executive Officer Guy B. Phillips. Bradshaw, dean of students and professor of philosophy, had been an officer in the field artillery during World War I. Phillips was professor of education and director of the Summer School.

The purpose of the program was to serve as a protection to the Liberal Arts and General Education opportunities by providing the framework for necessary adjustments to critical demands and emergencies without breaking down the other standards. In fact, the College for War Training coordinated with the deans of other schools and departments in the university to insure that students received the education necessary to respond to the national emergency as well as fulfilling their degree requirements. The College offered a Pre-Induction program to prepare students for war service as well as assisting with the establishment of the Navy and Army programs, including the Pre-Meteorology, Army Specialized Training Program, Naval ROTC and V-12.

Frank P. Graham to Dean R. B. House

Frank P. Graham to Dean R. B. House, 26 October 1942 
Records of the Office of Chancellor: R. B. House Series

Consolidated university President Frank Porter Graham wrote to Dean of Administration Robert Burton House to give his blessing to the establishment of the College of War Studies, and authorized the appointment of Francis Bradshaw as dean and Guy Phillips as executive secretary and administrative officer.

College for War Training brochure

College for War Training brochure, 1942 
Records of the Vice President for Finance, UNC System

This College for War Training issue of Tar Heel Topics explains that the college has been organized to provide the framework for specialized curricula in War Services and invites inquiries. The Pre-Induction courses planned by the college could extend from three months to eighteen months, depending on the age of the applicant and the war service he or she planned to enter.

College for War Training advisory board meeting agenda

College for War Training advisory board meeting agenda, 18 May 1944 
Records of the Department of English

College for War Training certificate of completion

College for War Training certificate of completion, 1944
Records of the College for War Training

The College for War Training was advised by a board that included Dr. Coker (zoology), Dr. Bost (chemistry), Dr. Browne (mathematics), O. K. Cornwell (physical education), Dr. Harrer (classics), Dr. Howell (English), Dr. Meyer (sociology), Dr. Robson (political science), Dr. Ruark (physics), Dr. L. R. Wilson (library science), and Dr. Winslow (economics). Topics to be discussed at this meeting included Boys 16-18 and Girls in war majors and war minors.

Francis Foster Bradshaw

Francis Foster Bradshaw, 1943 
1943 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection

Professor of philosophy and dean of students Francis F. Bradshaw served as dean of the College for War Training.

Guy Berryman Phillips

Guy Berryman Phillips, 1956 
North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives

Guy B. Phillips, professor of economics and director of the Summer School, was appointed executive officer of the College for War Training.

World War II - War Information Center

In November 1941, the Faculty Committee on National Defense established a University Center for Civilian Morale Service dedicated to public discussion and understanding of the issues and problems of the National Defense. Directed by Russell Grumman of the University Extension Division, this center kept the university community informed about the war and provided the information necessary to train leaders to hold public forums and discussions and to interact with civic organizations in the area. On 8 December 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor, the War Information Center was established and ready for business in a conspicuous location in the main lobby of the Library (now Wilson Library). A basic collection of books and other published materials dealing with various phases of the war, including United Nations and federal government pamphlets, maps, charts, posters, and newspaper clippings was organized and available for use on open shelves.

"Information Center" brochure

"Information Center" brochure, 21 January 1942 
Records of the Office of the University Librarian

This brochure describes the services of the War Information Center and expresses the view that "freedom of inquiry is one of America's basic freedoms." It also recognizes the Library's duty to provide "authentic information, sound teaching and valid interpretations, together with opposing opinions." In addition to loaning materials to in-house visitors, the Center prepared and mailed out packets of information to individuals, forums, clubs, and organizations throughout the state upon request, charging only the cost of postage both ways.

Charles E. Rush to Dean Bradshaw and Professor Phillips

Charles E. Rush to Dean Bradshaw and Professor Phillips, 11 November 1942 
Records of the Office of Chancellor: R. B. House Series

In this memorandum to Dean Francis Bradshaw and Professor Guy Phillips of the College of War Training, Librarian Charles E. Rush tactfully informed them that the Library would be only too willing to acquire books and other materials to support the new College, but would require additional funding in order to really "go to town."

War Information CenterĀ 

War Information Center 
1942 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection

This photograph from the 1942 yearbook shows the lobby of the Library (now Wilson Library) transformed into the War Information Center. Books, pamphlets, maps, charts, and other materials were available for use on open shelves and signs encouraged patrons to "Watch trends in subversive ideas" and to "Be alert - Be prepared - Intelligently."