20th Century, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Homefront During World War II

northern_pump

December 1941 to September 1945
Like “Rosie the Riveter” of the popular song, thousands of Minnesota women don coveralls and take manufacturing jobs to support the war effort. From the home to the field to the factory, everyone pitches in.

As the wartime government promotes women in the workforce, companies distribute brochures offering “Equal Pay for Equal Work.” By 1944, 31.5% of eligible women are employed nationwide; in Saint Paul so many women work the late shift that the YWCA organizes dances that begin at 1:00 in the morning.

Minnesota companies transition as well: Munsingwear makes military garments; Crown Iron Works makes portable bridges and pontoons; Andersen Corporation makes prefab huts; Honeywell makes precision instruments like gunsights; and the Northern Pump Company builds a new plant in 3 months—”the finest machine shop on the globe”—and with 7,000 employees becomes the largest supplier of munitions for the navy.

Children also participate. Minnesota Memo to Women reports in 1943 that “twelve year old Mary Helen Spillane of Backus has purchased a $25.00 War Bond each month since Pearl Harbor. War Bonds will put Helen through college. (Lucky Helen!)” *

Can we stop a moment and ponder how World War II changed those who remained at home with You, dear Father? Before we enter the gates of that question, let’s consider the complexity and immensity of Your thoughts on Justice throughout the ages. We thank You that though You may be perceived by some to be a Vengeful G-d of War and ordainer of the battles of Israel and the Church, that You are also known as the Prince of Peace.

How can this be? We can fail to recognize the paradoxical truths of Your nature though surrounded by examples of them everyday. We can relate to You as parents who strive to live peaceful lives, yet robustly defend and discipline of our children from evil. We may defend them from violent external attacks, offer them a new perspective in their self-imposed accusations, and teach them to reject lies and practice emotional discipline in their thinking.

Do we categorize ourselves as “Humans of Vengeance” as often as we mislabel You as the “Old Testament G-d of Vengeance”? Do we recognize that love can vigorously defend innocence from the vile, and the kind-hearted from the cruel? You know us Lord; we do both. Our love is too soft at times, and our “tough love” can be too tough. Have mercy as we contemplate Your Nature below:
“’The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ “ ** NLT Numbers 14:18
In an age consumed with the virtues of non-judgment and denial of good and evil, we give You honor as the only Judge who Brings Eternal Justice. With the prophet Isaiah, we remember Your promise to: “shew from the beginning the things that shall be at last, and from ancient times the things that as yet are not done, saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done’… *** Douay-Rheims Bible Isaiah 46:10
And that seems to expose the root of our human problems that lead to war: we want our will to be done, not Yours. The leaders of a society reflect the beliefs and misbeliefs of that society. States and nations that have rejected Your prudential will necessarily reject the image of G-d in their neighbor. Will You forgive us when and where we have longed for the destruction of our enemies as individuals, and collectively as families, tribes, peoples, and nations?
For the men who served; Your will be done.
For the men who remained at home; Your will be done.
For the women who stepped up and built our war materiel; Your will be done.
For the children who lost time with their mothers and fathers as Minnesota participated in WWII; Your will be done.
For the children who took leadership to defend our Republic in ways large and small; Your will be done.
For Minnesota’s companies, large and small, who offered their skills: Munsingwear, Crown Iron Works, Andersen Corporation, Honeywell, Northern Pump Company, and many others unnamed, yet worthy; Your will be done.
For those who bought War Bonds, or financially contributed to the defense of our unalienable rights; Your will be done.

For the ways and practices of separation and sin we have learned from our participation in World War II, we confess our wrongs, and ask that You remove the curses of these sins in the present. May we bless the future, where we aligned with Your will in standing against the ideals of Fascism, Stalinism, and the defiance of Your Dominion over humanity.
May we reject the mantra of the Enemy in Minnesota; “My will be done” that leads to evil and death!
May we say together presently and beyond; “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done” so that we may have peace and life!
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://biblehub.com/numbers/14-18.htm
*** https://biblehub.com/isaiah/46-10.htm

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20th Century, History, Men, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Minnesota Enters World War II

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December 7, 1941
On the morning of December 7, 1941, members of a Minnesota Naval Reserve Division on the U.S.S. Ward are patrolling the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The crew spots and sinks a midget submarine—the first shots fired by the United States in World War II. An hour later the air attack begins that will draw the U.S. into the war. Private Milburn Henke of Hutchinson, serving with the American Expeditionary Force, will become the first enlisted man deployed to the European theater. *

Carl and Louise Henke had a son August 24, 1918, and they named him Milburn. He grew up in Hutchinson, Minnesota, and partook of the pastimes of boys then: hunting, fishing, working for his father, and playing baseball. Soon, he enlisted voluntarily, and was assigned to “B” Company, 135th Infantry Regiment of the 34th “Red Bull” Division which was merged with Iowa National Guard’s “B” Company, 133rd Regiment during training. **

The Red Bulls landed in Belfast on January 26, 1942, approximately one month after Pearl Harbor. Henke was promptly asked to meet with General Russell Hartle. The General inquired if he was willing to speak with reporters. “Well, if I have to, I think I can,” Henke replied. **

A publicity event welcomed him: a cheering crowd, photographers, and reporters. He had to walk down the gangplank six times so that the press could get a perfect shot of the first American soldier to set foot in Europe?! The newspapers and magazines had a feeding frenzy with Henke, but the climax was meeting the Queen and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Though highly publicized, Private Henke served like any G.I. and did his duty. In North Africa, he earned a Silver Star by saving his wounded Lieutenant by dragging him to safety under heavy fire. After liberating Tunisia, Milburn was wounded during preparations for the invasion of Italy. His back was broken when his weapons carrier rolled over onto him. **,***

Such were the sacrifices of these brave Minnesotans and Iowans! Please read this well-researched excerpt from the article “Private First Class Milburn Henke Lands In Belfast, Ireland” by Jason McDonald.
“The 34th Division fought in North Africa and Italy for the entire war, the longest serving unit in the United States Army. Very few of the 4,058 men who landed with Henke were left in the unit in 1945; only seven men who landed in Northern Ireland remained in 1st battalion in 1945.” ***

Lord, I’m so humbled and honored by this recollection of Milburn Henke and his 4,000 brothers that I can barely write. I thank You for the character given to these young men by their upbringing. I thank You for their obedience to do their duty in the face of suffering and death.

It reminds me of Your sacrifice, Father. You let Your son be torn in two by the Roman Empire, the accusations of the Sanhedrin, and the collective blindness of humanity?! Too few can recount the parental sacrifice of Your only Son, and too many are indifferent to Your pain. I include myself, shamefully, to the list.

I do not know if I possess the character to let my children die so the children of strangers can live. If I did, I would want to force my neighbor to remember this sacrifice. Likely, I would driven to rage by irreverence or indifference of the community to my pain.

Will You forgive my irreverence and indifference to the humiliation and public execution of Christ? Will You forgive Minnesota the irreverence and indifference to the humiliations and deaths of these elders from the 34th? Will You give us their strong portion of vigilance so that future generations will have the privilege to experience liberty?

Give us a heart like Henke. When and where conflict arises, let us volunteer to oppose it. Will You bless us to humbly do our duty today? We remember the existential threat World War II presented our State and Nation. We ask that You enable present and future generations to have the same resolve whether given heroic praise or no recognition for their efforts; “Well, if have to, I think I can.”

In parting, we are grateful that You acknowledge our efforts to serve. Like Henke’s story, we give You honor that You can do so much with a single choice! May we choose Your way; grace and truth, resolve and mettle.

“Little Is Much When God Is in It”

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown, and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.
Kittie L. Suffield, 1924 ****
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.mnmilitarymuseum.org/exhibits/veterans-page/sgt-milburn-h-henke/?ccm_paging_p_b3480=2
*** http://worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0193
**** https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Little_Is_Much_When_God_Is_in_It/

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20th Century, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Off to War

guidon

December 1941 to September 1945
Fort Snelling once again becomes an induction and training center during World War II. Over 300,000 recruits pass through the 120-year-old fortress on their way to battlefields in Europe and Asia.*

Below is a fantastic, authoritatively researched summary of the uses of Fort Snelling during World War II from the Minnesota Historical Society.

“When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Fort Snelling became the induction point for more than 300,000 men and women who joined the armed forces. At its height in 1942, the Reception Center was capable of processing approximately 800 recruits each day. Recruits were sworn into the US military, received medical examinations and vaccinations, were classified and assigned to a unit, and were issued basic equipment. Most recruits stayed at Fort Snelling for only a short time before they were transferred to other military posts to begin their basic training.
Linking the lower and upper posts with the Reception Center was an electric streetcar called the “Fort Snelling Dummy.” In their off time soldiers at the fort enjoyed dances and socials, swimming pools and golfing, as well as a movie theater and post libraries run by the Red Cross.
In addition to inducting recruits, specialized units were organized and trained at the fort. Military Police were trained at the fort as well as the 99th Infantry Battalion, (eventually part of the 474th Infantry Regiment), made up of Norwegian-speaking soldiers who trained to fight on skis and snowshoes. Military Railway Service soldiers trained with local civilian railroad companies in the operation of the military’s railroads, going on to provide valuable logistics service in North Africa and Europe.” **

Let us reflect on the inductions and uses of Fort Snelling with You, Our Defender. We applaud Your consistent character and commitment to justice towards all! We commend You, Christ, as our advocate and defender, as our Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as both the Lamb and the Lion.

We remember the faithfulness of these 300,000 Americans to defend this land, its flag, and its Constitution of unalienable rights granted to all by Your authority. We reflect on their commitment that went far beyond words; they demonstrated their love for this place by offering their minds, soul, body, and strength! We ask that You honor their commitment to fulfill their duty regardless of the price. Will You bless current and future generations of Minnesotans with their kind of durable love; a love not based on emotion, but choosing to be committed no matter the cost?

We know that our society was deeply split about involving ourselves in foreign wars that did not directly affect North America after the upheaval of the Great War (W.W.I). Please read the quote from Charles Lindbergh Sr., who at the time was a retired U.S. House of Representatives member from Minnesota’s 6th District. In his (in)famous Des Moines, Iowa speech of September 11,1941 Lindbergh posits, “As I have said, these war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people; but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people to stay out of war, they have marshaled the power of their propaganda, their money, their patronage.” *** Will You forgive the judgments of 1941, both those supporting the wars in Europe and Japan, and the counter-judgments of those in the anti-war movement? Will You help us to hear the wisdom in the voices of both groups, and to more wisely protect our lands, people, and Constitution in the future?

We thank You that You did not condemn our sense of nationalism in this era, or condemn our love for America and its ideals of life, liberty, and property. Your Word gives us two powerful examples that should restrain nationalism within the bounds of wisdom. On the one hand, we have Your example the Psalm 137:5-6 exhorting all Israel to loyalty.
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand cease to function. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!” ****
On the other hand, You condemn: the nationalistic pride of foolish and disobedient leaders and tribalism, (I Kings/II Kings), the call to wisdom over strength, (Ecclesiates 9:17-18), and to humbly remember Your authority over all the families of nations.
“Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.” Berean Study Bible Psalm 96:7

May we hear Your voice through history as Minnesotans, as Americans, and as members of Your family of nations! May we resist evil in our world without becoming evil. (In this, we thank You for the example of the American soldiers of this generation! They won the war without permanently hating the enemy!) May we ever remember Your might and embrace Your discipline as we resist those who oppose us! Amen!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling/learn/military-history/world-war-ii
*** http://americanbuilt.us/patriots/charles-lindbergh.shtml
**** https://biblehub.com/psalms/137-7.htm
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/96-7.htm

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