Pearl Harbor and Gustavus Posted on December 7th, 2011 by

Dr. Peterson’s Exposition

The United States of America remembers the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred on 7 December 1941, seventy years ago.  You might be wondering how Gustavus responded in the event’s immediate aftermath.  Editors of the Gustavian Weekly printed their first post-attack newspaper two days after the bombing.  While the infamous action failed to make the paper’s headline, a story about the women participating in St. Lucia served that purpose, it did get a blurb below the fold.  Conrad Peterson, longtime Gustavus history professor, wrote about our need to prepare for war and turn away from pacifism or “soon become another queer little sect along side the Quakers and the Mennonites.”  Peterson’s comments were from the heart.  He supported the war effort passionately and spent much of his time during this period giving supportive speeches.  

To read additional issues of the Gustavian Weekly from the World War II era, please visit the archives digital collections page.  As might be expected, Gustavus was a very different place in the early 1940s.  In fact and as can be seen in the attached image, only four buildings from that period remain on the campus today.

Gustavus Adolphus College, Summer 1942

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