Category World War II

French WWI poster encouraging civilians to save wine for soldiers

Christians at War: The “Moral Welfare” of Soldiers

When I began this series, I suggested that there is an inherent tension in followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, going to war. Whether resolved by the pacifist’s refusal to take up “the sword,” the just warrior’s willingness to engage in deadly violence under certain strict criteria, the crusader’s belief that God sometimes ordains killing, or some other stance, […]

Women and men drinking in a bar in Louisiana, 1938

“A Greater Problem for Us”: War and Temperance

It took over two months for Our Youth, the youth ministry periodical of the Swedish Baptist General Conference (it dropped the first adjective in 1945, so I’ll generally stick with BGC as the acronym for this blog), to acknowledge that a second World War had begun in Europe. And when that notice finally came in mid-November 1939, it took a […]

CPS workers at Mennonite Central Committee camp in Puerto Rico

Christians at War: A Peace Witness

The ease with which Bethel and its denomination embraced the war effort from 1941-1945 suggests that any interwar dalliance with pacifism had shallow roots. That comes into starker relief when you look at the history of an actual “peace church” and its colleges. Writing a history of Mennonite education in 1925, John Ellsworth Hartzler (president of the […]

"No foreign entanglements" sign

Christians at War: Pacifism or Isolationism?

In contrast to the pacifist resolutions of the Swedish Baptist Conference in the interwar period, [Bethel] junior college fostered an extremely supportive attitude toward American political institutions and foreign policy. This included an intense identification with the value of democratic institutions; an emphasis on supporting a society at war; and an exploration of ways to […]

Worship service on the U.S.S. South Dakota, June 1944

“We have among us very many Christian softies…”

In his posts on the Vietnam War, Fletcher has noted that Bethel-educated chaplains like Kenneth Carlson received a great deal of publicity from the Baptist General Conference. In the pages of the BGC’s chief publication, The Standard, these uniformed pastors were both “the primary mediators of the war to Conference laity” and “front-line soldiers in the global struggle against atheistic communism.” […]

Conscientious objectors in November 1918

Christians at War: A Pacifist Turn?

During and after the First World War, Bethel Academy principal A.J. Wingblade made a concerted effort to keep a full list of all those associated with Bethel who had served as soldiers, sailors, or nurses during the war. As many as could be reached were invited back to campus for a special reception on December 1919, where they […]

"Kid in Upper 4" cover of the Nov 1943 Bethel Bulletin

“The Kid in Upper 4”: Further Thoughts on Bethel Fundraising during WWII

Earlier this month I noted how “as the [Second World] war went on, ‘Loyalty’ began to be used in Bethel publications in such a way that loyalty to country and loyalty to God were put in service of loyalty to Bethel, and its desire for better facilities.” Starting in late 1942, the prewar practice of designating February […]

Signe Erickson

Signe Erickson: A Bethel Martyr

One day after their attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces began their invasion of the Philippines. In December 1941 that commonwealth hosted twenty-one American Baptist missionaries, mostly working in hospitals and schools on the island of Panay. By April 1942, with American and Filipino defenses collapsing, only eleven of those missionaries remained at liberty. With the help of a […]

Cover of the July 1942 Bethel Bulletin: a "Victory Number"

On Loyalty and Fundraising

In July of 1942 a special issue of the Bulletin of Bethel Institute arrived in the mailboxes of alumni and other subscribers. Here’s a photo of the cover: It isn’t all that surprising that an American college would wrap itself in the colors during a war, especially in the month of July. Now, whether a Baptist […]

Nursing cadets being sworn in at the University of Minnesota, 1944

WWII on Twin Cities Campuses

A couple weeks ago I looked at how some of Bethel’s neighboring colleges and universities in the Twin Cities experienced the First World War. Today I’ll turn to the Second World War, again pulling some tidbits from Merrill Jarchow’s history of private colleges in Minnesota but here broadening a bit to see how the Twin Cities’ […]