While some students from the Lake Forest College Class of 1944 were thinking about their majors, career goals, and weekend plans, others were thinking about the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) for active duty. The writings of a few male students that returned to the College after going to ASTP were included in the College’s literary magazine, Tusitala, more than 60 years ago.
Many of the returning soldiers wrote stories, letters, and essays that revealed the common mindset of Americans in the wake of WWII. In his letter “What Kind of Post-War World?,” Pvt. Alfred E. Green wrote, “In order that you will more readily understand the views of the younger generation in this question, I will try to express my opinions and ideas. They are, I believe, those of the average American soldier.”
Pvt. Arthur D. Dubin described his wartime experience in the letter, Michigan Central Eastbound. “We passed through small towns,” he wrote. “In many were army camps and airfields. In others, were colleges training technicians for the armed forces. Some contained small war factories. All were helping to win.
“Late in the afternoon the train arrived in Ann Arbor. The trip was over. It might have been a trip from any ‘Big City U.S.A.’ to any ‘Middletown U.S.A.’ The men, the resources, the production— they would all have been the same. That is why we will win the war!”
It is difficult to imagine what it was like to live in the post-war world 60 years ago, but works found in old Tusitala issues provide perspective on these times in American history. Initiated in 1935, Tusitala is the oldest literary publication on campus and reveals many changes in national attitudes, from the post-war world to modernity.
Past editions of Tusitala can be found in the basement of Lake Forest College library in the Buchanan Family Foundation Special Collection Reading Room. Other Tusitala articles of note written by soldiers include “What I’ve Learned in the Army,”
“The American People Do Not Realize…,” and “Lullaby in Red.” More editions of Tusitala, Collage, and other literary magazines on campus are reserved in this area and are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.