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Broehm, Barbara / World War II through the eyes of Manitowoc's homefront youth
(December 2000)

World War II through the eyes of Manitowoc's homefront youth,   pp. [1]-30


Page 26

Broehm 26 
prisoners into our house to eat. Hesitantly the prisoners agreed. "Boy,
did those guys 
eat," he said, "and they were so appreciktive."'° 
"When the word got out that we had German POWs working on the farm,
the 
neighbor boy came by and asked if he could take a look at them." Karl
laughs, "About 
twenty minutes later the neighbor boy came back and looked so disappointed.
He said, 
'They look just like us!' From listening to radio programs, he imagined all
Germans 
would be like Hitler with mustaches and hair parted down the middle!"101
According to most comic strips and radio programs, Americans could win battles
alone. Allies were not necessary and the enemy was a pushover.02 In reality,
this was 
not the case. The first six months after Pearl Harbor were disastrous. The
Japanese 
captured Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Malaya. In Europe,
the 
Allied cause was hardly more encouraging. The Axis victories in the Pacific,
Russia, and 
Africa made it clear that the war would be long and costly. 
The United States military was concerned. Not only were they suffering from
heavy losses of soldiers, but found that the new recruits were often "soft
and flabby" and 
"deficient in mathematics and basic sciences."'03 "When the
minimum draft age was 
twenty, there was time for training following the completion of high school,"
says John 
W. Studebaker, U.S. commissioner of Education He points out that "preinduction
1oo Karl Kappelman, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
101 Karl Kappelnan, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
102 Blum, 37. 
103 U.S., Congress, Senate, A Bill To Provide for the Preparation of High-School
Students for 
Wartime Service, S. 875, 78th Cong., 1st sess., 1943, 7. 


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