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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 8

Broehm 8 
freeze-framing of an exceptionally emotional event down to the most incidental
detail.18 
December 7, 1941 is one of those dates. 
Most recall December 7, 1941 starting out much like any other Sunday. Many
attended church in the morning and went about their afternoon routine which
often 
included listening to the radio. A Manitowoc homefont teenager said he had
just gotten 
home, turned on the radio and the announcement came on. "I really couldn't
believe my 
ears," he admits, "then I began thinking.. .depending upon how
long this war lasts, I may 
have to go fight."'19 An eleven-year-old remembers that he was listening
to the Chicago 
Bears-Chicago Cardinals football game when the announcement of the Japanese
attack 
came over the radio. "The first thing I did," he said, "was
to get a map and figure out 
where Pearl Harbor was!"'20 Karl, a sixteen-year-old, was in Milwaukee
visiting relatives. 
"It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we heard the announcement.
I can still 
remember the words of my uncle as if it were yesterday. He said, 'We'll have
those Japs 
bombed out of the sea in one week!'21 Harlan was sledding on the corner lot
of 14th 
and Monroe Streets in Two Rivers. Next door to this lot was a tavern. "All
of a sudden," 
he said, "there was all this shouting coming from bar. Us kids ran to
the tavern and stuck 
our heads in the door to find out what happened. It was then I heard the
words, 'the Japs 
bombed Pearl Harbor!' If an army recruiter had been there, all those guys
would have 
signed up!"'22 Susan was listening to Hit Parade. "After the announcement
of the 
'8 William M. Tuttle, Jr., Daddy's Gone to War (New York, Oxford University
Press, 1993), 3. 
19 Arthur Nickels, interview by Barbara Broehm, 26 October 2000. 
20 Howard Wilsman, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
21 Karl Kappelman, interview by Barbara Broehm, 20 November 2000. 
22 Harlan Demsien, interview by Barbara Broehm, 11 November 2000. 


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