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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 12

Broehm 12 
off the edges and make rings for us kids... all the neighbor kids had one!",37
Will recalls 
that his dad worked as a guard at the shipyards. "In fact," he
said, "my dad was actually 
commissioned into the Coast Guard. This gave him more authority as a guard,
and it was 
necessary to maintain very strict security."38 The background of each
employee was 
always thoroughly checked, and some workers were released as a result of
these searches. 
To enter or leave the shipyards, each employee had to wear an identification
button with 
his picture. No visitors were allowed, and lookout towers on the docks were
constantly 
manned by guards who kept watch for people who might sneak into the yards
from across 
the river. Secret service agents were always present at the yards.39 
"My brother and sister-in-law met at the shipyards ... they were both
welders.'4 
During the war, 500 to 600 women were employed and trained as machinists
and 
welders.41 However, no African-Americans were included in Manitowoc's war
industry. 
"Negroes never had a chance to get a footing here," laments a homefront
teenager. "If a 
Negro was spotted in town, the police shipped him back to Chicago or Milwaukee.
The 
owners of the Shipyards and the Aluminum Goods saw to that.42 
Naval crews were also stationed in Manitowoc and would train on the submarines
for approximately six months. A homefront teenager comments that with so
many guys 
from her class in the service, some girls dated the sailors. She said, "I
worked at the 
37 Kul Kappelman, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
38 Howard Wilsman, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
39 Dean Brasser, "The Effects of World War II on Manitowoc," Manitowoc
County Historical 
Society Newsletter, 1980, 2. 
40 Howard Wilsman, interview by Barbara Broehm 
4' Nelson, 36. 
42 Arthur Nickels, interview by Barbara Broehm. 


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