Shipping Out

After being inducted at Fort Snelling, recruits and draftees were sent to different military bases around the country for basic training. After completing their training, soldiers were shipped out to either the European or Pacific Theater. The following is an excerpt from a letter written by WWII veteran William L. Anderson to his mother on April 25, 1942. Anderson was shipped out to Europe the following day. Think about the following as you read the excerpt:

  • What was going through Anderson's mind as he was preparing to leave for overseas service?
  • Do you think soldiers experience the same feelings today? Why or why not?

You know, this may be the last letter I write from the United States for a long time. Startling - this fact.  I really had never thought of this until I wrote these words. The actual embarkment didn't mean a thing to me - until now. I really do want to come home and parade through the confetti to the University of Minnesota. I know the United Nations will be victorious, and I feel I will be back. There is only one catch, however. This nation will be in a position to demand the terms of peace that will be a lasting peace. Fair and lenient, with the ultimate aim of a United States of the World - this peace will be. I'd like to sit at this conference, so this peace would be fair to all. I can not help but think that the British will owe us an unpayable [sic] debt. Maybe we should make the British Isles another Hawaiian Isles. No - that's extreme. May all peoples be freed of racial, religious, and social hatreds. May the meek survive this battle, so that all aggresive tendencies disappear. That's ungood [sic] also. The median is impossible to obtain, but may all factors of human personalities be equally distributed so that no individual, such as Hitler, controls the lives and wills of so many people. All that preceeds [sic] this is a jumbled attempt to explain what I would [like] to come back to.

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