World War II at Northern

WWII Before Thanksgiving, I wrote about former NMU president Henry Tape, who led Northern during World War II. Though students who didn’t fight in the war were somewhat removed, in the rural Upper Peninsula, the war still leaked into every aspect of their lives.

One of the most obvious ways Northern was affected by the war is in the list of men serving that appeared for years in the student newspaper. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Northern News featured a list of men who had joined the Michigan National Guard Company and then the United States Army.

Throughout the war, the student newspaper became a collection of crucial war-time information, including draft information, updates on local men in the war and even war bond advertisements. Articles were published that discussed how the women at Northern were trying to help the “big defense project,” and editorials ran endorsing total commitment to the war.


“Regardless of age or sex, whether we enlist or are drafted, or remain at home; all of us are in the war for the duration. Students and teachers naturally will examine themselves to see how each one can best serve his country,” said an editorial that ran Jan. 7, 1942.

In literally every newspaper that ran during the course of the war, there is some mention of the war effort – either abroad or at home. Northern was very conscious of its alumni and friends who were serving and of the importance of support back home. It illustrates how even a small school in a relatively rural area had an impact on the global war.

Written by Lucy Hough


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