Fighting Fear

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Fighting Fear: Long Beach, Ca. in the 1940s
Fighting Fear

ABOUT THE BOOK: 

Can you imagine living in a town which grew from a population of 164,000 to 322,000 in 5 years? Where there was little possibility of new housing, and where rent control resulted in murder? A community so short of workers that women went door-to-door canvassing other women in the city as to their employability?  A city where high school students worked four hours, six days a week and attended school four hours a day five days a week?  Such was Long Beach, California in the 1940s.

With shipyards, a Navy Base, oil and Douglas Aircraft Long Beach was also a prime target for Japanese attacks.  Had the Japanese actually launched missions to destroy some of the city’s industrial arsenals? Were the reports of sunken Japanese mini subs in the harbor true?  What were the reasons behind the removal of the Southern California Japanese community?

Learn of murder victim Elizabeth Short’s last days in Long Beach and the Long Beach policeman who gave her the name “The Black Dahlia.” Was Long Beach housewife Laura Trelstad also a victim of the same murderer?  What of the Zoot Suit riot on the Pike?

Revisit a Long Beach that once was:

  • A city which became an industrial giant, almost overnight.

  • A city where it was hard to tell an honest politician from a crooked one.

  • Where gambling interests threatened to take over the city and those who lived here faced the fear of not only political corruption but enemy attacks as well.

 What reviewers have to say: http://www.presstelegram.com/opinion/20140922/fighting-fear-in-long-beach-in-the-world-war-ii-years

More can be found on the  C-Span interview with the author.  http://www.c-span.org/person/?claudineburnett

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BATTLE ON THE HOMEFRONT

  Gambling

  Bribery

  The Pike

  Murder Gangster Style

PREPARING FOR A WORLD WAR

  Fear Begins

  Harbor and the Navy

  Douglas Aircraft

  A Housing Boom

  The Draft

  Civil Defense

AMERICA AT WAR

  Pearl Harbor

  Ferrying War Planes

  Rumors and Japanese Subs

  Enemy Aliens

  Life Under War Conditions

  War Workers

  Shipyards

  Zoot Suit Riots

  Animals Go To War

  Death of a President

END OF THE WAR

  Victory

  Readjusting to Peace

  War Industries Gear Down

  Prison Camps

  War Brides

  Japanese Americans Return

  Long Beach and the A-Bomb

  European Relief Measures

  Black Dahlia Murder

INDEX

A

African Americans · 35, 119, 121

Airports

   Long Beach · xiii, 38, 55, 59, 61, 62, 108-109, 150

   Los Alamitos · See Los Alamitos Naval Air Station

   Reeves Field · 34, 39, 74

Air Raid Wardens · 52

Air raids · 39, 50, 52, 67, 98, 103, 107

Army Air Base, Long Beach · See Long Beach Army Air Base

Army Air Force · See U.S. Army Air Force

Army Base · See Fort MacArthur

Atomic bomb · 133, 158-159, 167

Avery, Bertha · 108

Avery, Robert · 108

B

Barnes, Frank · 6

Belmont Shore · 92, 141

Bergmann, Friedrich · 80-81

Bethlehem Shipbuilding · See Shipyards:Bethlehem

Bigamy · 128-129

Bixby Knolls · 162

Black Dahlia · See Short, Elizabeth

Blackouts · 52, 55-56, 82, 84

Block Mothers · 105-107

Bomb shelters · 38, 51

Bookmobile · 94-95

Brewer, Lora · 14

Bribery · xiii, 6-11

Brower, G.C. · vii, 23, 24, 25

Brunton, William · vi-vii, 7, 20, 22

C

California Shipbuilding · See Shipyards:California Shipbuilding

Calship · See Shipbuilding:California Shipbuilding

Cameron, Judi Jackson · See Jackson, C.V. “Jack” family

Campbell, Donald · 153

Campbell, Melvin · 6

Canneries · 73, 74, 100, 155-156

Carmelitos Housing Project · 42-43

Carroll, Irving · vi, 8, 9

Casualties, War · 49, 56-57, 60, 63-64, 80, 136, 149, 150, 155

Catholic Service Club · 96

Cats · 35, 125, 149

Cederberg, Leroy · 6

Charleville, J.W. · vi, 39

Child care · See Day care

Christian Service Organization · 96

Churches · 60, 77, 96, 132, 162

City council · vi-viii, xi, 6-11, 19-20, 22-25, 55, 140

City manager · vi-vii, xi, xii, 6, 7, 23-26, 39, 52

Civil defense · 51-52

Coast Guard · 35, 69, 71, 117

Cochran, Jackie · 62-63

Coleman, Charles · 149

Communism · 133, 161, 167

Concentration camps · 148

Conn, Marjorie · 88-89

Connolly-Pacific Company · See Shipyards:Connolly-Pacific

Conscientious objectors · 48-49

Consolidated Aircraft · 62

Consolidated Steel · See Shipyards:Consolidated Steel

Cooper, Lew · 15-23

Cornero, Tony · 4, 141

Craig Shipyard · See Shipyards – Craig

Crawford, F.R. · vi-viii, 23, 24, 25

Cromley, Ray · 153

Culp, Frederic · 12-14

D

Day care ·42, 105, 107

D-Day · 64, 117-118

Dean, Dolores · 104

Degley, Charleen · 92-94

Degley, Paul · 92-94

DeWitt, John L. · 67, 156-157

Dillinder, Herman · 69-70

Dinehdeal, Ray · 109

Dogs · 123-125

Doolittle, James H. · 98-99

Dorton, Randall · 6-8

Douglas Aircraft · xiii, 38-41, 44, 55, 56, 59, 62, 68, 83, 98, 99, 105, 107-108, 118, 127, 132, 142-144

Dovey, William H. · 26

Draft · 46-49, 100, 104, 119, 132-133

Dykstras family · 160

E

Eaton, Thomas · 6

Elks Club · 51, 98-99

Erickson, Carl · 51-52

Espionage · 32-33, 74

F

Ferry pilots/squadrons · 49, 59-64, 108-109, 118

Filipinos · 73, 100, 121, 156

Fire department · 7, 51, 105

Fish Harbor · 34, 35, 73-77, 154

Fletcher, Carl · vi, 6, 8

Fort MacArthur · 32, 48, 68, 98, 150

Freeman, Harvey · 8, 7

G

Gable, Clark · 59, 61

Gambling · xii, xiv, 2-5, 6, 8-11, 12, 15-23, 25, 94, 167

Gambling ships · 2-5, 141

Garbage · 3, 7, 89-90

Garrison, Alice · 96, 148

Gentry, F.H. · vi, 8

German sympathizers · 80-81

Germany · xi-xii, 9, 28-29, 49, 55, 80, 81, 97-98, 113, 132, 136, 139, 148, 160, 167

Goad, Harold · 128-129

Griffin,  Marjorie · 87

H

Halsey, Milton B. · 148

Halsey, William  · 138

Harbor · xii, xiii, 15, 23, 30-37, 65, 68, 69, 70, 73, 84, 113-114, 138, 141, 145, 155, 159

Harder, John · 134-135

Harrison, Steve · 67

Heer, Robert · 149

Hewes, Charles E. · 7

Hiubb, Jean Benson · 84

Hodel, George · 166

Hodel, Steve · 166

Hodgson-Green-Halderman · See Shipyards:Hodgson-Green Haldeman

Hoffer, Donna Louise · 105

Holderman, Joe · 139

Hough, Inez · 12-14

Hough, William · 12-14

Housing · 42-45, 82, 86, 88, 92, 96, 97, 102, 119, 141, 155, 163

Hughes, Howard · 144-147

I

Independent (newspaper) · xi, 9, 10-11, 17, 20, 23-24, 54

Irvine, Patrick · 8-10

Italians · 73, 109-111

J

Jackson, C.V. “Jack” family · xiii-xiv, 57, 84, 139-140

Japanese · xii, xiv, 32-33, 45, 54-58, 65-71, 72-80, 82, 97, 98, 100, 117, 125-126, 132, 133, 139, 143, 148-149, 153, 158

Japanese Americans · 54-58, 72-80, 154-157

Japanese attack California · 67-68

Japanese evacuation · 68, 76-79

Japanese submarines · See Submarines, Japanese

Jeschke, Norman · 153

Juvenile delinquency · 107, 108, 120

K

Kable, William · 66-67

Kauffman, Al · 15-23

Kidd, Isaac · 56

Kirkland, Benjamin · 6

L

Lakewood · 44, 91, 162

Lea, Homer · 33

Leary, John · 86-87

Leary, Lilly · 86-87

Lewis, Herbert E. · vi-vii,  23, 25, 141

Liberty, Gail Lee · 88-89

Lockheed Aircraft · 57, 62, 142, 143

Lombard, Carole · 59-61

Long Beach Airport · See Airports:Long Beach

Long Beach Army Air Base · xiii, 55, 59, 61, 108, 150

Long Beach Naval Shipyard · See Shipyards:U.S. Naval

Long Beach Public Library · 94-96, 148

Looff’s Lite-A-Line · 167

Lorge, Julius · 8-10

Los Alamitos Naval Air Station · 35

Los Altos · 162

Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock · See Shipyards:Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock

Love, Nancy Harkness · 62

Lutheran Service Center · 96

M

MacArthur Park · 98

MacDowell, Helen · 127-129

Mandelko, Max · 17

Manzanar · 76-79

Marshall Plan · 160-161

Martin, Loren Q. · 16-17, 89, 165

McClelland, Joe · 8, 11

McNeil, Henry · 87-88

Meehan, Hazel · 105

Mexican Americans · 119-122

Mexicans ·73, 100, 119-122

Moffett, Wylie · 15-23. 116

Moxley, Martin · 8-9, 23, 24, 25

Mullen, Max · 15-23

Munemori, Sadao · 155

Murder · 12-23, 86-89, 92-94, 120-121, 134-135, 163-166

N

Navajo Indians · 109

Navy Base · See Roosevelt Base

Nielsen, Victor · 153

North American Aircraft · 62

Northrop Aircraft · 62

Northway, Harold · 43

Nurseries · See Day care

O

Oil · xii, xiii, xiv, 23, 34, 37, 68, 114, 118

P

Pacific Electric Red Cars · 48, 78, 83, 164, 165

Panama Canal · 31

Parks

MacArthur · See MacArthur Park

Patton, George S. · 98-99

Pavey, Russell · 24

Pearl Harbor · xiii-xiv, 31, 36, 43, 45, 48, 54-58, 59, 70, 72, 74, 79, 83, 92, 100, 139, 143, 144, 150, 156, 158, 167

Petroleum · See Oil

Phelps, James · 135

Philippines · 30, 33, 54, 58, 72, 79, 98, 149

Pike · 11, 12-14, 15, 18, 19, 25, 67, 82, 109, 119-122, 167

Police chief · viii, xiii, 8-11, 25-26, 121-122

Police department · xi, 8-11, 16-19, 22, 25-26, 51, 132

Population · vi-viii, xii, xiv, 84, 94

Postal service · 104

Prisoners of war · 97, 109, 111, 148-150

Prohibition · xii, 4, 12, 14

Public library · See Long Beach Public Library

R

Ramsey, J.R. · vii-viii, 23, 25

Ramsey, Robert · 8-10

Rationing · 82, 83-84, 137, 140

Red Cross · 51, 66, 96, 97, 148, 151-152

Reeves Field · See Airports:Reeves Field

Rent control · 86-87, 140-141, 162

Roosevelt Base · xiii, 35-36, 74, 75, 82, 92, 117, 118

Roosevelt, Franklin D. · 28-29, 31, 51, 72, 75, 80, 82, 100, 109, 127, 132, 167

Roulstone, John J. · 49

Ryan Aircraft · 62

S

Sabotage · 32-33, 55, 60

San Pedro Boat Works · See Shipyards:San Pedro Boat Works

Savannah Housing Project · 43, 45, 57

Schimmer John · 6

Schlect, Al · 132-133

Schools · 40, 45, 79, 103-104, 105, 106-108, 116

Seal Beach · 89, 117-118

Seal Beach Naval Weapons Depot · xiii, 117-118, 139

Shibata, Shin · 156

Shipyards

   Bethlehem · 36, 115

   California Shipbuilding · 61, 113-114, 142

   Connolly-Pacific · 116

   Consolidated Steel · 113, 115, 116, 158

   Craig · 30-31, 65, 112-113, 115

   Harbor Boat Building · 115

   Hodgson-Green-Halderman · 114

   Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock · 36, 114-115

   San Pedro Boat Works · 116

   Todd Shipyards · 115

   United Concrete Pipe and Steel · 114

   U.S. Naval · 36-37, 109, 142, 158

   Western Pipe and Steel · 114

Short, Elizabeth · 163-166

Slaight, Al · viii, 25

Smith, Albert J. · 56

Spano, Domingo · 17, 18-22

Spongberg, Virgil · 6

Spruce Goose · 144-147

Stainbrook, Tonga · 65-66, 67

Stebbins, Ted · 153

Stuht, Ernest · 14

Submarines, Japanese · 65-71, 167

Suter, Warren · 8-11

Swanson, William R. · 49

Sweet, Robert Clark · 69

T

Tax, Victory · 83

Terminal Island · 32, 34, 37, 39, 48, 54, 68, 73-77, 109, 110, 113-116, 118, 142, 144-145, 149, 155

Terminal Island Federal Prison · 82

Terry, Carol · 148-149

Thornton, Charles · 149

Todd Shipyards · See Shipyards:Todd Shipyards

Trash · See Garbage

Trelstad, Laura · 164-166

Truman, Harry S. · 58, 127, 140, 161

 Tubbs, Sherwin · 9-10

U

United Concrete Pipe and Steel · See Shipyards:United Concrete Pipe and Steel

U.S. Army · 32, 46, 54, 63, 78, 96, 98, 100, 117, 132-133, 151-152, 154

U.S. Army Air Force · 62, 63, 67, 70, 103, 108-109, 142, 143, 144, 147

U.S. Army Base · See Fort MacArthur

U.S. Naval Shipyard · See Shipyards: U.S. Naval

U.S. Navy · xiii, 15, 29, 31, 34-37, 42, 43, 46, 48, 49, 54, 55, 56-58, 65, 67, 68, 69-70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 82, 84, 88, 100-102, 114-115, 116, 117-118, 120, 129, 133, 135, 139, 140, 142, 146, 149, 150, 155, 158-159

U.S. Navy Base · See Roosevelt Base

U.S. Navy Weapons Depot, Seal Beach · See Seal Beach Naval Weapons Depot

U.S.O. · 96, 97

U.S.S. Long Beach · 116

V

V-E Day · 132

Vega Aircraft · 57, 62

Vickers, Sam · vi-viii,  23-25, 26

Victory tax · See Tax, Victory

 V-J Day · 132, 133-134

Von Radesky, Pat · 43

Vultee Aircraft · 62, 104

W

Wagner, Clarence · vi-viii, 6, 154

War bonds · 59, 95, 99, 104, 108, 109, 143

War brides · 151-153

War casualties · See Casualties, War

War Prisoners Recording Station · 97

Warren, Earl · 3, 4, 141, 142, 162

Wells, Josiah · 86-87

Western Pipe and Steel · See Shipyards:Western Pipe and Steel

Westervelt, John · 138-139

Whitecotton, Freeman · 87-88

Williams, Paul · 35

Wilson, Adrian · 35

Wirsching, Carl · vii, 25-26

Women · 57-58, 62-63, 82, 100-106, 108-109, 110-111, 140, 142, 151-153, 163-166

Works Progress Administration · 104

World War I · xi, xiii, 47, 55, 100-102, 104, 114, 128, 136, 139, 151

Wright, Marjorie · 88-89

Wright, Tommy · 88-89

Wright, William · viii, 8-11

Wurster, Olive · 8-10

Y

YMCA · 96, 97

Pearl Harbor

  December 7, 1941, is a date few will ever forget, for on that day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. The United States was at war.

  Following news of the attacks, Long Beach along with the rest of the world was stunned. Hundreds of church goers leaving their places of worship at noon gathered before the windows of the Long Beach Independent to read late news bulletins. Many Navy wives residing in Long Beach were visibly shaken, for practically every one of them had a husband serving in the Pacific. The Army asked the city to loan them a sound truck so they could cruise the streets and broadcast orders for enlisted personnel to report to their stations, but no truck was available. It turned out OK, the truck was not needed—most servicemen, on hearing news of the attacks had already reported back to base to find out what to do next. At the Long Beach police station all was routine, yet tenseness could be detected as department heads kept near phones to find out more about the tragedy and a possible invasion of the west coast.

  Federal agents and Army troops rushed to establish a blockade around Terminal Island where several thousand Japanese, chiefly engaged in the fishing industry, made their homes. Their fishing boats were turned back into the harbor and not allowed to proceed to the off-shore fishing grounds. Frank Ishii, president of the Long Beach chapter of the Japanese-American Citizens League pledged support of the United States in its war with Japan. He mentioned that thirty local Japanese youths were serving in the U.S. armed forces and that the entire community would give their support to the United States. Despite Ishii’s assurances everyone viewed any Oriental as a possible spy or saboteur. Five hundred alien Japanese throughout Southern California were taken into custody on December 8th by the FBI, booked, fingerprinted and photographed before being transported to the Terminal Island Federal Immigration Station. Hashimoto Co.’s hardware and boat supply store on Terminal Island was seized by the military, looking for any supplies that could be used in sabotage efforts against the U.S.

  The concern over sabotage was a real one. During World War I, shortly after America entered the war with Germany, a fire broke out at the National Kelp Potash plant in the Long Beach harbor. The factory, which used potash to make explosives, was completely destroyed. At first it was felt the fire had been caused by a gas explosion resulting from the installation of a new gas system at the facility, but later it was determined to be a bomb. Government investigators concluded German saboteurs were at work in the Long Beach harbor district seeking to cripple Uncle Sam by destroying plants where gun powder ingredients were manufactured. The secret service said they did not feel the fire had been set by paid or official agents of Germany, but by fanatical hotheads who thought they were helping the Fatherland. Others felt differently—they were sure it was the result of German secret agents. It appeared the bomb had been placed in the furnace room of the kelp-potash plant while men were installing a new gas main. When they left to get additional equipment the building was left unattended—the perfect time for saboteurs to sneak in and plant the incendiary device. Investigators found the remains of the bomb matched those which had been used in the east by secret agents of the German government in attempts to blow up U.S. ammunition plants. Detectives said they had information other kelp plants as well as shipyards in the harbor were targets. They felt this was merely the beginning of sabotage activities and that Long Beach must launch a home guard campaign to protect its industries from German attack.

  There hadn’t been a municipal airport to protect during World War I, but following the December 7th attacks the airport, which was next to the Douglas Aircraft plant and the U.S. Army and Navy air bases, took immediate action. Because of its vital military importance, civilian aircraft were notified that they would not be allowed to fly over or near the air field.

  On December 8th the Long Beach City Council was asked by the Navy to issue an ordinance requesting a complete, all night blackout. Described as a “precautionary measure” by the Navy, it was the first official blackout ordered in the United States. There was no official announcement of the reason for the “precaution.” This meant all illumination which could be visible from the air or street be banned—blinds drawn and any outside lights turned off. Many, including all city agencies, complied by painting their windows black. Merchants announced stores would close at 4:30 p.m. daily and open at 8 or 8:30 a.m. to take advantage of daylight hours. All outdoor advertising, street lights, traffic lights and auto headlights were banned from dusk until dawn.

  December 9, 1941, the evening of the first blackout, was tragically memorable—one person was killed and six injured in auto accidents on darkened Long Beach streets. Harry Riggs, a tourist from Walla Walla, Washington, died when he was hit by a car while he was crossing Ocean Boulevard near Chestnut. Because of the darkness, witnesses were unable to determine if the pedestrian was in the cross walk or outside of it. Blue lights were the only acceptable lights for cars at night. Any cars running with any other colored lights were illegal and their drivers subject to arrest.

  Southland aircraft plants undertook the huge task of covering thousands of factory windows with black paint for night work. It was estimated it would take a week to cover the windows at the Santa Monica Douglas plant; the Long Beach factory however, designed for possible blackouts, was the only Southern California airplane operation that remained on a normal schedule.

  By December 13th families began to receive word of casualties at Pearl Harbor. Josephine Smith, of 234 Prospect, was the first wife to receive word of her husband’s death. Albert J. Smith had recently been promoted from warrant officer to lieutenant in the Navy; he had been killed in the early attacks on the Hawaiian Islands by the Japanese.

  Mrs. Fae Crawford of 3216 Vista Street was especially worried because both her husband and son were on duty on the same ship “somewhere in the Pacific.” On December 18th she learned her son, Richard, had been killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but her husband, James, had escaped unharmed.

  Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd experienced his own loss. His son Isaac Jr. a midshipman, whose home port was Long Beach, was also killed at Pearl Harbor. Isaac Jr. had just graduated from Annapolis.

  Word followed about the deaths of John Connolly and Wilbert F. Yost, but many more men were missing. Anxious family members didn’t learn until late January 1942 that Carl R. Brier, Robert R. Clayton, Clyde Brown and Frank Head had been killed in action. Further anxious moments awaited four other Long Beach families who didn’t learn until the end of February that Ludwig F. Weller, Ralph A. Derrington, Allen R. Teer and Robert L. Kelly had been casualties in the bombing attack at Pearl Harbor.

  Vera Jackson and her three daughters, who had left Long Beach a few months earlier for a safer environment in Pleasanton, Kansas, nervously awaited word about Jack Jackson. They knew that he was in Pearl Harbor aboard the repair ship Medusa and that repair ships were a target of the Japanese. Fortunately, Jack and the Medusa escaped the bombing, but not the carnage.

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