A History of the UCLA Daily Bruin, 1919-1955
World War II: Part 1
by George Garrigues
Printed edition © 1970, 1997
Internet Edition © 2000, 2001
All rights reserved, but you are welcome to download electronic copies, send e-copies to your friends or make printouts for yourself.
Go to the Front of the Book
Preface, Contents, List of Editors, Bibliography and Index
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7. Official Notices and Official Concern
Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, was a clear, sunny day in Los Angeles the kind of weather that makes Easterners envious. It was a lazy, pre-holiday weekend. Most of the Daily Bruin staff was sleeping late; parties had been many the night before to celebrate underdog UCLA's 7-7 football tie with the favored USC Trojans.
But that evening the Bruin staff was on the job -- the first night of the war -- and Editor Malcolm Steinlauf had torn out the early layout for Page One and replaced it with a solid page of wire copy and photographs. The headline: "JAPAN DECLARES WAR!"
Steinlauf put aside the anti-draft,
isolationist tenor of the prewar Bruin in an editorial entitled
The Time Has Come
For the second time within thirty years the United States is at war. The crisis and national emergency are over, replaced by a more gruesome and gigantic phase, that of WAR with another major world power . . .
There was no reason for this war, not that reasons are needed these days. The United States sought to settle its difficulties peacefully, making the basis for such peace a cessation of Japanese empire-growth movements in the Far East. This basis was unacceptable to the Japanese. If they feel that their treacherous attack and declaration will alter our demands, then let them. And let them also, feel the fatal sting of an American declaration of war. (CDB, 12/8/41.)
That Bruin appeared on a campus where normal classroom activities had almost stopped.
Entry into War Disrupts
Tenor of Campus Life
The shock of America's explosive entry into World War II left its imprint on the entire campus yesterday, and from Kerckhoff Hall to the Administration building, an atmosphere of tense excitement pervaded the air.
Students overflowed Royce Hall Auditorium, pouring on the stage and massing in the entrances to hear the President calmly declare that a state of war existed with Imperial Japan . . .
The reaction to the President's speech was one of definite approval, but no hysterical emotion was evident, and at no time did the room resound with deafening applause. Several coeds, however, were visibly shaken to the point of tears . . . (CDB, 12/9/41.)
During the rest of the fall semester, war news blanketed the Bruin's front page. Editors held the pages open until 3 a.m. to provide late-breaking news for their readers; their deadlines were on a par with the morning Times and Examiner, with which the Bruin felt itself in competition. "If it was in our area we wanted to get it first," recalled Managing Editor Bob Barsky. (Interview, 1970.) And the war was definitely in the area of active student concern.
On the evening of Dec. 10, the Student Council gathered at the home of Dean of Men Earl J. Miller for a combined Christmas party and Council meeting. They were treated to the first blackout of the war. But they had time before the lights went out to ask Editor Steinlauf "to see that the Bruin was not devoted to world news coverage inasmuch as this information could be obtained in other papers, but that campus news could not." (SEC, 12/10/41.)
At the same time the Bruin staff
was making up its first, last and only three-page newspaper (a full-size
Page One and two tabloid-size pages on the reverse).
Due to the loss of time during last night's blackout the Daily Bruin today appears in a form unique in the annals of journalism -- a three-page paper.
Linotype machines, printing presses, and all other equipment at the Hollywood plant were immobilized for the period of the blackout, lasting approximately three hours. (CDB, 12/11/41.)
The war brought changes to the Bruin. As men were drafted or enlisted, women filled their places, and all-women Editorial Boards (except for the sports editor) became common. On Jan. 4, 1943, the Bruin went to a tabloid size, which it maintained from then on, except for a few broadsheet special issues, the last one printed on Jan. 17, 1947.
The Navy came to the campus with a V-12 cadet program, and a speeded-up three-semester-a-year plan was begun. The ASUCLA purchased its first station wagon to haul women staff members to and from the Bruin shop in Hollywood. A column called "Bruin Batallion" [sic] was begun, featuring news of servicemen. As early as March 1941, the Bruin was being sent in batches to Fort Ord and Fort Arthur for UCLA students on active duty. (SEC, 3/5/41.) The paper changed its frequency to three times a week and its name to "California Bruin" (July 1943).
It continued in its liberal tradition. It was a consistent defender of the rights of Nisei students (including Hitoshi Yonemura, who was the head yell leader and a Student Council member), suddenly restricted to their homes and then, just as suddenly, hustled off to "relocation" camps. [Yonemura joined the Army and was killed in Italy.] "We were the only newspaper in town to take that editorial stand," recalled Bob Barsky with a touch of pride. (Interview, 1970.)
. . . ours was the generation of students which saw the demise of Joe College; we saw the Blue "C" [a campus landmark just west of the athletic field] covered up with dirt [as an air-raid safety precaution] . . . and the notices headed "Persons of Japanese Ancestry" go up in the village. We saw the University put away its toys and settle down to work. (Gloria Girven, associate editor, CB, 10/6/44.)
Editor Gloria Farquar's editorial of March 21, 1944, was singled out by a judge of the Associated Collegiate Press for special mention when the Bruin won an all-American rating that semester:
An auto sticker pasted conspicuously on the Chrysler next to our bus proclaimed the ugly legend of man's inhumanity to man, breaking the calm of a March afternoon with a dirty story on a piece of paper. A tale of ignorance, unthinking hate, the brand of the tinsel patriot. It read "let's keep the Japs out of California."
Yet even as we stared, with, admittedly, some amount of scorn at the placid and unbrutish face of the driver, we couldn't help remembering that in some burning corner of Italy a "Jap" in American khaki, hundreds of "Japs" in fact, were defending that driver's right to think and speak as he felt, to broadcast, if he saw fit, his hatreds on Wilshire Boulevard.
It was one of those shining California days, but all the luster and glow seemed to leave the afternoon under the sullen impact of that little sign . . . (Gloria Farquar, CB, 3/21/44.)
Patriotism was back in fashion.
Every afternoon some of the meteorologists take down the flag. While they are engaged in the simple ceremony, any passer-by should, out of respect to the flag, pause and wait until it has been brought down . . . Certainly that is not too much time for any of us to devote for our flag and our country. (CB, 7/28/43.)
The war brought something else to the UCLA campus, too -- a resurgent interest in social events, in downright lighthearted frivolity that could wash away the thoughts and fears of ever-present war. "I think people needed a lot of entertainment at this time," wrote William C. Ackerman (1969, p. 62). The Bruin's air of "professionalism" began to wane. Smaller staffs and smaller papers may have been the cause. Coverage of campus activities lessened. But humor seemed to be in as much demand as ever, and the "Men's Pages" (pale reflections of long-ago Hell's Bells editions) appeared regularly.
One of the Men's Pages raised a ruckus that reverberated across the nation. It was headed "Liberals vs. Conservatives." Half of it was printed upside down. Liberals were panned as unmercifully as conservatives. But when State Sen. Jack B. Tenney got hold of a copy, he seized upon a headline that proclaimed "Sex Like Drink of Water, Says Pundit." "Conservatives are sexually frustrated," the article went on. "If they would recognize the importance of sex they would become kind and decent." Tenney was investigating a Writers' Congress being planned for UCLA, and he had Dr. Gordon S. Watkins of the UCLA administrative committee on the stand. Tenney referred to the article as an "editorial" and asked Dr. Watkins if that was what was meant by "academic freedom" at UCLA. (CDB, 2/23/48.)
That wasn't the end of it. Another
Men's Page article included this paragraph:
. . . I surveyed one gas station to see how the gas was purchased. It was a white and blue affair (no reds here) which sported two signs: "What's good for business is good for you" and "O.P.A. on You." [The wartime Office of Price Administration. "Pee on you" was a current vulgar expression.] Upon coming closer I saw what the Republicans were using for coupons. "C" tickets had been cleverly printed in the ad section, McCormick special edition of the Chicago Tribune. Since only anti-administration readers accept the paper, the gov't had not found out about this. (CB, 9/20/43.) ["C" tickets were special ration coupons allowing extra gasoline for some motorists. Robert McCormick published the conservative Chicago Tribune, often derided by Bruin staffers.]
This brought a telegram to Dr. Robert Gordon Sproul from the unamused Los Angeles correspondent of the Chicago Tribune who demanded to know "the name of the person who signed [the] . . . assertion that Tribune printed 'C' gasoline coupons . . . Tribune wishes background of these writers, including their age, family, records, if any, and also where the Bruin got any such information that it had printed 'C' coupons in its advertising columns." (Arch, Box 282, Folder 40.)
The Nash-Kelvinator Co. was also parodied, but no one seemed to take offense at this take-off of the "institutional" magazine advertising many of the large firms were running during the war for lack of any production goods to sell:
I'm on the spot . . .
I had a strange, choking feeling in my throat . . .
Here I am watching those Focke-Wolfes at two o'clock and those Messerschmitts lining up at twelve o'clock are ready to peel off and go by . . .
Home . . . where I have freedom of choice, can eat corn, grits or steaks, sleep under a bridge or in a penthouse . . .
The waist gunner is opening up . . .
Home . . . Oh, God don't let them change it . . . where 2/3 of the nation is well-fed and well-clothed . . . don't let them change the corner drug-store (this is a subtle dig at the New Deal, which has shot the corner drug store to hell) . . .
Don't let them bring in any isms -- communism or fas -- well, no communism, anyway . . . That's why I'm fighting this war . . . Keep it that way till I come back! (KASH-NELVINATOR ADVERTISEMENT) (CB, 9/20/43.)
Editor Adele Truitt threw up her figurative hands in despair and tried to explain.
Strictly humor, satire, and collegiate rigmarole, the Men's Page is a campus "tee-hee" which comes out once in a blue moon (the color is blue, Senator) . . . The California Bruin will attempt to cover as many of the seminars of the [writers'] conference as it is able. It will endeavor to bring to the campus public, and to Mr. Tenney, since he reads us so avidly, the context of the problems confronting writers in wartime and during post-war readjustment, and the answers to those problems as discussed among the professionals. (CB, 9/27/43.) [In June 2003, Charlotte Klein e-mailed me that it had been she and not Adele Truitt who had written the editorial.]
From then on, relations between the Bruin and various legislative committees investigating Communism at UCLA were not friendly.
That particular issue of Sept. 20, 1943, also compounded suspicion of the Bruin through an advertisement for a lecture in Los Angeles by Celeste Strack, the same Communist Party member who had been suspended by Dr. Ernest Carroll Moore ten years earlier. Dean Miller wrote Dr. Sproul that he had discussed both the Men's Page and the advertisement "the following day with the Daily Bruin staff."
I am also taking it up with the Associated Students' Council and I believe that we can work out a plan whereby we can prevent this sort of thing happening again. I have in mind arrangements which will call for drastic disciplinary action against the individuals involved . . . and . . . warning each new staff . . . of the penalties which may be in store for such actions. (Arch, Box 282, Folder 40, Sept. 23, 1943.)
Despite lectures and educational activities by the Communist Party among UCLA students, there was a decided lessening of radical activities during the war on the Westwood campus. In fact, File Folder 105 of the Administrative records (known usually as the "Red File" or the "Subversive Activities File"), ordinarily stuffed with a ragbag of mimeographed strike calls, radical newspapers and letters about suspected Communists, was completely empty for the years 1942 and 1943. (Arch, Boxes 266 and 289.)
Still, the University YMCA, just across the street from the UCLA campus, was a problem. For a long time it had allowed controversial groups to use its facilities. In that era, Regulation 17 -- which barred use of University facilities by religious or political groups -- was in effect. The Student Council ordered the Bruin not to give news or advertising space to these groups, but they were allowed to "receive publicity at the discretion of the editorial board." (SEC, 3/24/43 and 10/2/43.) Later, at the request of the YMCA, protecting its image against any charge of subversion, the Bruin agreed to use only the Y's address, 574 Hilgard Ave.
The war and its resulting upheaval failed to put an end to the bickering between the Student Council and the Bruin. The newspaper's editorial nominees were generally approved by the Council, but only after time-consuming debate and controversy. In early 1945, however, just about the time the Marines were gathering for their assault on Iwo Jima and the Big Three were preparing for the Yalta Conference, student leaders -- with at least the moral backing of the University Administration -- were laying plans to unseat the Bruin's editorial staff and replace it with an entire new slate. They almost succeeded.
A word, first, about the famous Bruin
"slate": In the early days, an outgoing editor would nominate a successor
-- usually the managing editor with whom he had worked. Seemingly, it was
an autocratic method of succession, modified only by the fact that the
nominee had to go through Publications Board and Student Council scrutiny
before being confirmed. As the years passed, Editorial Boards, instead
of the editor alone, began to make the nomination of their successors,
and by the 1940s the entire Bruin upper staff -- those with experience
on the paper -- were gathered together to choose a slate that the Bruin
would present to Publications Board for eventual approval by the Council.
Editor Josephine Rosenfield described a highly idealized version of the
"slate" in 1943.
By an ancient but unwritten law[,] desk editors and night editors gather with staff heads at the close of each semester and . . . ballot secretly for "the right pegs in the right holes . . ." [The Student Council], according to a well-known principle of administrative devolution formally interviews the candidates, and if it finds no evidence of fraud, accepts the recommendations . . . This is the application of the principle that an over-all policy-making body delegates administrative responsibility and merely acts as a high court of review. (CB, 5/12/43.)
The assertion that the Council was a "high court of review" was an unrealistic assessment of the situation. The Council always felt it retained the appointing power.
Editor Charlotte Klein set down the next year the most thorough rationale for the Bruin "slate" system ever written. The meeting she describes was a quiet one; perhaps it, too, was idealized; but it summed up the way Bruin staffers felt for a long time about the democracy they had fashioned on "their" newspaper.
SCENE: BRUIN OFFICE
The door to the Editor's office was open.
She sat at her desk watching the glass window of the door as it reflected a busy scene in the outer office. The glass was an interesting mirror. Reporters crouched earnestly over their typewriters; the night and desk editors of the day sat bent over copy on the big horseshoe desk; the rest was motley color as people rushed here and there to get their assignments, interview, talk with the managing editor, the business manager for the next day's ads.
The distant echo of Royce chimes filtered into the noisy office. Three o'clock. "Hey, gang, meeting. Come on, everyone." Chairs scraped and dragged across the floor. The editor saw the routine of the outer office break up quickly as the Bruin staff moved anxiously toward the open door.
"It's that time again." The editor faced her staff in the crowded office. "We are here to choose the editors of the California Bruin for next term."
First, each present editor told the serious group what his position entailed, what the qualifications are, what characteristics are needed to fulfill the job. The list of staff members eligible for editorial posts were named; all those who had attained at least the position of night editor were included.
One at a time, those eligible left the room while the remaining staff members discussed objectively each one in terms of every post -- bringing to view the experience, capability, and seniority of each.
As each candidate returned to the meeting he was asked to pledge his best ability to the job the staff would elect him to, to promise that as far as possible nothing would interfere with his responsibilities as an editor.
When all members were present a vote by secret ballot was taken of all but the chairman of the meeting, the editor. After three members counted the ballots, the staff was once more called into the editor's office to hear the results.
In the old days it was different. The editorial board made up the Bruin slate. The other members never had a voice in the selection. But in the past few years a cooperative outlook has penetrated the staff; they felt and knew that the policy of the California Bruin is set by every member of the staff. They knew that complete confidence in the editors would mean a happier and more successful staff relationship and ultimately a better campus paper.
Each person who was present at the meeting could offer first hand accounts of those up for higher posts. Those present had worked with each one, they knew each one's capabilities, ideas, characteristics. The staff knew what an editor's duties are; they knew what is expected of those who are chosen. Only those who had proved themselves deserved to take over editorial responsibilities, and only those who had proved themselves were chosen.
Each staff member was satisfied with the Bruin ballot. He pledged his support to those he had selected; pledged his loyalty. Each candidate felt the confidence of the staff, felt the responsibility vested in him.
With a clear mind the editor gathered up the names to present at publications board meeting, and after passage there, to present as recommendations to the Student Executive Council.
The staff returned once again to the busy routine of putting out the next day's Bruin. The typewriters whirred under the rampant touch of earnest reporters. The horseshoe desk was crowded once again and littered with stories in copy form. The motley color returned. After clearing off her desk, the editor folded the important slate into her notebook, gathered up her books and moved out of her room.
The door to the Editor's office was closed. (CB, 2/4/44.)
Given the sympathetic support of an understanding University Administration, such a moderate, responsible philosophy might have worked better than it did. As it was, the "slate" system struggled along for at least 15 years, misunderstood by the Administration and mistrusted by student government, but capable of producing outstanding student editors and leaders.
The liberalism of the Bruin continued to be met with opposition from conservative University administrators. Dean Earl J. Miller, commenting on an error in the Bruin, memo'd President Sproul plaintively: "I sometimes think we would be better off without a college newspaper." (Arch, Box 282, Folder 40, 2/15/43.) President Sproul had made up his mind as to his attitude toward the college press (see Page 64), and he reiterated that he believed in "laissez-faire . . . under which I have given the students freedom but have held them to strict accountability." (Arch, Box 303, Folder 40, 4/8/44.)
He was opposed in this by some of the deans, including Dr. Gordon S. Watkins, head of the administrative committee that governed UCLA from 1942 to 1945 after the retirement of Provost Earle R. Hedrick. (Arch, Box 282, Folder 40, 10/25/43.) For the first time, it was suggested on an official level that a Department of Journalism be set up to act as a guide for the Daily Bruin. Sproul replied:
I cannot see that the situation in universities where there are Departments of Journalism is any better . . . Professors, as you should know from experience with some of ours, are hardly more tactful than students in matters such as the editorial [in question] . . . if you have a Department of Journalism, the institution is responsible for whatever is published. As it is now, we are abused for inadequate control of our students, but we are not held fully responsible for what they say. However . . . I have this whole business of the student newspapers under serious consideration at the present time and may shortly hold a conference about it. (Arch, Box 282, Folder 40, 12/16/43.)
Go to the Second Half of This
8B. World War II (1941-1945)
Recently brought to light has been the case of the Negro vs. Westwood barbers. That Negro Navy and civilian students are refused service is now common knowledge. But how many realize the scope of this discrimination? For example, members of any except the Caucasian race are absolutely forbidden to own homes in Westwood. Restriction even expands to excluding all non-gentiles, thus keeping out Jews as well as Negroes, Chinese, etc.