San Francisco in World War II (Images of America)
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Everything changed on the morning of December 7, 1941, and life in San Francisco was no exception. Flush with excitement and tourism in the wake of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, the city was stunned at the severity of the Pearl Harbor attack, and quickly settled into organized chaos with its new role as a major deployment center for the remainder of the war. "Frisco" teemed with servicemen and servicewomen during and after the conflict, forever changing the face of this waterfront city. Warships roamed the bay, and fearsome gun embankments appeared on the cliffs facing the sea, preparing to repel an invasion that never happened.
Francisco. (Courtesy SanFrancisco History Center, SanFrancisco Public Library.) Paul Verdier (right), presidentof the city of Paris, droppedthe first coin into a bucketcampaign to raise money fora plaque for the USS San Francisco memorial. Posingwith Verdier in this November1950 photograph are two ofhis employees—Harry Lawlor(left), a former army captaininjured at Oahu, and FrankFahey (center), who saw SouthPacific action with the navy.(Courtesy San FranciscoHistory Center, San FranciscoPublic
various World War II memorials, including the Gold Star Mothers Plaque at the Veterans War Memorial building, the Holocaust Memorial, the Battle of the Bulge Memorial, and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal Memorial at the USS San Francisco Memorial. This city by the bay was often the last American soil a soldier would see before being placed in harm’s way. Many ordinary citizens became patriots when they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and found themselves in kill-or-be-killed situations. Some
Lima), Peru;Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires,Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay;Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; La Guaira,Venezuela; and Guantanamo Bay,Cuba. (Courtesy author.) Proud members of the 30th Infantry are shown at ease during a parade at Crissy Field in March1941. Crissy Field was named after aviator Maj. Dana Crissy, who died in a crash in 1919. Duringthe review at Crissy Field, the regiment paraded at full war strength; more than half of the menwere recently inducted trainees. The presentation
the shipthroughout the entire war and later wentinto the restaurant business at Joe’s andthe Olympic Club. This picture wastaken in Honolulu in 1940. (CourtesyCharles Wilson.) This December 7, 1941, aerial image of the attack on Pearl Harbor was taken at 8:00 a.m. bya Japanese squadron leader; the image was found in a Yokasuka Naval Facilities warehouse inNovember 1945. The coded signal “Niitakayama nobore [Climb Mount Niitaka] 1208” signifiedthat hostilities would commence on December 8 (Japan
administrator of the defense-savings staff in Northern California,addresses employees of the Emporium at a Saturday morning defense-bond rally in the store inJanuary 1942. (Courtesy San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.) In San Francisco, the board of supervisors’ streets committee issueda resolution to change Japan Street to Kelly Street in honor of warhero Capt. Colin Kelly Jr., who was credited with attacking andsinking the Japanese battleship Haruna off Luzon in the