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It's Come – We're Calm

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With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, World War II came to American territory. On December 12th, the University of North Dakota's student newspaper, the Dakota Student, printed this editorial about the arrival of World War II.

“This is it – but we're not going to get hysterical about it. We've had our rude awakening. We're out of our unbelieving lethargy and in the deadly, steel-cold, blood-hot whirlpool of war. As collegians, we've got to readjust our thinking, our hopes – we've got to review our position. Our neat little futures aren't so neat or so sure any more. The present, at least at first glance, is the only solid ground.

“But this, of course, is the sheerest nonsense. There can be no jitters, no despair, no hair-tearing from UND collegians. We're going to take it cool, stay where we are until we're needed somewhere else, and soak up as much of college training as we possibly can. We'll be sincerely patriotic – but we will not be driven to hysteria by flag-wavers and spouting orators.

“When we are called – and a lot of us are going to be – we'll go without fuss or heroics. But until we are called we'll carry on here, laying the foundations for a stable, sane world after the pieces are swept up again.

“We'll have no witch hunts, no stupid book burnings or persecutions of good Americans. But neither will we quietly listen to defeatist, subversive propaganda from ungood Americans – students or faculty.

“The restrictions are coming – censorship, price and wage laws, abrogation of some civil rights – but we won't mount soapboxes to denounce measures we must recognize as both necessary and temporary. Inevitably, there will also be some setbacks, some military defeats. We've had some already – more will come before the victories start piling up. We'll be calm in the face of these reverses, look ahead.

“It's going to be a bitter, nerve-trying time. But we've got our assignment – right now it's here on campus, working for the future – and we'll fill it all the way with a minimum of display and a maximum of effort.”

The author of this editorial was John Hulteng, who would later go on to become an acclaimed journalism professor at the University of Oregon.

Dakota Datebook by Andrew Alexis Varvel


“It's Come – We're Calm”, Dakota Student, 12 December 1941, page 4, column 1. (Although the page says “PAGE TWO”, it is actually page 4.)

Staff Directory, Dakota Student, 12 December 1941, page 4, column 1.

“John Hulteng” (obituary), Spokesman-Review (Spokane), 14 March 1996, page 16, column 5. (found at

John Hulteng joined the faculty of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications in 1955, and would later serve two terms as dean of the school. His measure of acclaim is reflected by how it continues to maintain the John L. Hulteng Chair in Media Ethics and Responsibility. According to the website for the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications, “Hulteng authored seven books. His publications are widely acclaimed and have brought great exposure to the school.” It also says, “His book The Messenger's Motive was one of the first journalism textbooks to address ethics and has become a staple in the field.”

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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