A lot happened between WWII and me


November 7, 2018

Between the end of World War II and my birth date in 1950 lies a period of which I know little.

My birth year marked the start of the Korean conflict and another new era.

I was able last week to get a look at a little of the interm period when a friend gave me some Time magazines from the year 1946.

That was back when for 15 cents Time offered 104 pages a week of densely packed news and analysis in long-essay form. For readers it was a joy. Time has always had its own somewhat irreverent style in presenting events in its own perspective.

An example: Time said a senator and a key witness in a U.S. Senate hearing “snarled at each other like a pair of constipated cougars.”

Anyway, the time between the end of the war and me being born was far from dull.

The Cold War was dawning.

Giants in the labor movement, like United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis and United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther were emerging.

Veterans were crowding into colleges and universities in such numbers due to the GI Bill that many of them found themselves again living in barracks.

In the March 18, 1946, issue of Time, a speech by Winston Churchill delivered in Fulton, Missouri, was reverberating worldwide as he warned that the Soviet Union was becoming stronger and more belligerent.

“From (eastern Germany) to the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” Churchill intoned, “an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”

Time wasted no time in using the phrase — twice in that issue alone — and soon the Iron Curtain became a synonym for the Soviet Union and its satellite nations.

Also that week, CBS correspondent Edward R. Murrow returned to the U.S. after 16 years in England, where he had made a name for himself covering the Battle of Britain and England’s role in World War II.

He went to a desk job, but he did return to the air. His later broadcasts would succeed in bringing down U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s autocratic and arbitrary campaign to expose real and imagined Communists in public life.

On the cover that week was Francisco Franco, Spain’s dictator and the last vestige of fascism in the post-World War II Europe.

Leading nations, including the U.S. and Britain, were preparing to ask Franco to step down, but Franco remained in power until 1975.

The Academy Awards were handed out that week.

The best picture was “Lost Weekend,” about an alcoholic. (Time used the term “dipsomaniac.”)

And one other notable story: A boastful young tennis champion named Bobby Riggs had begun a 25-match series with the man he had recently dethroned, long-time champ Don Budge.

I don’t know how that came out, although Budge lost the first match.

About 29 years later, Riggs, aging but still boastful, challenged women’s champion Billie Jean King in a move to discredit the young women’s movement.

He lost that match, 18 sets to 10.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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