††††††††††† Interview with Ed McCulloch by David C. Bowne for the AAUP Oral History † Project, Center for Oral History, University of Connecticut, April 9, 2001.
Bowne: Itís Monday the 9th of April in the 2001st year of our Lord.† Iím David Bowne ††††††††††† and I am doing the interview and this is Ed. McCullah.† Ed McCullah is a resident † of Coventry?
DB: †††† Asford... we are doing an interview about his experiences during the Second †††† World War.† How old Were you during the Second World War?
EM: †††† Well I was born in 1930 so ah I was 12 years old in 1942
DB: †††† Where and When were you born?
EM: †††† In St. Luis, Missouri in 1930.
DB: †††† What brought you out to Connecticut then?
EM: †††† Well I came East to go to college, and when I got out of college I went into ††††† the Army in the east, signal core and ah then when to work for a company, that ††††† happened to be here in Connecticut, I didnít select Connecticut, I selected the † company I was going to work for.
DB: †††† And they selected here didnít they?
EM:††††† And there only located here at that time.
DB: †††† And what company is that?
EM: †††† Prat and Whitney aircraft.
DB: †††† Ah
DB: †††† So I would assume you grew up in St. Luis during the Second world War, or ††† around there?
EM: †††† Yes I left St. Luis in 1947, so I was there throughout the war
DB: †††† So How would you describe your early life, your childhood?
EM: †††† Privileged
DB: †††† Privileged why do you say that?
EM: †††† My father was a lawyer, and senior partner in a law firm, so we never had any wants
DB: †††† You say wants?
EM: †††† We were never lacking for anything we wanted
DB: †††† Ohhh!
DB: †††† Your father was a lawyer, so he must have went to school, or something like that?
EM: †††† He went to Harvard Law School
DB: †††† Wow, thats impressive, so did you aspire to go to Harvard as well?
EM: †††† Ahh no I didnít, as a matter of fact I wanted to be an engineer I knew that, and if ††††††††† you went to Harvard law school why there is only engineering school in the world †††††† thats any good and thats MIT, and thats good cause of its proximity to Harvard, †††††††††† not because of any intrinsic merit of its own.† So when I elected to go to Cornell ††††††††††† rather then MIT
DB: †††† BIG RED!
EM: †††† My father couldnít understand it, he accepted that, but thought it was not a wise †††††††††† choice.
DB: †††† So you entered college in 1947?
EM: †††† In the Fall of 47 yeah
DB: †††† So your father was a lawyer, did your mother do anything, did she stay at home?
EM: †††† She did a great deal, but none of it for pay
DB: †††† What does that mean?
EM: †††† Well in that Generation, she was a mother and a housewife and she managed the †††††††††† house, hired and fired servants?
DB: †††† Servants?!, The servants who were people who helped around the house?
EM: †††† Well there was a cook who was full time, a laundress who was part time, a women †††††† who was responsible for cleaning the house, who came two or three times a week
DB: †††† oh ok
DB: †††† What kind of school did you go to growing up?
EM: †††† A private school
DB: †††† Private school
EM: †††† Private High School, Private grade school
DB: †††† Was it a boarding school?
EM: †††† No it was a day school
DB: †††† What was that like?
EM: †††† Well in hign-sight I would resort to the word privileged, it was an excellent high school, 100% of the graduates went on to college
DB: †††† Wow thats impressive
EM: †††† A great many of them to Ivy League, such as myself, we had half the class go to ††††††††††† either Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Amherst, Williams, but it was a privileged †††††††† environment
DB: †††† What were your childhood interests, what did you like when you were a little kid
EM: †††† I liked anything that was outside, bugs, plants
DB: †††† Motorcycles!
EM: †††† No not then, but then later motor scooters, electric trains, Although, I didnít have ††††††††† one but my best friend had one and often spent the afternoons.† Matter of fact we †††††††† were playing with his electric train on December 7th 41, his father came down to ††††††††† tell us about Pearl Harbor, and I decided to go home, cause we must be in danger, ††††† we werenít
DB: †††† Itís interesting I remember the day the gulf war started, I remember being in our ††††††††††† dining room, and had whole bunch of model Lionel trains set up.† I remember ††††††† playing with the model trains, and my mother came into the room and she Said † ďDave in the gulf... the US has attacked IraqĒ, and I was playing with my trains, so †††††††† itís a similar experience.
DB: †††† What kind of trains did you have, were they American Flyer?
EM: †††† I donít remember, they were not mine, they were just toys
DB: †††† Itís interesting how we remember, interesting tidbits of very important days in ††† American History
DB: †††† Did any of your family serve in the Second World War?
EM: †††† No, no, my older sister could have, but she was in college at the time, and ah there †††††† werenít very many women in the armed services at the time, and my father not †††††††† eligible for the military.
DB: †††† He was too old?
EM: †††† Ah, he probably could of gotten around that, but he was not physically in condition †††††† for, cause of a heart murmur.
DB: †††† That will still keep you out of the Army today
EM: †††† Is that right?
DB: †††† Yeah
DB: †††† When the war started, I would imagine you were around 11 years old, is that ††† correct?
EM: †††† Yeah
DB: †††† So you in middle school?
EM: †††† We didnít have middle schools, we had a grade school that through 6th grade, and †††††† then the high school I went to started at 7th, and went, John Burrughs High † School, started 7th grade went through 12th
DB: †††† Did you notice you life change at all that much?
EM: †††† No not really, I donít, really the only impact that ever occurred to us that was †† apparent to me, there may have been more apparent to my mother and father , to †††††††† me the only impact was the rationing of gasoline, butter and sugar.
DB: †††† Was it hard for you to have to, your mother the rationing not have as much sugar, †††††††† gasoline or butter as they may normally wanted?
EM: †††† I never heard my mother speak of hardship at any time in her life, certainly the †† rationing to which we were subjected was almost trivial in its impact
DB: †††† Oh Really
EM: †††† Instead of butter why we had margarine, with coloring in a separate packing, and ††††††††† ah the gasoline rationing I suppose was the most severe impact, because of it ††† immobilized my mother to a large extent she couldnít travel around to do the †††† things she was accustomed to doing.
DB: †††† Ah ha, what did she think of that do you remember, did she accept it?
EM: †††† Well the Second World War was something to which the entire country was well ††††††††† committed and everybody would have been glad to have done a lot more if they †††† could of
DB: †††† So she was happy to be able to help out?
EM: †††† Yes
DB:† ††† Before December 7th did you have any idea there was a coming war?
EM: †††† Absolutely none, the only thought on my mind was how thoroughly distasteful the ††††††††† president was to my father
DB: †††† Ohh really, how so?
EM: †††† My father had been born and raised in Arkansas, therefore was a democrat until †††††††††† Roosevelt and his New Deal came along, and like so many Southern men, particularly wealthy Southernís he...† Rooseveltís fondness for Government †††††† subsides and government participation and regulating the activities of people was † rather distasteful.
DB: †††† What was your fathers view of it?
EM: †††† On Roosevelt?
DB: †††† Yeah
EM: †††† Well he never voted for a democrat again
DB: †††† So you didnít have any idea that there was possibly a war on the horizon before †††††††††† December 7th
EM: †††† No I donít think that was a reality to anybody in the Midwest, or the west, †††††† Midwest being the Mississippi valley.† The East was somewhat aware of it I ††††††††††† suspect, because of the warnings of German Submarines being off coasts, and the †††††††† destroyer deal with England, but I suppose most people figured isolationism was †††††††††† the best approach.† That was Rooseveltís problem to get around the isolationist ††††††††††† viewpoint that so many had.
DB: †††† How did you feel, (I would imagine you were a child at the time) but once Pearl ††††††††††† Harbor occurred did your view of the war change at all?†
EM: †††† No not really, I saw friends of my sister that who were in the service, when they ††††††††††† came home on leave that would often be in our house for dinner or something, it ††† was exciting to me to see Naval officers, Army officers in their uniforms.
DB: †††† Ohh thats always exciting
EM: †††† As a little boy you wished that you could be in their place
DB: †††† Did the, what was the General attitude of the war after Pearl Harbor, what was your attitude towards Japanese or Germans, did you even have an attitude towards †††††††††† them?
EM: †††† I personally didnít, the government worked hard of course, to make us think that ††††††††† there wasnít a good German anywhere in the world, and the Japanese were even †††† worse.
DB: †††† So personally yourself did you feel?
EM: †††† We had a young girl, Japanese Girl, who was going to college in St. Luis, ††††††††† Washington University who couldnít find housing.† So my mother gave her a room †† up on the 3rd floor of our house.† She was taking dress designing, she was quite †††††††††† good at it.† She would occasionally function as a baby sitter, more often she was †† just up in her room.† She was an attractive young women who spoke English quite ††††††† well.† So my impression of Japanese was favorable.†
DB: †††† Ah-ha
EM: †††† Rather limited selection
DB: †††† After, How did the people around you respond to the war, especially after the US ††††††† got involved, did you notice a change in a lot of people?
EM: †††† Well my world consisted of people my own age, we were largely unaffected by it
DB: †††† Being Children, being eleven years old would you sometimes play war games?
EM: †††† Well we old enough at 12 13 14 to recognize that it was a serious activity, so no †††††††††† we did play games at it.† But we tried to make our contributions by collecting †††††††† toothpaste tubes to save the aluminum, by collecting posters, ďloose lips sink shipsĒ †††††† type posters Uncle Sam wants you, so we sought ways in which we could help.† † Oh course it was no help, but we thought we were doing something.
DB:† ††† Was it fun?
EM: †††† It wasnít meant to be fun, it was meant to be helpful somehow, I think our elders ††††††††† encouraged us to do things to teach us duty.
DB: †††† Do you feel learnt, you had a good lesson in duty?
EM: †††† At the time, and looking back at it, I think it, along with many others things, †††††† contributed to an attitude of obligation, Nobel Oblique sort of thing
DB: †††† Could you explain that a little bit, especially to people listening to this.† What that †††††††††† means to you
EM: †††† Well I have used the word privileged several times, my father, my mother were quite explicit to point out that with privilege comes responsibility.† And the noble †† obligue, is the obligation of the nobility to care for those who are less privileged.† †††††††††† Great miss-understanding on the part of most Northerners on this, in the regards †† the attitude of† Southern Slave holders had towards their slaves, they felt an ††††† obligation to take care of the slaves.† It wasnít one, they werenít a peace of ††††††††† machinery that you drove to its limit, but it was indeed another human being that ††††††††††† you were obligated to feed and clothe, take care of.† So their were similar ††††††††† obligations to the poor.† Primarily to the poor, my father kept reminding us of.
DB: †††† You felt you were given more, so more was expected of you?
EM: †††† Yes, that Biblical to, Christ tells us ďThose who have much, much will be given, and to those who have little even that will be taken away.Ē†
DB: †††† We might have already covered this before, but your view of the enemy your view ††††††† of the enemy, you said you had a Japanese Women who stayed with you at your †††††††††† house.† What was your view of Italy and Germany, did you ever run into any ††† Italians or Germans?
EM: †††† The Italians earned a very bad reputation for themselves during the Second World ††††††† War, because of their poor performance in North Africa, they were easily defeated by both the English and the Americans.† And in the Italian campaign of the Second ††††††† World War, it was the Germans that we were fighting on the Italian campaign.† †† Not really the Italians.† I donít think the Italian people were really supportive of the war, I think Mussolini drove Italy into an alliance with Hitler.† Which the †††††††† people for the most didnít agree in.† So we didnít have a...† well we didnít have ††††††††††† any bad feelings towards the Italians.†
DB: †††† Why do you feel we were fighting the Second World War?
EM: †††† Well we were fighting the Germans cause they were led by a dictator, and we felt †††††††† democracy was a better form of government.† We were fighting the Japanese cause ††††††††††† they were mean little guys, and had attacked us, and deserved to be spanked.†
DB: †††† Do you think there may have been others reasons we may have been fighting the †††††††††† war?
EM: †††† Ohh Yes, certainly, from my current perspective, the reasons were all largely ††† economic, but at the time I was unaware of Japanís need for oil.† Germanyís need ††††††††† for itís other natural resources, like oil that they didnít have.†
DB:† ††† There were people in the United States who didnít support U.S. involvement in the †††††† Second World War, did you ever any people like that?
EM: †††† No
DB: †††† Did you ever read about them in the newspaper or anything?†
EM: †††† I was more concerned with the Sporting News then with current events in the war.† †††††† No, There were those who were isolationists who felt it was non of our business to protect England.† But my father always had a very broad view of history and †††† obligation.† Sp since he thoroughly supported the war,† in spite of being run by †††† Roosevelt.
DB: †††† Did your father do anything during the war to help the war effort?
EM: †††† Well thatís a difficult worded question.† Do anything to help the war effort.
DB: †††† Well maybe the better question is what did he do during the war?
EM: †††† Well he was an Attorney
DB: †††† Ohh he continued to practice law
EM: †††† He continued his law practice, and I guess, that sort of effort, they thought they were helping by maintaining a stable home environment so that there would indeed be a home for the soldiers and sailors to come home to after the war.
††††††††††† That was important.
DB: †††† Did you, as you grew older during the war, the war ended when the war ended you ††††† were about 15 I would imagine, 15 or 16?
EM: †††† Yeah
DB: †††† Did your view of the war change at all as you matured?
EM: †††† No, it remained outside my sphere of activity
DB: †††† Before the war were you a Christian?
EM: †††† I donít know, I donít know, I didnít have a road to Damascus type of experience.† †††††† I was never had a instantaneous conversion.† I joined a church of which my father †††††††††† was an elder when I was 12.† Very very shortly after the beginning of the war.† I †††††††††† donít think it was in any way related to the war.
DB: †††† Did you find yourself, During the war did you find yourself praying at all or talking †††††††† with God about the war at all.† Maybe praying for people you knew?
EM: †††† No
DB: †††† Did the war at all effect your beliefs?
EM: †††† My religious beliefs?
DB: †††† Yeah
EM: †††† Well, Soldiers throughout history have always felt God was on their side.† Its ††† particularly noticeable in the Civil War.† When Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. ††††††† Lee were both devoutly religious, and steeply faithful men, totally convinced† God †††††††† was on their side.† I think He had a greater plan then either side.†
DB:† ††† Did the war effect the whole town?† You said there were scrap drives, Iron drives ††††††† and stuff like that, did you notice any other changes in your town growing up ††††† during the war?†
EM: †††† Not really of any significance, the gasoline rationing had an impact on everyone, ††††††††††† but it was more of an inconvenience then a was a problem.
DB:† ††† What about the economy, did the economy pick up during the war, did it go down, †††††† did it stay the same?
EM: †††† Of course the economy, that word needs to be defined, there were more people †††††††††† working during then war then before the war.† Certainly the introduction of women into the workforce was a major major social impact.† Which no one ††††† recognized at the time, cause at the time everyone thought all these women are ††††† going to go back home after the war when the soldiers come back home, why † women are going go back to taking care of houses and the men will do the work.† †† That didnít happen.
DB:† ††† During the war did some new industries come to town that may have stayed?
EM: †††† I donít think so for St. Luis, the new industries that came to St. Luis came later.† †††††††††† In the late 40ís.†
DB: †††† Did you ever go to the movies during the Second World War?
EM: †††† Ohh yeah
DB: †††† Do you remember any of those movies which you saw?
EM: †††† Not the movies, but the matinee performance which was the only one we went to, †††††††† invaribitly started off with Movietone News, and there would be film clips of ††††† usually army, but occasionally Navy
DB: †††† What did you think of those
EM: †††† I regretted I was too young to be there
DB: †††† What about the movies themselves, do you think the movies effected your view of †††††††† the war at all?
EM: †††† No
DB: †††† Do you remember seeing Casablanca or any other wartime movies.
EM: †††† No movies were not a significant element in our entertainment.
DB: †††† Did you write letters to anyone during the war?
EM: †††† No
DB: †††† If you were... You said... you said you were in Korea correct, no, you said you ††††††††††† were in the Korean war, but in New Jersey.† Did your experiences maybe growing ††††††††††† up in America during World War II effect when you went into the military in ††††† Korea?
EM: †††† No I donít think there was any correlation, I was in ROTC in college, and I had no †††††† alternative, it was not an option for me weather to go into the army or not.†
DB: †††† Ohh really
EM: †††† You graduated, Why I had a week and a half in between graduation and the date I †††††† was told to report to the army, so it was payback time.†
DB: †††† Were you drafted, or did you volunteer for the ROTC?
EM: †††† ROTC was a matter of getting thirty dollars a month for beer.
DB: †††† Ha Ha
EM: †††† Who was ever going to have another war so yeah I signed up
DB: †††† So when you signed up for ROTC you didnít think there be any other wars
EM: †††† Oh course not.
DB: †††† You figured the Second World war would have taken care of everything
EM: †††† Yes
DB: †††† Obviously it wasnít the case
EM: †††† Right
DB: †††† When you gradated from Cornell, and you entered the workforce, did you work †††††††††† with a lot of people who had served during the Second World War?
EM: †††† Yes, my immediate bosses were all of, I was just four years to young, maybe six †††††††††† years to young, four years at the end of the war, and six at the beginning.† All my ††††††† bosses of an age to be in the army.† But most of them had not been there because †††††††† they had been working for Pratt and Whitney which was a... if you worked for ††††††† Pratt and Whitney, they wouldnít let you go into the army.† Cause it was a defense ††††††† industry.†
DB:† ††† Did you sometimes have a hard time, were any of your buddies older friends had ††††††††† they served during the second world war?
EM: †††† No, Some of my sisterís friends I knew had, but none of my friends were old ††† enough.†
DB: †††† Rosie the Riveter was a popular image of women during the war.† Do you feel that ††††††† was an accurate imagine of women during the war?
EM: †††† No I donít think so, I think that was another example where the government was ††††††††† essentially using propaganda on American people to build up enthusiastic support ††††† for the war.† And that was the way that women could support the war by going to †††††††† work.† And in fact they were needed in industry.
DB: †††† What do you think would be an accurate image of women during the Second ††† World War, or working on the homefront?
EM: †††† Well I donít know if they were, the ones who went to work in industry, were no †††††††††† different then the men who worked in industry.† They got up in the morning and †††† went to work, and worked all day, and came home at night.† Whether they were †††††††††† men or women was irrelevant.†
DB: †††† Did you work anywhere during the war, even though you were sixteen?
EM: †††† I was a counselor at a boys camp, in northern Wisconsin.†
DB: †††† Ohh, what did you do there?
EM: †††† I had a vacation with pay, teaching boys how to swim, how to sail, how to play tennis, baseball, shoot a rifle, hike, all activities that I adored myself.† Taking canoe † trips.†
DB: †††† Was it like a Boy Scout Camp?
EM: †††† It was a private camp, never been to a Boy Scout Camp so I donít know what they †††† be like.†
DB: †††† Itís basically the same thing.
DB: †††† So during the summers I would imagine you were pretty much isolated no matter †††††††††† what, from what was going on during the war.†
EM: †††† When the war with Japan ended, I was sitting in the middle of a river on a canoe †††††††††† trip, washing my feet with soap to get poison ivory syrup off.† Somebody drove †††††††† over a bridge near by and shouted down ďThe War was overĒ.†
DB: †††† So you were just having fun in nature.
EM: †††† Right I was on a canoe trip, camping out, nothing which I enjoyed more, except ††††††††††† for sailing.
DB: †††† Did you work at this camp the previous summer in 44?
EM: †††† Well I went their as a camper until I was 16 which would have been the summer of †††††† 46.† So in 42 through 45 I was a camper.
DB: †††† Ohh ok so you were camper when you heard the war ended.
EM: †††† Yeah, actaully I was what they called a leader at that time.† Which is neither ††††† camper or counselor.† It was a counselor without pay.
DB: †††† Ohh I see
EM: †††† I would imagine then during the summers then you mind was not on what was †† going on overseas, but camping
DB: †††† Right, it was just play
DB: †††† Did you have a radio at the camp at all?
EM: †††† I donít remember one.
DB: †††† Probably not then.† Were there newspapers people read there?
EM: †††† Not that I remember.
DB: †††† Pretty much isolated from the rest of the world.†
EM: †††† Yes
DB: †††† Iím sure you enjoyed it capitaly.
EM: †††† Yes
DB: †††† Do you have any other interesting things you remember during the war?
EM: †††† No, not really
DB: †††† What do you think Godís plan was for the second world war?
EM: †††† I havenít the vaguest idea, I donít know what His plan was for the Civil War and ††††††††† that was pretty simple.† Certainly the Second World War was infinitely more † complicated in its motivations then the Civil War.† So I have, I would never, try to †††††††† estimate what Godís purpose is.†
DB: †††† That is interesting.†
EM: †††† He has, if there are a million people in the Army, Heís got a million different ††††† purposes.† The amazing thing is how he works out such grand schemes with such ††† little people, and has each little person doing just what he wants them to be doing.† ††††††† For their benefit.†
DB: †††† Your experiences growing up, how did those apply to you life, later in life?
EM: †††† Well which experiences?
DB: †††† Well just growing up as a child, can you think time when God was working in your ††††††† life?
EM: †††† Well I was certainly unaware of it at the time.†
DB: †††† Well thatís what I mean, after the once you grew up you saw things that God was †††††††† working in your life at one point?†
EM: †††† Well I think he was working at every step I took from the day I was conceived.
DB: †††† When you look back at the war now, how do you feel about it today?
EM: †††† The Second World War?†
DB: †††† Yeah
DB: †††† Well it was the last great world war.† It was the last time the country was really unified.† I think Roosevelt did a magnificent job of bringing the people into a ††††††††††† concerted and unified purpose.† It was indeed a world war, and there hasnít been †††††††† anything like it since.†
DB: †††† Do you think that there is anything that Americanís today can learn about the war?
EM: †††† Well I think we have, the American involvement in Korea, and Vietnam and so called Persian war are all examples of resolving an issue early before it becomes a †††††† world wide configuration.†
DB: †††† When it came to the Holocaust in Europe, when did you learn about that, was it ††††††††††† after the war, was it during the war?
EM: †††† I have never really learned about that.†
DB: †††† When did you first hear about it I mean?
EM: †††† I donít remember.
DB: †††† They teach most children about it nowadays.
EM: †††† Yes I deplore that, that continued reminded of that.†
DB: †††† After the war was over was there a change of the town after the war?
EM: †††† Well St. Luis is not really a town, St. Luis is a large city, things donít change in † large cities very quickly.
DB: †††† When you moved here in 1947 to Connecticut did you move directly to ††††††††††† Connecticut; Ohh well you went to Cornell in 47 correct?
EM: †††† Yes
DB: †††† And then you graduated from Cornell in 51?
EM: †††† Well it was a five year program that I was signed up for.† So I graduated in 52, and ††††† then went into the Army.† Came out of their in 54, and went to work for, thats when I came to Connecticut in 54.†
DB: †††† Did you notice, did Connecticut seem a lot different to you then St. Luis had been?
EM: †††† Well yes, it was a great deal different, but that was largely do to my connections in ††††††† St. Luis.† Which I didnít peruse here in Connecticut.†
DB: †††† Well thats pretty much all the questions I have.† Is there anything else you wish to ††††††††† say, any final remarks?
EM: †††† No you have done remarkably well to get me to speak at all.† Iím not given to † speaking, least of all about myself.
DB: †††† Well itís been a pleasure talking to you.† Thanks for talking today.