Yelm Editorials During World War II

By Ross Garmon (2004)

Nisqually Valley News editorials, during 1942-1945, cast a light on how World War II influenced the daily lives of the Yelm, McKenna, Roy, residence. Nisqually Valley News papers from 42-45, showed how small the Nisqually Valley area was. With Boy Scout picnic articles making the front page, it’s hard to imagine that World War II had any significant effect on Yelm at all. But in reality, Yelm had a driving interest in the war and its effects on the world and the community.

One of the most interesting aspects of the 42-45 papers, where the editorials on the war itself. Yelm citizens where always kept up on the latest news of the war with articles like “Germans Avoiding a Fight. They are trying to check losses by keeping their planes on the ground.”(1942) One of the common themes of the articles was that America would eventually win the war. The papers were loaded with Propaganda against the Axis Powers with articles like, “$50,000 sent by Japan to ambassadors in Chile to bribe government officials.”(1942) Another piece of bad press, against the Axis Powers, in the paper was, “Axis worn tactics of making overtures and giving assurances that she has no imperialistic aims towards these countries.” (“This and That,” 1942) A more shocking article saying that Japan was trying to turn “his holiness, the pope,” against America. (1942) The Japanese internment camps came into existence from articles like this one, “One of the most audacious phases of the Japanese plan is the one that calls for an attempt to induce a revolution.”(1942) These articles and numerous others defined the enemy for Yelm residents..

The war preparedness played an important part in the community. The community came out and was fully involved in the war effort. With monthly bond drives giving 10% of their income to the government for the war effort. They also had junk drink and metal salvage drives for the war effort as well. The community had an air raid warden and the community had weekly drills practice for an attack on Yelm by planes. The government published plans to the nation in case of gas attacks and the Yelm version of it was “Gas masks not needed by everyone, just get away.”(1942) The Yelm prepared for attacks by Japan and the community understood fully what to do if an attack came. The Yelm community was very prepared.

The main concern of the Yelm residence was the condition for Yelm boys across the world, participating in the war effort. In the Nisqually Valley News articles entitled “News from the Front.” The articles explained how Yelm boys were doing, and where they were stationed across the world. The articles included letters from the Yelm soldiers themselves. “Guess you heard about the big invasion-caught the Jerry with his pants down-which should win the war summer.”(March 30, 1944, “Jack Maybe”). Everywhere week they would publish updates on the soldiers. And the community supported the soldiers fully and with all their hearts.

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