Utah World War 2 Stories
Part 2: "Europe" Transcript
[ Announcer: ] Utah World War II Stories: Europe was made possible in part by: the Cleone Peterson Eccles Endowment Fund, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the Stephen G. and Susan E. Denkers Family Foundation, and the Stewart Education Foundation. Additional funding was provided by: the C. Comstock Clayton Foundation, Kennecott Utah Copper, and the University of Utah...and the support of the contributing members of KUED.
[ Louis Slama: ] When I came to this country, I was nine years old, and, uh, my mother and father were all living here already. My sister and I were living in Czechoslovakia, and my mother and father eventually wanted to come back and make some money here and go back to the old country. So when Hitler started with the Nazis and everything at that time, they went to the Red Cross and they said, you know, we gotta get... If you don't get our kids out now... They knew that Hitler would start the invasion of Poland and all the other ones, so they had to get us out before all that started. So we went to the Red Cross, but, uh, on our way we had to go through Germany into the ports and we came on a Baranger, which was a German ship. When we got into Germany, uh, all the swastika guys were all with the swastikas. They took all our clothing, opened it up and checked us all. And you see a whole line of them and they're all... You could tell that Hitler's regime was already starting in 1934. I mean, they were all over the place like flies. So, uh, that always stuck in my mind, saying that these people are ruthless, they're killers. The Nazis were not human. They were-- They were animals. They had no respect for the human beings. You know, they always thought they were the super human race, and when you get people like that, you know, the only way you can change that is to destroy them, basically. And that's--we had... The German soldier was rated the best soldier in the world, you know, so what we were doing, we were fighting the soldier that was best in the world. We had to defeat them at all costs really.
[ Crit Killen: ] Being defeated just was not part of our vocabulary. We was there for the end of the war, to stay until it was finished. When that song, "Over there, over there, "The Yanks are comin' and we won't come back "'Till it's over over there." That was our philosophy then was to fight until we had won and victory had been accomplished and then come home.
[ Rick Randle: ] There's not just one story of World War II. There are as many stories as there were men and women to fight. More than 3,600 never returned to Utah to tell their stories. These are some of the 67,000 that did.
[ Rick Randle: ] Four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and America found itself shocked and unprepared for global war. Most citizens of Utah had never seen an ocean, had never flown in an airplane, and were lucky to own an automobile. Yet in the following 3 1/2 years, the young and untested would volunteer in record numbers to wage war against the mightiest military powers on earth-- the Japanese empire and the Third Reich of Germany. Utahns shed their blood and gave their lives with a shared singular purpose, truly unique to the American character. A purpose not for conquest, treasure and rule, but instead for freedom, decency and human dignity. Hello. I'm Rick Randle. Tonight, KUED proudly presents "Utah WWII Stories: Europe," the second in a four-part series told by the men and women from Utah who were there.
[ Rick Randle: ] There was a growing danger looming beneath the waters of the Atlantic. Wolf packs--clusters of German submarines-- stalked U.S. convoys and merchant vessels and troop carriers. As early as 1942, hundreds of ships and thousands of lives were lost, many just off our own shores. The Atlantic became a strategic battlefield in the dangerous game of the hunter and the hunted.
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