Mint Hill Was Greatly Affected by World War II

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“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

“The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

“Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

“It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

“The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu…. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire….” President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Gathered around the radio in their living rooms, Mint Hill residents heard President’s Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech,” delivered to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, words that resulted in America’s entry into World War II. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the country had not taken any action on the war. Now there was a good reason to get into the fray, and the whole country rallied.

Young men joined various branches of the military service, and many never returned home. Approximately 258,000 North Carolinians served in the war. Of that number, the names of 76 men and three women are listed on the roster of Mint Hill residents who served their country. Troy Earp was killed in Germany on Feb. 20, 1945, and P. Andrew Davis became a prisoner of war, also in Germany.
With 24 military installations in North Carolina, the Tar Heel state trained more soldiers than any other state. Meanwhile, German U-boats sank Allied ships along the Outer Banks. Morris Field developed into the Charlotte Airbase, with two runways and several buildings. The huge Quartermaster Corps Depot opened in Charlotte on May 16, 1941, and eventually employed 2,500 civilians under a staff of 80 Army officers. The depot provided everything the military needed during the war, and its staff held the record for the purchase of war bonds. During this time, the U.S. Rubber Company, aka the “Shell Plant,” operated in the Steele Creek areal; the company also produced batteries near Mt. Holly.

Local residents had to do without the life’s luxuries in those days. Sugar, meat, gas, and shoes were rationed and could only be purchased by redeeming coupons from ration books. There was a shortage of building materials and homes, too. Oftentimes, married women whose husbands were away on foreign battlefields moved in with relatives or friends until the war was over.

On May 8, 1945, the Allies accepted Nazi Germany’s official surrender, and a few months later, on August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrendered. The war had ended at last!

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