Refusing War, Affirming Peace
A History of Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks
Publication Year: 2009
Under the leadership of a remarkable director, Rev. Mark Y. Schrock, and some outstanding camp leaders, the men at Camp #21 created a vibrant community. Despite the requisite long days of physical labor, the men developed a strong educational program, published a newspaper and a literary magazine, produced plays and concerts, and participated in a special school and research project called the School of Pacifist Living. They also challenged the Selective Service System in two political protests—one concerning the threatened removal of a Japanese American, George Yamada, and a second concerning a war- related work project. Their story shows the CPS system at its best.
Jeffrey Kovac’s thorough research has resulted in one of the very few histories of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, shedding light on a generation of men who, during the “good war,” created a community for peace. Refusing War is an important contribution to World War II history, peace studies, and the history of the Pacific Northwest.
Published by: Oregon State University Press
Amid the torrent of books recalling America’s World War II experience on the battlefield and the home front, one facet of that experience has received scant attention. This is the history of a small but significant number of Americans who for reasons of conscience refused military service despite massive pressure to fight in what has come to be called...
No book is written in isolation, and I want to thank those who have helped along the way. In my first serious venture into historical scholarship I have learned the importance of good archivists, and have had the pleasure of working with several. The records of CPS #21 are preserved at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in ...
Chapter One: Introduction
World War II occupies a unique space in American memory. It is the “good war” in which the “greatest generation” mobilized to defeat fascism in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific. Through the mists of nostalgia, those years are remembered as a time of simple, old-fashioned patriotism in which the citizenry, both at home and abroad...
Chapter Two: Origins of CPS
To understand the origins of CPS it is essential to begin in 1917, the year the United States entered World War I and passed a universal conscription act, because the experiences of conscientious objectors leaders. The American entry into World War I found the Historic unprepared to deal with the issue of conscription. When the war broke...
Chapter Three: The First Months: Organizing a Community
Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks, Oregon, officially opened on November 27, 1941, when nine men arrived, transfers from the CPS camp at San Dimas, California. They were welcomed by the camp director, the Reverend Mark Y. Schrock, and two COs who were already there, J. Henry Dasenbrock and Wayne Gregory. Dasenbrock...
Chapter Four: Summer and Fall 1942: Confrontations
As summer approached, CPS #21 saw many changes. Men continued to arrive, increasing the size of the camp, but others left, including two assignees who were staff members, and some camp leaders. For example, in late April, twenty-six men, mainly Mennonites, including Wendell Harmon, editor...
Chapter Five: 1943: In for the Long Haul
The final issue of the Columbian, dated February 1943, reported that “at 3:00 a.m. on January 28, fire completely destroyed the Mark Schrock library.” The night watchman did not discover the fire, which was probably caused by faulty wiring, until it was too late to save anything. The winter weather frustrated efforts to fight the fire. There...
Chapter Six: 1944: Transition to CO Leadership of the Camp
Mark Schrock resigned. After he and his family left for Indiana in February two assignees, Bob Case and Charlie Davis, were chosen as co-directors, leaving the camp entirely in the hands of the COs. In late summer a personnel committee was established, primarily to handle the sometimes contentious issue of assigning men to side camps. That ...
Chapter Seven: 1945-1946: The End of the War and the End of CPS #21
“Morale at the Wyeth camp clearly dropped during 1945.”1 Some of the men were entering their fourth year in CPS; most were entering their third. As detached service opportunities opened up in mental hospitals and medical and agricultural experiments, many of the men with the most talent and initiative had transferred to these more challenging...
Chapter Eight: Conclusion
If Cascade Locks was “one of our most significant camps,” the “Athens of CPS,” how did this camp develop such a vibrant community that produced literature, art and music, a camp that could organize an effective protest of the removal of George Yamada and effect a change in national policy about war-related work, while other camps, such as...
Appendix: Complete Roster of CPS #21
Notes & Bibliography
Page Count: 192
Illustrations: B&W photos
Publication Year: 2009
OCLC Number: 794701190
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