Extra! Extra! Harvard Service News Replaces The Crimson
"It was the Crimson, just with a different name," says Herbert S. Kassman '45.
Little at Harvard remained the same during World War II, and The Crimson was no exception. A publication dedicated exclusively to the College's latest involvement in the war effort, the Harvard Service News emerged in spring 1943 as a weekly Crimson side-publication.
As student involvement in the war increased and military service groups grew to encompass a majority of the student population, the publication became semiweekly and replaced The Crimson altogether.
Stories on regular College activities were squeezed out as ROTC and military service news occupied constant front-page coverage. In a strange juxtaposition, one story reported "Air Raid Hits Yard Concert."
"It was different because Harvard's mission was different," says Kaseman, a Crimson editor who served as dews, editor of the Service, News. "Harvard had totally mobilized [its] civilian students," he says, "It was a military garrison."
A May issue heralds the temporary end of The Crimson and the establishment of the Harvard Service, News. "As Harvard becomes almost exclusively the home of servicemen, The Harvard Crimson followed the University into uniform by discontinuing publication under that name.
Kassman says the military focus did not stifle College life, but merely reflected the unique atmosphere of the community, weighted with concerns about World War II.
Another headline, "Undergraduates, Too Precariously Civilian, Drill, Prepare To Enter into Armed Services" voices the enormous changes in perspective experienced by the Class of '43.
Laying bare the effects of wartime pressure, the article's author lashes out at Harvard's privileged student body: "Where do these Harvard guys get off, going around in civilian clothes and studying Greek Drama while there's a war being fought?"
The military uniform's predominant place in College dress becomes more evident, looking at the Service News' advertisements. Ads for Chesterfield cigarettes and Harvard knick-knacks from the Coop were replaced by models selling military clothing.
And Kassman cites another difference: The Service News had no editorial page. He attributes this to the students' "remarkable unanimity in support of the war effort. Although Kassman says there was no censorship, an antiwar statement was "out of the question."
But in an eerie reminder that housing lottery forms were not the most crucial pieces of mail received by most students, another Service News item reported:
"And still the academic requirements pile onward. For a lot of undergraduates it's been a tough job to concentrate on medieval dates and wait for the sound of orders in a mailbox."