Traveling Tuesday: Tennessee’s Wartime Service
Tennessee is a beautiful state, long and narrow, and referred to in three segments: East, Middle, and West. Eight states border the state which features six physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. In addition, Tennessee is home to over 10,000 documented caves, the most in the United States.
It is this varied geography that allowed Tennessee to serve in various ways during WWII. Over 300,000 men from the state served in the armed forces (six of whom received the highest award for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor).
Interestingly, Governor Prentice Cooper visited Europe in 1937 and became convinced that if hostilities broke out, the US would ultimate be involved. As a result, he came home and developed the infrastructure for military bases, training, and war-related industries. In 1940, Tennessee established the Advisory Committee on Preparedness, the first defense organization in the country.
More than 280,000 residents worked in war manufacturing around the state. Oak Ridge grew out of the Manhattan Project and produced vital components of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There were several prisoner of war camps that housed approximately 68,000 Germans, Austrians, and Italians.
Because of its highly rural nature and terrain similar to that of Western Europe, Middle Tennessee was chosen as the location of the first of a series of military maneuvers that featured the combined forces of tanks and infantry. In these maneuvers, General George Patton refined his tactics for the use of tanks as “red” and “blue” armies faced each other in complex and realistic training exercises. It is estimated that over 850,000 men and women participated. Based at Cumberland University in Lebanon, the “Tennessee Maneuvers” officially took place “somewhere in Tennessee.”
Love’s Allegiance: With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.
Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.
Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?
Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.
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