The WWII Effort of Amherst College
December 7th 1941 got us into the war. In early 1942 the biggest change in college life was that Amherst for the first time in its history started the freshman year that summer. President King in greeting that freshman class said:
"The central fact today in college, as in industry and in civil life, is the war. This college is dedicated to the nation of which it is a part. Everything that we can do to advance the war effort we shall do. Anything which impairs the war effort we shall avoid."
Late that fall, men began leaving for the war. The matriculated civilian student body at one point dropped to 90. In the spring of '43, only 13 men stood for graduation, which was the smallest since 1823 and 25% of the faculty left for the war or war-related activities.
President King could see the handwriting on the wall, and he signed up units of the Air Corps, Marines, Navy and Army to be trained at Amherst. Many civilians were also trained in war-related activities. Altogether, Amherst trained 4,379 men for war-related activities during World War II.