From World War to Cold War
"What's going to happen," some ask, "when the fighting stops? Can the
Northwest go back to fish, fruit, and sawmills, or have these changes come
to stay?"--Frederick Simpich, "Wartime in the Pacific Northwest,"
National Geographic Magazine ( 1942)
The Second World War brought important and lasting changes to the Pacific Northwest. Although no region of the United States escaped the impact of war, few if any experienced a more rapid or intense transformation than the Pacific Northwest. Wartime social and economic pressures scarcely left a corner untouched. In what would prove to be a classic understatement, the PortlandOregonian observed on 6 April 1941: "Few persons realize the magnitude of the national defense efforts in the Pacific Northwest."
Fifty years later a shroud of secrecy still conceals some details of the war's impact, but what was clearly visible to Pacific Northwesterners in the early 1940s was the quickened pace of life and the amazing construction boom that transformed the region's two main centers of war production: Puget Sound and the Portland-Vancouver area. The wartime transformation was no less visible in seemingly remote and isolated places like Idaho's Lake Pend Oreille, where in 1942 Uncle Sam built Camp Farragut; the largest inland naval base in the world, it had the capacity to handle thirty thousand recruits at a time in its six self-contained training camps and was for a time the largest city in Idaho.
In an even more remote corner of the Pacific Northwest--the Targee