Roosevelt explains the purpose of the conference, describing devastation of Russia, plans for a peace organization in San Francisco to start April 25, 1945, touching on the free elections for the conquered countries; objectives for Poland; France's role in the future; delays caused by "primadonnas" meeting with King Farouk, King Ibn Saud and Emperor Haile Selassie; the current Japanese situation; hopes for United Nations organization.
Former U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve (SPARS) radio technician Eleanor Jean Bechtel discusses her enlistment, the social environment in wartime America, her basic training in West Palm Beach, FL, and receiving electronics and radio instruction at the Ben Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia. She also talks about the base in Florida where she trained, seeing John Wayne and Robert Montgomery there filming a movie, and moving to post-war Japan to work as a civilian secretary.
Wanda Sherwood Kearns discusses her service as an air traffic controller in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) of the U.S. Naval Reserves during World War II. Kearns talks about her basic training in Atlanta, Georgia, learning Morse code and how to "fly blind" in a flight simulator and shares military aviation anecdotes. She says that control tower operators were considered elite and were allowed privileges such as time off between shifts, weekend passes, and free flights to any military base. She also recalls that a woman's voice was thought to be more clearly intelligible over the radio than a man's and that women controllers were allowed to wear slacks to ensure decorum when they climbed ladders. Kearns is interviewed by Kathryn Cavanaugh.
Annis Dimmitt describes her service in the Women's Army Corps. Dimmitt says that she enlisted at age 21 in 1943, inspired by her brother's service at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack. Dimmitt also talks about her work at a 24-hour teletype station, being ordered to ride out a hurricane at her post because teletype operation was deemed a critical duty, meeting her future husband on base, getting married after the war, and working for VA hospitals in Buffalo, NY, Austin, TX, Fort Wayne and Marion, IN, and Bath, NY before retiring in 1982.
Dr. Izabela Kalinowska, professor of European Languages at SUNY-Stony Brook, delivers a talk entitled, "The Vicissitudes of Remembrance: From Early Polish Cinema's Depiction of World War II to Roman Polanski's The Pianist." Kalinowska puts Polanski's film "The Pianist," within the context of Polish-made films about World War II and also compares it to Polanski's other films. She describes the death and devastation the war caused in Poland, the resurrection of a Polish film industry under Soviet control, and how the war is recalled and portrayed. Kalinowska uses excerpts of "The Pianist" and other films to demonstrate her point. She answers questions from the audience. Kalinowska is introduced by Michigan State University Professor Keely Stauter-Halsted, acting director of the MSU Jewish Studies Program. Kalinowska speaks at the annual Esther and George Kessler Lecture on Jewish Film and Media. Part of the MSU Libraries' Colloquia Series. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program. Held at the MSU Main Library.
Alice Joyce Hamblin Haber recalls her service in the U.S. Marine Corps, beginning in 1943 as part of the first cadre of women recruits. Haber talks about basic training at Camp Lejeune, and her problems with military life including dealing with an adversarial commanding officer, an entire platoon sick from dysentery, racial discrimination, and being denied promotion. Haber is interviewed by Kathryn Cavanaugh.
President Harry S. Truman addresses Congress for the first time as President after President Franklin D. Roosevelts death on April 12. Richard Harkness analyzes the speech, which promises unconditional surrender, permanent world peace, and a continuity of the progressive liberalism of President Roosevelt.