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World War II memorial tablet

World War II memorial tablet, mounted on the north side of the Rotunda. Photo courtesy Andrew Breen.

World War II (often abbreviated to WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, genocides including the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

During the war years, the University of Virginia transitioned to a wartime footing, with a greatly expanded Reserve Officers Training Corps program. Especially during the years 1942-1944, many students were enrolled only for a semester or two before entering the military. Faculty members took on different responsibilities, with Virginia Glee Club conductor Harry Rogers Pratt leaving his music teaching responsibilities to instruct Naval Preflight Preparatory candidates in navigation.[1]

Following the war, the University experienced a surge of enrollment, with soldiers whose education was interrupted by the war returning to finish their degrees alongside newly enrolled students who attended on the GI Bill.

Many Virginia Glee Club members served in World War II in varying capacities, with some among the hundreds of University of Virginia casualties.

Virginia Glee Club members who served in World War IIEdit

Over 140 members of the Virginia Glee Club served in World War II.

Virginia Glee Club casualties of World War IIEdit


ReferencesEdit

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