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Interview with Claude Williams, March 5, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:37 - Growing up / Attending UGA during WWII

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Partial Transcript: I was born in Tifton Georgia, 1922...

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about his name-sake and his father's work. He describes his first introduction to military work in 1943. Williams shares that the bombing of Pearl Harbor led to him be stationed at Fort McPherson before he was eventually stationed as reserve at UGA, where he studied history. He lists well-known football players he attended UGA with.

Keywords: Charlie Trippi; Fort McPherson; Frank Sinkwich III; Great Depression; Pearl Harbor; William Oscar Payne; infantry

00:07:00 - History class / Working in radio

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Partial Transcript: But I'll give you a little insight into Dr. Payne...

Segment Synopsis: Williams recalls stories about his history professor and previous head of the athletics department, William Oscar Payne at the University of Georgia. Williams explains how his experience at the University of Georgia inspired him to obtain a bachelors' in journalism after WWII ended. He talks about his previous familiarity with work in radio broadcasting.

Keywords: University of Georgia (UGA); William Oscar Payne; radio

00:14:00 - The importance of Radio / Deployment to Europe

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Partial Transcript: He listened every night to Amos 'n' Andy...

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about the routines of his childhood home growing up and explains the importance of radio during the time. He describes his time in Europe and shares the bleak outlook of US soldiers expected to fight in Japan. Williams talks about his wartime experience and how he believes his parents' prayers helped ensure his survival.

Keywords: Amos 'n' Andy (Radio Show); Army of Occupation; Harry S. Truman; WWII; atomic bomb

00:20:23 - The final days of WWII

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Partial Transcript: An example I want to share with you...

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about the attack of the Siegfried during the final days of WWII. He explains the approach used by his unit as a lieutenant to gain land on German soil. Williams gives a play-by-play of the siege of the Siegfried line and recalls the death of a member of his unit. He explains the difference in the attitude of German civilians in war to those of Japanese citizens.

Keywords: Germany; Kamikaze piolets; Siegfried Line; seige

00:27:02 - The draft

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Partial Transcript: And they'd fly it straight into...

Segment Synopsis: William talks about the commitment of the Japanese people during the war and his opinion on the bombing of Japan. He talks about his decision to volunteer to fight in WWII. William explains the drafting process and shares what he did after the war.

Keywords: Atomic warfare; International Herald Tribune; James F. Byrnes; John F. Kennedy; Kamikaze piolets; WWII

00:33:39 - Returning to the United States

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Partial Transcript: On one of these occasions, I read...

Segment Synopsis: William details the process of diplomatic plane travel and shares stories about the first presidential pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Tift Myers. William recalls how he was eventually transported back to the US via a cargo ship.

Keywords: James F. Byrnes; Lieutenant Colonel Henry Tift Myers, Sr.; President Roosevelt; Queen Mary (ship); Sacred Cow (presidential plane); Tifton, Georgia; Walter F. George (senator)

00:40:00 - Work in radio

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Partial Transcript: What kind of work did you do...

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about returning home from WWII. He explains that he obtained a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and got a job at the WRFC Radio Station in Athens, Georgia. He talks about his work in radio, changes to his community after WWII, and his positive experience upon returning home.

Keywords: American Forces Network (AFN); Athens; University of Georgia; WRFC Radio (Athens, Georgia); WWII

00:47:10 - Transitioning to civilian life

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Partial Transcript: Were there any parades when you arrived...

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about his immediate transition into civilian life. He talks about his family and shares his wish for more grandchildren. Williams describes the G.I Bill, unemployment benefits, and the barracks given by the government to returning soldiers at the time. William talks about the moment he first learned about the surrender of the Germans.

Keywords: Athens; Austria; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; G.I Bill; Gainesville, Georgia; Germany; WWII; unemployment benefits

00:53:28 - The death of President Roosevelt / Benefits of military service

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Partial Transcript: And of course, Franklin Roosevelt died...

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about the death of president Roosevelt and the effect it had on the public and the war effort. Williams shares his opinions over the decisions he made in his military career and explains the benefit of serving in the military for decision-making processes.

Keywords: Franklin D. Roosevelt; Gainesville, Georgia; WWII; military service