Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States entered the war in Europe the day later. In May 1941, The United States government set up The US Citizens Service Corps, and the US Office of Civilian Defense to co-ordinate state and federal measures for protection of civilians in case of war or an emergency. It was to be made up of all volunteers from the communities around the United States.
In late December 1941, Hudson organized The Hudson Civil Defense Committee. Each member of this community headed an essential wartime service, such as hospital & first aid services, emergency food, and welfare & housing. These sub groups then, followed rules and regulations put in place by the Red Cross and the Office of the Civilian Defense.
Members of the initial committee were, “Mrs. R.J. Izant (Chairmen), Dr. Kurt Weidenthal (Physician), Miss Elwing (WRA Hospital), Mrs. Sam (Post), Martha Clark (Health), Mrs. Verne Read (Red Cross), Fred A. Saywell (Druggist), Mr. Mill (Johnson Funeral Home) (Hudson Times, December 26, 1941, pg. 1).”
While Hudson never encountered a war time disaster, the Hudson Civil Defense Committee practiced in case wartime conditions occurred (such as an air raid and large destruction of buildings). For example, the Hudson Civil Defense Committee set up a triage system, procured medical supplies and readymade food. The committee also designated areas of refugee in the community in case of buildings destruction. The Committee identified Western Reserve Academy to be used as a makeshift hospital should the need arise.
On July 10th, Northern Summit County conducted a blackout test, asking residents to “…keep cool and calm, anticipate the test and keep out of the streets at the appointed time “(Hudson Times, July 10, 1942 pg.1).” Citizens were asked to remain in homes, turn out lights both outside and inside of their homes, and to stay off the roads and leave police and fire stations unobstructed (Hudson Times, 1942). The Hudson City Council passed a “Blackout Ordinance” that held a stiff penalty for not obeying the guidelines during the test.
The Hudson Civil Defense Committee was disbanded after the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945. However, it was restarted during the Korean War, on December 1950 and disbanded in late 1953 after the end of hostilities.
Records on Hudson, Ohio’s, local civil defense committee, which includes pamphlets, bulletins, and other publications from the United States Red Cross, United States Citizens Service Corps, and Civil Defense as well as organizational information about the local committee including letters and memos from committee members.
Subject index to major news items in Hudson, Ohio, newspapers and news sources from 1903 to present day. Publication list: Ex Libris (Bulletin of the Hudson Library & Historical Society), Hudson Herald, Hudson Hub, Hudson Hub Times, Hudson Life, Hudson Monthly, Hudson Observer, Hudson Times, North Summit Times, North Summit Independent, and Yesterday in Hudson.