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Gordon Prange

Gordon Prange Famous Historical Events American History Tragedies and Triumphs World War II

Gordon Prange (1910-1980), a noted historian, is best known for his books on World War II, including At Dawn We Slept (about the bombing of Pearl Harbor).

In a unique position to compile information about Japan's attack on America, Prange was chief of General Douglas MacArthur's historians who were in Japan after the war.  According to the University of Maryland's website (which maintains the Gordon W. Prange Collection):

Gordon W. Prange was born in Pomeroy, Iowa, on July 16, 1910. He studied at the University of Iowa, receiving his Ph.D. in 1937. That same year, he began his teaching career as a professor of history at the University of Maryland.

In 1942, he was granted a leave of absence from the University to embark on a wartime career as an officer in the United States Navy. He was sent to Japan in 1945 as a member of the American Occupation Forces.

He completed his Navy service soon thereafter, but continued in Japan as a civilian from 1946 to 1951 as the chief of General Douglas MacArthur's 100-person historical staff. When censorship of the Japanese media by Allied Forces was lifted in 1949 and the Civil Censorship Detachment disestablished, Professor Prange, recognizing the historical significance of the CCD material, arranged for its shipment to the University of Maryland.

The materials arrived at the University in 1950. On September 15, 1978, the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland passed a motion to name the collection the "Gordon W. Prange Collection: The Allied Presence in Japan, 1945-1952.

Dr. Prange, and his assistants, used the materials to author several books about the war.

 


Media Credits

Photo of Professor Gordon Prange, teaching a class at the University of Maryland, from the1964 Terrapin (University of Maryland's yearbook).  Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

 

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