Monday, April 21, 2014

Gordon W. Prange

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 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."  A transcript of Gordon Prange's address at the dedication ceremony on May 6, 1979 can be found here

Professor Prange continued to teach at the University of Maryland until several months before his death on May 15, 1980. He is still remembered by alumni as one of the University's truly great teachers and is well known today for major works on the war in the Pacific, particularly the film Tora! Tora! Tora!, and the books Miracle at Midway and At Dawn We Slept.