Photos from the Vault

Donating blood, World War II week by week

It took a hardy soul to be a blood donor in 1943. County residents took the train to San Francisco where the 44 volunteers donated a pint of blood each. They later went window shopping and participated in a radio broadcast before coming home. They stayed in dormitories at the Hotel Californian. Apparently there was plenty of room there.

Camp San Luis Obispo was slated to stage a public review of the 81st "Wildcat" Infantry Division under the command of Maj. Gen. Paul J. Mueller. The group would later serve in operations in the Palau group of islands with the Marines in the South Pacific and later on Leyte in the Philippines. After the war they would be occupation troops in Japan.

Lt. Gen. William Hood Simpson was returning on a tour through West Coast camps. He had been commander of Camp San Luis Obispo during the first four months of 1942; he would later lead the 9th Army in Europe.

The Big Three — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin — opened a conference in Tehran, Iran.

Nazi leadership clung to the fantasy that the capitalist West would be unable to maintain an alliance with the communist East.

Roosevelt would get an agreement from Stalin that Russia would declare war against Japan after defeating Germany. In return Stalin demanded ownership of the Kurile Islands and South Sakhalin Island. The details were not finalized.

At this point the atomic bomb was a theoretical weapon under top-secret development by the British and Americans. Roosevelt wanted help should invasion of the home islands become reality.

Stalin pushed the West to invade Northern Europe. The Soviet Army was advancing but at a terrible cost against the Germans.

Stalin wanted the borders of Poland and Germany moved west as a barrier to invasion. The tentative concessions gained here would be confirmed in later conferences and made a reality by Soviet troops in place over Eastern Europe.

Roosevelt pitched the idea of an international organization that would have peacekeeping powers. Roosevelt hoped that he had gained Stalin's confidence and promised opening a second front by spring of 1944 in France.