Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with O. B. McEwan, February 17, 1981

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Background / Meeting Cooper

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Partial Transcript: Colonel McEwan, I--I thought we might start off by just getting some background information on yourself.

Segment Synopsis: McEwan provides an overview of his background, including his military career. McEwan recalls how he met Cooper at Fort Custer.

Keywords: Camp Custer (Mich.); Commission; Field artillery; Hague Treaties; Instructor; John Sherman Cooper; Land warfare; Major; Maneuvers; Marshall General's School; Met; Orders; ROTC; Rules; School of Military Government; Second lieutenant; Tank destroyer group; U.S. Army

Subjects: Desert; Fort Custer (Mich.); Military; Military government; Politicians; Teachers; Teaching; Time; University of Florida; World War II; Yale University

00:02:44 - First impressions of Cooper / Patton's Third Army

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Partial Transcript: What were some of your first impressions of him. . .

Segment Synopsis: McEwan shares his initial impressions of Cooper in the U.S. Army. McEwan recalls how he was involved in the decision to appoint Cooper to General Patton's Third Army.

Keywords: Action; Arrangements; Arrival; Assigned; Covered; Dislike; Excellent; Future relationship; General Patton; Headquarters; Help; Impressed; Impression; Instructor; John Sherman Cooper; Law practice; Lawyer; Liaison; Lowest rank; Met; Military affairs; New; Oldest; Orders; Overseas; Patton's Third Army; Personnel; School; School of Military Government; Section; Subject; Superior; Transferred; U.S. Army; Units; Visiting; Well-informed; Youngest

Subjects: Age; Fort Custer (Mich.); France; Law; Military; Military government; Opportunity; Politicians; Summer; Teaching; Time; World War II; Yale University; Young

00:07:11 - Unit responsibilities

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Partial Transcript: Now what was your unit responsible for during this period?

Segment Synopsis: McEwan outlines what responsibilities his unit in Patton's Third Army had.

Keywords: Celebration; Civil Affairs Officers; Civil affairs; Collaboration; Combat phase; Control; Countryside; Designated; Difficult; European Civil Affairs Team; Fast; General Patton; German courts; Good feeling; Governments; Headquarters; Help; John Sherman Cooper; Liberated; Limited; Military occupation; Moving; Municipalities; No military government; No problems; Patton's Third Army; Pre-selected; Preparations; Question; Relationship; Reorganization; Section; Shared; Situation; Take back; Thrilling; Towns; U.S. Army; Uncertain; Unit

Subjects: Administration; Champagne; Cities; England; Federal government; Flags; Flowers; France; French; Germans; Germany; Law; Life; Military; Military government; Observation; People; Politicians; Responsibility; Thinking; Travel; United Kingdom; Work; World War II

00:11:25 - Cooper's duties and habits / Buchenwald concentration camp

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Partial Transcript: Now h--he describes himself as a messenger, is that--is that what his duties were?

Segment Synopsis: McEwan recalls Cooper's responsibilities and habits while he was in Patton's Third Army. McEwan also describes the traumatic aftermath of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp that he witnessed alongside Cooper.

Keywords: Almost late; Bodies; Burning; Citizens; Civil Affairs Unit; Command responsibility; Confined; Countryside; Daughter; Duties; Field; Filth; Friends; General Patton; German government; Hard; Hard to believe; Impression; In contact; John Sherman Cooper; King of Italy; Line up; Looked; Messages; Moving; On time; Orderly; Out; Patton's Third Army; Places; Princess Mafalda; Protested; Quick; Terrible; Town; U.S. Army; Unaware; Visit; Visualize; Vivid; Watch; Witness; Worst

Subjects: Bones; British; Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Discipline; Germans; Germany; Intelligence; Italians; Italy; Memory; Military; Military government; Missions; Opportunity; People; Politicians; Reputation; Skin; Starvation; Time; World War II

00:16:22 - Post-war repatriation

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Partial Transcript: One of the--uh--most important assignments I guess was. . .the issue of repatriation.

Segment Synopsis: McEwan considers Cooper's role in influencing a change in repatriation rules for Russian displaced persons after World War II.

Keywords: Army personnel; Arrangements; Asset; Assimilated; Award; Chief of Staff; Choice; Citation; Convinced; Country people; Directive; Displaced persons; Eastern Europe; Entitled; Fragile; General Patton; Good relations; Hard; Hobert R. Gay; Impressed; Interpretation; John Sherman Cooper; Lieutenant; Mature; Military organization; Not bothered; Not questioned; Officers; Older; Orders; Patton's Third Army; Policy; Problems; Ramifications; Rare; Relationship; Return; Russian Army; Situation; Stopped; Talking; Treatment; U.S. Occupying forces; Upset; Yalta Conference (1945)

Subjects: Areas; Chance; Change; Children; Countries; Credit; Discipline; Experience; Explanation; Fort Custer (Mich.); Hierarchy; Knowledge; Latvians; Legion of Merit (Military decoration); Life; Lithuanians; Military; Military government; People; Politicians; Prisoners of war; Proud; Repatriation; Repercussions; Responsibility; Russians; Society; Soldiers; Thinking; Wives; World War II; Writing

00:23:34 - Organizing the Bavarian courts / Cooper's life during WWII

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Partial Transcript: Now, were you--still there and involved with--uh--Cooper when he was given the job of organizing the courts in Bavaria?

Segment Synopsis: McEwan briefly recalls Cooper's work on re-organizing the courts in Bavaria after World War II. McEwan discusses Cooper's life during World War II, when they both served in Patton's Third Army.

Keywords: 2nd lieutenant; Accommodations; Assigned; Battle of the Bulge; Billets; Closer; Commanding officer; Country boy; County judge; Enlisted men; Evening; First class; Found out; Got along; Governor; Head; Headquarters; Homes; House; Hovels; Image; Impression; Invited; John Sherman Cooper; Leave; Left; Lieutenant; Lowest; Luxurious; Married; Most popular; Moving; Never discussed; No arrangements; No question; Nomination; North; Not satisfactory; Official; Patton's Third Army; Personal life; Picture; Politics; Rapport; Replacement; Responsibilities; Responsible; Section; Securing; Sent; Small town; Started; State legislature; Stay; Steel mill; Talking; Unknown; officer

Subjects: Bavaria (Germany); Discussions; Fall; Fancy; France; Germany; Good; Harvard Law School; Kentucky. General Assembly; Life; Louisville (Ky.); Luxembourg; Nancy (France); People; Perception; Politicians; Somerset (Ky.); Summer; Teasing; Time; World War II; Wyoming; Yale University

00:29:46 - Cooper's career after WWII

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Partial Transcript: . . .I think--uh--Senator Cooper returned home about three or four months after the repatriation--it--problems were taken care of.

Segment Synopsis: McEwan details Cooper's life and political career after World War II.

Keywords: Accurate; After; Alben Barkley; Albert "Happy" Chandler; Campaigns; Circuit judge; Commissioner of Baseball; Conventions; Deadline; Debate; Defeated; Delegate; Description; Dinner; Elected; European security; First wife; Florida Bar Association; Impression; Influence; Interesting; John Sherman Cooper; Lorraine Cooper; Met; NATO; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Not much contact; Office; Out; Program chairman; Question; Quiet; Resigned; Same; Second wife; Senate; Senate floor; Speaker; Substance; Talking; Telephone call; Truman administration; Truthful; Unexpired term; Visit; Wife; Won

Subjects: Ability; Death; Elections; Expression; Face; Home; Marriage; Miami Beach (Fla.); Politicians; Repatriation; Speech; Staff; Thinking; United Nations; Washington (D.C.); World War II

00:34:38 - Impact of WWII on Cooper

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Partial Transcript: Did you see this in the war--during the war. . .e--except for the repatriation thing, that he felt very deeply about certain things?

Segment Synopsis: McEwan evaluates the impact of World War II upon Cooper's life and career.

Keywords: After; Apart; Appointment; Appreciation; Arrangements; Broaden; Conscientious; Contact; Difficult; Direct; East; East Berlin (Germany); East Germany; Enjoyed; First; Formal; Forward; Important; Impressed; Impression; Interesting; John Sherman Cooper; Knowledgeable; Language barrier; Letter; Liberation; Met; Missed; Monument; Non-Nazis; Non-fraternization policy; None; North; Not enough credit; Participated; Patton's Third Army; Plaque; Proven; Reaction; Retrospection; Return; Russian occupied territory; Southern accent; Special; Terrible; U.S. Ambassador to East Germany; Unaware; Visit; Years; Younger

Subjects: Ability; Age; Berlin (Germany); Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Career; Concentration camps; Europe; Experience; German; Germans; Germany; Honesty; International relations; Knowledge; Life; Man; People; Politicians; Reading; Russians; Sincerity; Summer; Time; United States; Vision; Washington (D.C.); Work; World; World War II