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 - Personal background / Meeting John Sherman 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.); Field artillery; Hague Treaties; Instructors; John Sherman Cooper; Land warfare; Majors; Maneuvers; Marshall General's School; Military commissions; Orders; Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC); Rules; School of Military Government; Second lieutenants; Tank destroyer groups; U.S. Army; World War II

Subjects: Desert; Fort Custer (Mich.); Military; Military government; Politicians; Teachers; Teaching; University of Florida; World War, 1939-1945; 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: General George S. Patton; Instructors; John Sherman Cooper; Law practice; Lawyers; Military affairs; Military ranks; Orders; Patton's Third Army; Relationships; School of Military Government; Schools; U.S. Army; World War II

Subjects: Fort Custer (Mich.); France; Law; Military; Military government; Politicians; Teaching; World War, 1939-1945; Yale University

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: Civil Affairs Officers; Civil affairs; Collaboration; Combat; European Civil Affairs Team; General George S. Patton; German courts; Governments; Headquarters; John Sherman Cooper; Liberation; Military government; Military occupation; Municipalities; Patton's Third Army; Relationships; U.S. Army; World War II

Subjects: England; Federal government; France; French; Germans; Germany; Law; Military; Military government; Politicians; Responsibility; Travel; United Kingdom; World War, 1939-1945

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: Citizens; Civil Affairs Unit; Daughters; Duties; Friends; General George S. Patton; German government; John Sherman Cooper; King of Italy; Patton's Third Army; Princess Mafalda; Responsibility; U.S. Army; World War II

Subjects: British; Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Discipline; Germans; Germany; Italians; Italy; Military; Military government; Missions; Politicians; Reputation; Starvation; World War, 1939-1945

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; Awards; Chief of Staff; Children; Citations; Displaced persons; Eastern Europe; General George S. Patton; Hobart R. Gay; John Sherman Cooper; Lieutenants; Military officers; Military organization; Orders; Patton's Third Army; Policy; Relationships; Russian Army; U.S. Occupying forces; Wives; World War II; Yalta Conference (1945)

Subjects: Discipline; Fort Custer (Mich.); Hierarchy; Latvians; Legion of Merit (Military decoration); Lithuanians; Military; Military government; Politicians; Prisoners of war; Repatriation; Responsibility; Russians; Society; Soldiers; World War, 1939-1945

00:23:34 - Organizing the Bavarian courts / Cooper's life during World War II

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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: Accommodations; Battle of the Bulge; Commanding officers; County judges; Enlisted men; Governors; Headquarters; John Sherman Cooper; Lieutenants; Marriage; Military officers; Patton's Third Army; Personal life; Political nominations; Politics; Rapport; Responsibilities; Second lieutenants; Small towns; State legislature; World War II

Subjects: Bavaria (Germany); France; Germany; Harvard Law School; Kentucky. General Assembly; Louisville (Ky.); Luxembourg; Nancy (France); Politicians; Somerset (Ky.); World War, 1939-1945; Wyoming; Yale University

00:29:46 - Cooper's career after World War II

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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: Alben Barkley; Albert "Happy" Chandler; Circuit judges; Commissioner of Baseball; Conventions; Debates; Delegates; Elections; European security; First wife; Florida Bar Association; Influence; John Sherman Cooper; Lorraine Cooper; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Political campaigns; Second wife; Senate; Senate floor; Truman administration; World War II

Subjects: Death; Elections; Marriage; Miami Beach (Fla.); Politicians; Repatriation; Speeches; Staff; United Nations; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945

00:34:38 - Impact of World War II 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: Influence; John Sherman Cooper; Non-fraternization policy; Patton's Third Army; World War II

Subjects: Careers; Germans; Germany; Politicians; United States

00:37:11 - Cooper and Germany / Cooper's personality

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Partial Transcript: And of course it's interesting that--

Segment Synopsis: McEwan discusses Cooper's connections to Germany, through World War II and as U.S. Ambassador to East Germany. McEwan also highlights Cooper's personality and intelligence.

Keywords: East Berlin (Germany); John Sherman Cooper; Liberation; Political appointments; Russian occupied territory; Southern accent; U.S. Ambassador to East Germany; World War II

Subjects: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Careers; Europe; German; Germany; International relations; Military government; Politicians; Regret; Russians; United States; Washington (D.C.); World War, 1939-1945