Fighting Fear


Fighting Fear:  Long Beach, CA. in the 1940s

by Claudine Burnett

Can you imagine living in a town which grew from a population of 164,000 to 322,000 in 5 years? Where there was little possibility of new housing, and where rent control resulted in murder? A community so short of workers that women went door-to-door canvassing other women in the city as to their employability? A city where high school students worked four hours, six days a week and attended school four hours a day five days a week?

Such was Long Beach, California in the 1940s. With shipyards, a Navy Base, oil, and Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach was also a prime target for Japanese attacks. Had the Japanese actually launched missions to destroy some of the city’s industrial arsenals? Were the reports of sunken Japanese mini subs in the harbor true? What were the reasons behind the removal of the Southern California Japanese community?

Learn of murder victim Elizabeth Short’s last days in Long Beach and the Long Beach policeman who gave her the name “The Black Dahlia.” Was Long Beach housewife Laura Trelstad also a victim of the same murderer? What of the Zoot Suit riot on the Pike?

Revisit a Long Beach that once was:
   A city which became an industrial giant, almost overnight.
   A city where it was hard to tell an honest politician from a crooked one.
   Where gambling interests threatened to take over the city, and those who lived here faced the fear of not only political corruption but enemy attacks as well.

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