Letter 12 - Lingo

WWII Lingo

Sockdolager: A hard hit, a knockout, or finishing blow.

Bully Beef and Turnip Flour Bread: During WWI food sources had grown so poor that soldiers in the trenches were being fed bread made out of turnip flour (dried, ground up turnips) and canned corned beef. As you can imagine, it wasn’t very popular with the solders.

Segregation Issues in the U.K.: While we are all about celebrating the victories and heroic stories of WWII, it would be irresponsible for us to not acknowledge the mistakes and contradictory actions made by those fighting for freedom. 

When the United States entered the war and troops began flooding England to prepare for D-Day, many of their Jim Crowe ideologies came with them. Because the British didn’t support Segregation, the contention between black and white soldiers often boiled over—sometimes to deadly proportions (see article below). The British government and military didn’t object to the American troops practicing segregation amongst themselves, but they didn’t support or condone the behavior. Among the locals, the idea of segregation wasn’t looked on favorably, and many protested by placing “Black Troops Only” signs in the windows of their pubs and businesses.


After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, a wave of terror seized the United States, and roughly 120,000 American citizens of Japanese descent were wrongfully forced from their homes and sent to ten different internment camps around the country. These camps were located in some of the most uninhabitable locations. Our author and artist Hannie Clark knows from personal experience, because she grew up just east of the Topaz Japanese American Internment camp located in the West Desert of Millard County Utah. See the videos below to learn more.

Video footage from the Topaz, Utah, Japanese Internment Camp During WWII


Japanese Americans Interned at Topaz Camp share their stories


“Why I Love a Country that Once Betrayed Me” by George Takei


We also highly recommend visiting the Topaz Internment Camp Museum if you’re ever passing near Delta, Utah.


Photo credit: Getty Images.