Illinois at War, 1941-1945
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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August 7, 1943


The Illinois State Council of Defense went on the offensive when it changed its name to the Illinois War Council (IWC) on July 1, 1943. This new name reflected Allied advances abroad and a growing realization that the enemy was unlikely to attack the continental United States, especially the Midwest. No longer was the council urgently charged with defending the homeland. Rather its mission was to contribute actively by all means possible to winning the war. The IWC staged a blackout of downstate Illinois on July 30, 1943, the last of such general exercises. Much of the air raid preparedness enthusiasm that emergency volunteers and the public had shown in the early months of the war had been exhausted by the summer of 1943. And the Illinois War Council's Citizens Defense Corps arm formally was placed on inactive status in early 1944.

Homer Bradney replied to this communication on August 10. He agreed that such incidents were best handled diplomatically and that fellow neighbors often instilled patriotic cooperation better than did directives from council offices. But he also agreed that flagrant disregard of blackout instructions could not be overlooked. So he enclosed a copy of a model ordinance issued by the U.S. Office of Civilian Defense which was designed to be adopted by local communities as they saw fit. Blackout violations were punishable by fines.

Clark County is located in rural east central Illinois adjacent to the Wabash River. Marshall, the county seat, is situated in the northeast corner. Casey is twenty-seven miles southwest near the border of Cumberland County.

Points to Consider

Locate Clark County, Marshall, and Casey on a map.

What is a blackout?

What should have been the proper punishment for failure to comply with blackout regulations?

Why might a citizen have ignored blackout instructions in Casey in mid-1943?

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