The Evacuation of the Czechoslovak and German Missions at the Outbreak of World War II

The Evacuation of the Czechoslovak and German Missions at the Outbreak of World War II
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The Evacuation of the Czechoslovak and German Missions at the Outbreak of World War II

Author David F. Boone

The evacuation of Latter-day Saint missionaries from Europe at the outbreak of World War II was truly a unique event in Church history. At the beginning of World War I, a few American missionaries serving in Europe were moved to areas of safety, but until 1939 there had never been a large-scale evacuation of missionaries as a result of their being endangered by impending war (fig. 1). As the threat of war gathered over Europe in the late 1930s, Latter-day Saint Church leaders in Salt Lake City watched anxiously. In August 1939, there were missionaries laboring in Great Britain, Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Switzerland, Holland, and three Scandinavian countries. The evacuation of American missionaries from Europe at the outbreak of World War II eventually affected ten missions and hundreds of missionaries, but only those in the Czechoslovak and East and West German Missions were forced into an emergency evacuation.