We Fought the Navy and Won is a carefully documented yet impassioned recollection of Guam’s struggle to liberate itself from the absolutist rule of the U.S. Navy. Doloris Cogan concentrates on five crucial years, 1945–1950, when, fresh out of journalism school, she had the good fortune to join the distinguished team of idealists at the newly formed Institute of Ethnic Affairs in Washington, D.C. Working as a writer/editor on the monthly Guam Echo under the leadership of the Institute’s director, John Collier, Cogan witnessed and recorded the battle fought at the very top between Collier and Navy Secretary James V. Forrestal as the people of Guam petitioned the U.S. Congress for civilian government under a constitution. Taken up by newspapers throughout the country, this war of words illustrated how much freedom of the press plays in achieving and sustaining true democracy. Part of the story centers around a young Chamorro named Carlos Taitano, who returned home to Guam in 1948 after serving in the U.S. Army in the Pacific. Taitano joined his colleagues in the lower house and walked out of the Guam Congress in 1949 to protest the naval governor, who had refused their right to subpoena an American businessman suspected of illegal activity. The walkout was the catalyst that brought approval of the Organic Act of Guam, which was signed into law by President Truman in 1950. We Fought the Navy and Won is the first detailed look at the events surrounding Guam’s elevation from military to civilian government.
Subjects: Political Science, History
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