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Marine Corps University Press
Marine Corps University Press logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia

5 x 8 paperback
376 pages
PDF download

Pacifist to Padre

The World War II Memoir of Chaplain Roland B. Gittelsohn, December 1941 - January 1946

Donald M. Bishop

DOI: 10.56686/9781732003156



Roland B. Gittelsohn, the first Navy rabbi assigned with U.S. Marines, served in the Pacific during World War II. In this compelling book, written in 1946 but now published for the first time, he relates his odyssey from doctrinaire pacifist to “pacifist no more,” his training, and his ministry to Marines and sailors on Iwo Jima. His sermon at the dedication of the 5th Marine Division cemetery riveted all Americans, though it would only be heard by a small gathering that day. Woven through his account are reflections on morale, service, leadership, and interfaith understanding. He illuminates the vital, influential, and uniquely American institution of our military chaplaincy. Pacifist to Padre is the story of a rabbi deeply committed to peace and hope, who would be called “padre” by Marines and sailors in a gruesome battle.



Donald M. Bishop is the Donald Bren Chair of Strategic Communications in the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University, Quantico, VA. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, Korea, and on the faculty of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he was a public diplomacy officer in the Foreign Service for 31 years. He led U.S. public diplomacy in Bangladesh, Nigeria, China, and Afghanistan, and he was detailed to the Pentagon as the foreign policy advisor to the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway.


Editorial Note 
Introduction by Donald M. Bishop
Abbreviations and Acronyms

What not to Expect

Part I. Pacifist No More
Chapter 1. I Don’t Believe It! 
Chapter 2. To Be or Not to Be 
Chapter 3. Recipe for Chaplains

Part II. What Makes Morale?
Chapter 4. Your Friend Away from Home
Chapter 5. Your Life—In Three Minutes 
Chapter 6. Am I a Man or a Machine? 
Chapter 7. Where Do We Go from Here? 
Chapter 8. This Is It, Boys! 
Chapter 9. Dear Son . . .

Part III. Religion In Uniform 
Chapter 10. Atheists and Foxholes 
Chapter 11. Doggone It, Chaplain! 
Chapter 12. Brothers All? 
Chapter 13. Black Sand—Red Blood 
Chapter 14. Earth to Earth

Postscript: Now I Believe It!
A. Padre in Hell, Leatherneck article 
B. Brothers All?, Reconstructionist article 
C. Biographical Sketch of Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn 
D. Selected Chronology

Selected Bibliography 

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