In this section, we discuss RSNA history during World War II. The great event took place from 1939 to 1945, resulting in a huge number of deaths; some researchers estimate that number to exceed 50 million individuals.
RSNA 27th annual meeting was carried out at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco in 1941. The meeting ended few days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a result to the ongoing war, a number of RSNA leaders such as Like Benjamin H. Orndoff, MD, and Leon Menville, MD, the president of RSNA, encouraged the society members to join the American Army during the war. Dr. Menville wrote an article in Radiology saying: “Let us erect a militant radiological edifice, for which a strong foundation already exists, that shall stand as a blinding light to our barbaric enemies, a source of aid to the civilizednations of the world, and a glowing monument to posterity!”
Moreover, the war resulted in canceling RSNA annual meeting of 1943. As the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation contacted the society president, Robert S. Stone, MD, to cancel the meeting in order to reduce the use of gasoline for travelling inside US and direct its supplies towards the frontlines. So instead of conducting an annual meeting in that year, a smaller two days meeting for RSNA executive committee, led by Dr. Stone, took place at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, where Edwin R. Witwer, MD, was selected as the new RSNA president.
With the war continuing, RSNA 1944 annual meeting was also facing difficulties. However, Dr. Witwer did not want to cancel the meeting for the second successive year. So instead, a joint meeting was held combining RSNA and ARRS at the Palmer House in Chicago. During that meeting, Lawrence Reynolds, MD, was speaking in a session titled “History of the Use of the Roentgen Ray in Warfare.”
However, the next RSNA annual meeting in 1945 was taking place after the war was officially finished. The meeting was short and included naming Lowell S. Goin, MD, as new RSNA president. The continuing education sessions’ name was also changed to be the Annual Oration instead of the Carman Lecture. Moreover, the society celebrated its 50th anniversary by presenting a special edition of journal Radiology, which contained very significant historical information.
In this section, we discussed how World War II affected the progress of the RSNA. In the next few sections, we are going to highlight the beginning of what was called the “Golden Era” for medical radiology, which took place following huge advances in the field after the end of war.
To be continued…