From 1812 through World War II
IU’s involvement with the military dates back to the university’s early days as a frontier college. IU’s founding father David Maxwell was an Indiana Ranger and surgeon in the War of 1812 and many legislators, faculty, students, and members of the first Board of Trustees also had military ties.
IU was one of the first five colleges in the country to incorporate military science into the curriculum, in 1840. After the National Defense Act of 1916, ROTC was established on campus; the program was mandatory for all male freshmen and sophomores, including African Americans.
Concerned with mass enlistments during World War I, the Army developed the Student Army Training Corps (SATC), which provided enlisted men with two years of training in essential fields of study and effectively turned the campus into a military base, with residence halls and fraternities serving as barracks.
During World War II, campus again became a military training camp, with the Army, Army Air Corps, Navy, and Marine Corps sending troops for instruction in relevant fields such as foreign languages, dentistry, medicine, and nutrition.
After World War II, the influx of students taking advantage of the GI Bill transformed the campus with new building construction and increased research funding. With the Department of Defense, new programs in foreign languages and cultural studies were developed that continued through the Cold War and the Korean era.