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On one of those vacations several other fellows and I rented the top part of a villa on the French Riviera. I'd spend maybe half or three-quarters of the day on the books, and then we'd horse around the rest of the time. That summer I borrowed a car from a South African fellow and toured around France and Germany and then settled down for a couple of months in Munich, where I rented a room from an old German woman.
I spent those months studying Roman law and trying to improve my German, reading the newspapers and talking to the Germans. There were a couple of German fellows I horsed around with, and much of the time we would hang around the Hofbr�u House, where a lot of American tourists used to go. Most of the young Germans I knew had already been in the army and were subject to recall. Naturally, there was a great deal of debating about war, because it was after the Munich settlement and on everybody's mind. When a couple of those German guys got recalled, that was a pretty good sign that the war was about to start.
The south Germans are a friendly and attractive people, but there was never any doubt that they would fight for Germany if a war came.
The first time I remember meeting President Kennedy was that summer in Munich. He was traveling around with some friends of his, and I think we had a couple of evenings together. I'd met him earlier that year at the American Embassy in London, because his father, the Ambassador, had invited the Rhodes scholars to several parties at the Embassy.
When the war started they called all the Rhodes scholars back to England, and finally they decided it would be better if we all went home. I think your thought at the time was that sooner or later your country was going to get in it, so you wanted to get home and sec what your country was going to do.
Continuing with the White House biography, we read, "Mr. White attended Yale University Law School from October 1939 to October 1941 and from February 1946 to November 1946, receiving an LL.B. degree magna cum laude on November 9, 1946. In 1940 he won the Edgar M. Cullen prize for the highest scholastic grades. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Order of the Coif, a legal scholastic honorary award.... During the war Mr. White served in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Commander, USNR, in 1945. He was employed as a law clerk to Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson of the United States Supreme Court, 1946-47. He then joined the law firm of Newton, Davis, Grant and Henry, now Lewis, Grant and Davis in Denver, Colorado. He became a partner and remained in this firm until January 1961. He was appointed Deputy Attorney General, his present position, by the President on January 24, 1961."
We all had various choices as to where we would go to study when we got home from England [Justice White continued] and a friend of mine and I decided to go to Yale Law School. I didn't play pro football that fall of 1939. Tim Mara, of the New York Giants, came up to New Haven to talk to me about it, but I said no. I thought I'd better stick to the lawbooks.
The next year Freddie Mandel, who had just bought the Detroit Lions, got in touch with me, as he had just made an arrangement with Art Rooney to buy my contract. At first I was not going to play at all, but then when it looked as if I couldn't finish Yale before I was drafted I decided to take out a semester from law school and earn money. I played that 1940 season with Detroit and made up the courses I missed at law school by studying at the University of Colorado the following summer.
Yale Law School was the most stimulating intellectual experience I had had up to that time. There was a fairly small enrollment and a relatively large staff, so you had a great opportunity to be exposed to some of the finest legal minds in the country. It should be pointed out, however, that this is in no way a reflection on Oxford; I just wasn't there long enough to get the full benefit of what it had to offer. At Yale they had a very exciting approach to the law and its relationship to the world around you. The law was interpreted in relation to the social and economic aspects of our society. After my first year there, I was chosen for the Law Review, but I went off to play football and make some money instead.
I played a second season of football for Detroit in 1941, but neither of those seasons was a great success. We finished down around the middle of the standings. I did make some good friends with whom I've been close ever since.