After receiving his BA from Willamette University, Hatfield saw action in World War II in both the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His stationing in Japan and Viewnam after the was shaped much of his foreign policy views. Hatfield taught Political Science at Willamette University from 1949 to 1956. He entered the Oregon House of Representatives in 1951, and spent two years in the Oregon State Senate. In 1957 he became Oregon’s youngest secretary of state and two years later was elected governor. In 1965, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served five terms. Hatfield never lost an election. A man of strong moral and ethical convictions, Hatfield was highly regarded for his political independence.