The fraternity figuratively went "Underground". The chapter cook obtained an apartment and a fraternity room and set up a dining table. Though the fraternity did remain active in University affairs during the depression period, no attempts were made to pledge new members. Despite the efforts of Brothers Bailey, Hoffman, Noll and Wallace to revive interest, the first chapter in the story of Phi Lambda Theta came to an end in 1940.
With the onset of World War II and the depletion of male enrollment, all fraternities at Bucknell closed their doors. However, in March 1946, men poured out of the Armed services to enter college under the G. I. Bill. Six hundred of them enrolled at Bucknell. Anthony Martin, Clinton Marantz and Richard Watson, a junior, sophomore and freshman, respectively, were among the men at the University.
Years in the service had given these three men a rare insight in to the part college life and activity should play in their total lives.
They were rushed by several fraternities, but found that the principles of tolerance, equality, fellowship and kindness were not important to these organizations. Artificial barriers of race, color and religious creed were encountered.