Don’t Be a Sucker

  This interesting War Department film from 1947, with anti-racist and anti-fascist themes, warns Americans not to let let fanaticism and hatred turn them into suckers.     However, with the emerging Cold War, this rhetoric seems oddly out of synch.. In August 2017,...

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Mexican-Americans in WWII

Ethnic and racial discrimination in WWII-era America was a powerful social force. Just as the civil rights of African-Americans were restricted in the South, similar discrimination weighed heavily against many "Tejanos" of Mexican descent in the Southwest.    ...

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Race-Based Education USA

In 1946 A US district court case in Orange County, Ca., Mendez vs. Westminster, ruled that race-based public school enrollment was illegal. During the trial, the Mendez family's attorney presented social science evidence that segregation resulted in feelings of...

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Interstate Bus Segregation

In June 1946 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia law requiring racial segregation on commercial interstate buses as a violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The appellant Irene Morgan, riding an interstate Greyhound bus in 1944 had been...

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Buchenwald Liberated

WARNING: This post contains many graphic images. The motto "Jedem das Seine"  displayed over the entrance to the Buchenwald concentration camp, is an old German proverb derived from the Latin phrase "suum cuique"  meaning "to each his own" or  "to each what he...

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My Japan

This propaganda film was produced by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1945 in an effort to promote War Bond sales. My Japan might be described as a heavy-handed attempt to elicit angry responses from American citizens regarding Japan's audacity as well as contempt for...

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Anne Frank Dies

Anne Frank was a teenage writer who hid in Amsterdam with her family for two years during the Nazi occupation of Holland. She chronicled her feelings and experiences in a diary that became renowned after the war. She was 15 years old when the location of the family...

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Race Riot Guam

  Montford Point Marines In July 1944, the U.S. Army and Marines recaptured Guam from the Japanese at a cost of 1,783 Americans killed and ~6000  men wounded. ~18,000 Japanese died. After the battle, the Allies developed five airfields on Guam to attack targets in the...

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The German War

  Using German archival records and letters and diaries of both civilians and soldiers during WWII, The German War - A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945  by Nicholas Stargardt is a fascinating book that illustrates the strong civilian support for Germany's armed forces...

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Fort Lawton Riot

In August 1944, a riot broke out at Fort Lawton, Washington between Italian POWs and U.S. African-American soldiers. Dozens of men were injured before military police intervened. The next morning, an Italian POW was found hanged. Interpretation of the riot and...

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Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips

Unfortunately, this cartoon, released in April 1944, can no longer be found online in its entirety. Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, portrayed classical Western racist stereotypes of the Japanese - short, buck-toothed people wearing thick eyeglasses and talking jibberish. At...

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Port Chicago Disaster

In 1944, segregated African-American Navy units were assigned dangerous loading operations. Most of these men were not trained in munitions handling, and safety standards were apparently often overlooked under heavy pressure to complete loading schedules. In July...

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Vichy France

Vichy France propaganda cartoon about the allied bombings of France. A Jewish radio announcer in London broadcasts the imminent arrival over France of Allied Liberator aircraft. US planes, flown by Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye, Goofy and Felix the Cat, drop bombs...

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Hacksaw Ridge

  This film, about a conscientious objector who actually saved 75 lives as a medic in the midst of a terrible battle on Okinawa, was directed by Mel Gibson. As might be expected, it's a little corny and extremely violent. But the WWII verisimilitude, both on the home...

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Zoot Suit Riots

Zoot suit attire consisted of baggy legged, narrow- cuffed, waist-high pants, a short tie over a buttoned shirt, suspenders, a long coat with wide lapels and padded shoulders, wide-legged, pegged trousers, flashy shoes and either a fedora or a tando hat with a feather...

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Angel of Death

Born in 1911,  Josef Mengele  earned an M.D. and  Ph.D. in physical anthropology from the University of Munich in 1935.  In 1937, at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant of Dr. Otmar von Verschuer, a leading...

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On the Eastern Front

For the ordinary German soldier, the horrific war on the Eastern Front was unlike its more "civilized" counterpart in the Western campaign. The seeds of anti-semitism, long present among "Aryan" Germans, were germinated and vastly amplified by Nazi propaganda, laws...

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Batman

This  1943 movie featured the first screen appearance of Batman played by Lewis Wilson. With J. Carrol Naish playing the evil Japanese agent, the film is almost laughably crude and...

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Tokio Jokio

This 1943 Looney Tunes cartoon mocks an imagined Japanese documentary film. With Mel Blanc supplying all the voices, the film contains many silly stereotypes and racial insults typical of the era.    ...

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Detroit Race Riot

In June 1943 a race riot erupted in Detroit Michigan, a city brimming with ~400,000 wartime migrants competing for jobs and housing. Fueled by false rumors of racial attacks in both black and white communities, the rioting continued from June 20 until June 22 when...

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442nd Regimental Combat Team

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was organized on March 23, 1943 when 2,686 Japanese-American volunteers from Hawaii and 1,500 from the U.S. mainland received basic training in Camp Shelby, Mississippi. In May 1944, the 442nd, attached to the 5th Army under the...

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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

In the summer of 1942, German SS and police units deported ~ 265,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to to the Treblinka killing center and ~11,600 to forced-labor camps. More than 10,000 Jews in the ghetto were murdered during these deportation operations. While ~35,000...

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Dietrich Bonhöffer

Dietrich Bonhöffer (1906 –1945) was a German Lutheran theologian and founding member of the Confessing Church that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to permeate German Protestant churches with Nazi doctrine. An outstanding academic theologian,...

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Racism in America

Racism was firmly rooted in WWII America. Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast were detained Acceptance of European Jews fleeing the Nazis was strongly resisted Racial discrimination against blacks and Hispanics was common Although American blacks...

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Momotarô’s Sea Eagles

This rather eerie Japanese wartime cartoon features Momotaro the mythological Peach Boy fighting alongside several different animal species (representing East Asians) in an attack against the demons on the island of Onigashima (Americans and...

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