Fort Lawton Riot

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

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

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

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

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...

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Zoot Suit Riots

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

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

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

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 racist.

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Tokio Jokio

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

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

442nd Regimental Combat Team

https://youtu.be/j8buFZR52wY 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...

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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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...

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Dietrich Bonhöffer

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 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

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 British).

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The Ductators

The Ductators

This somewhat crude cartoon is worth watching to catch the feeling of Americans in the early stages of our involvement in WWII.    

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WWII China

WWII China

It is reasonable to say that WWII began, not with the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, but with a battle on the outskirts of Beijing in July 1937. After occupying Manchuria in 1931, Japan began a wider invasion of China in 1937. By the end of WWII in 1945, ~13-20 million...

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Mutilation of Dead Japanese Soldiers

Mutilation of Dead Japanese Soldiers

Despite official prohibition by the U.S. military, some American servicemen mutilated the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers throughout the Pacific campaign. Body parts (mostly skulls and teeth) were often kept as “souvenirs.” Early on, this grisly practice was openly...

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African-Americans WWII

African-Americans WWII

  Over 2.5 million African-American men registered for the WWII draft, and many Black women also volunteered. In 1941 the U.S. military had < 4,000 African Americans on duty (including only twelve officers). All-white draft boards commonly avoided registering Black...

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Virulent Anti-Semitism Redux

Virulent Anti-Semitism Redux

The current eruption of virulent anti-semitism and violence against Jews in France, makes it imperative that we recall the progressive Nazi legislation from 1933-1945 that resulted in the institution of draconian measures against the Jewish community and ultimately...

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Nazi Anti-Jewish Legislation

Nazi Anti-Jewish Legislation

Nazi Germany enacted >2,000 anti-Jewish measures 1933 The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service legalized firing "non-Aryan" government employees Most “non-Aryan" students were barred from attending German schools and forbidden to take final...

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Nazi Death Camps

Nazi Death Camps

The name Auschwitz , referring  to a network of concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland, evokes the memory of the holocaust, one of the most evil episodes in history. Auschwitz I was constructed to meet the influx of Polish political prisoners in May 1940....

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Japanese POW Camps

Japanese POW Camps

Unloading the sick & dead from up country; Wikimedia Commons   At the beginning of WWII, thousands of Americans, British, Dutch and Australians were captured as Japanese forces swept across the South Pacific. More than 140,000 Caucasian prisoners  (~ 27,000...

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Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny

  This 1942 Bugs Bunny cartoon plug for War Bonds also embeds blackface comedy (still deemed politically "OK" at the time). For most of 1942, the war was not going well for the USA. It is likely that an American theater audience singing the national anthem at the...

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