Friday A/V Club: Our Friendly Government Explains Why These Concentration Camps Are in Everyone's Best Interests

Pioneers wanted!During World War II, the U.S. government interned tens of thousands of Japanese Americans who had been convicted of no crime. To put a friendly face on the proceedings, the Office of War Information made a film about it. "Neither the Army nor the War Relocation Authority relished the idea of taking men, women, and children from their homes, their shops, and their farms," narrator Milton Eisenhower claims. "So the military and civilian agencies alike determined to do the job as a democracy should: with real consideration for the people involved."

We then see footage of the prisoners (sorry: "evacuees") being delivered to their internment camps (sorry: "pioneer communities"). These new pioneers, we're told, settled "on land that was raw, untamed, but full of opportunity." The inmates were eager "to go to work," and they "cooperated wholeheartedly. The many loyal among them felt that this was a sacrifice they could make in behalf of America's war effort." (And just look at those happy smiles!)

It gets even worse, but I can't quote the whole thing; you'll have to watch it. Here's the full film:

For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.

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  • Alan Vanneman||

    This film is an invaluable historical document commemorating American racism and war hysteria. Not only were Japanese-Americans incarcerated, they were often robbed of their land and other possessions.

    However, the camps were not "concentration camps" (Jesse does not use the term in his text). Surprisingly, Japanese-American college students (only those born in the U.S.) were allowed to attend non-West Coast colleges. The Oberlin Alumni Magazine had a recent article about these students:

    http://www.oberlin.edu/alummag.....dents.html

  • Brandybuck||

    Pre-war Fresno area was a land of immigrant farmers. The Japanese were at the top. But they were forced to sell off their farms. After they war they had to start over from scratch, yet still came back. There may be more Japanese owned farms in Fresno County today than anywhere else outside of Japan.

  • Jesse Walker||

    the camps were not "concentration camps"

    I think it's fair to call them concentration camps. See here for some discussion of where the phrase fits.

  • From the Tundra||

    "Quick disposal of property often involved financial sacrifice for the evacuees"

    This film is incredibly creepy. "Pioneer communities", huh?

    I assume you are just preparing us for the inevitable when the government decides that most libertarians are loyal, but just to be on the safe side they create some lovely "opportunity zones" in the middle of Nevada for us.

  • ||

    I assume you are just preparing us for the inevitable when the government decides that most libertarians are loyal, but just to be on the safe side they create some lovely "opportunity zones" in the middle of Nevada for us.

    I thought that's what Nevada already was...

  • UnCivilServant||

    Naw, Nevada is federal land with a few pesky bits of private property poking in.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    And notably lacking in Roadz, so the libertarian pioneers will feel right at home.

  • The Last American Hero||

    If we got rounded up and sent to Camp Galt's Gulch would that mean Atlas had finally shrugged?

  • ||

    Given that Japan had no access to oil and used most if its reserves to attack the US Fleet in Hawaii [which was not yet a State] , how exactly was Japan going to invade America? Kites?

  • Number 2||

    No doubt the same way the Germans in 1917, with their High Seas Fleet bottled up in port and their army fighting a two-front war in Europe, was going to join forces with Mexico and invade the American Southwest.

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