World War 2

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

A propaganda film defends the internment of Japanese Americans.


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.