How Japanese Americans Built a ‘Useful American Life with All Possible Speed’ in 1940s Chicago

Incarcerated on the West Coast by the U.S. Government, Thousands Were Then Given ‘Work Leave’ to Resettle in the Midwest

In March 1943, Kaye Kimura left the “Manzanar War Relocation Center” in California and boarded the same train that had brought her there in 1942, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt had sent 120,000 Japanese Americans to wartime prisons.

During her first trip on the train, Kimura had ridden with the windows closed and the shades down, by order of the military. This time, as a parolee and not a prisoner, she was allowed to gaze at the world beyond.

Kimura, just 28 years old, was headed to Chicago with urgent …

The West Virginia Hotel Workers Who Ironed the Sheets of Their Enemies | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The West Virginia Hotel Workers Who Ironed the Sheets of Their Enemies

After World War II Broke Out, Hundreds of Axis Diplomats Were Detained in America’s Rural Luxury Resorts

In the 1930s, as the drumbeats of war in Europe and the Far East grew louder, Americans maintained their workaday lives and strived for business as usual—as did their employers. …

The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan

For Workers and Soldiers, Taking Methamphetamine Was a Patriotic Duty That Hooked a Generation

Amphetamines, the quintessential drug of the modern industrial age, arrived relatively late in the history of mind-altering substances—commercialized just in time for mass consumption during World War II. In fact, …

Why Are So Many Eastern Europeans Suddenly Celebrating Nazi Collaborators?

New National Mythologies Rely on ‘Heroes’ That Help Downplay the Holocaust

When is a hero not really a hero? When a country resurrects a tainted figure to serve the needs of a new national mythology. Consider the case of Latvian national …

The Black Women Soldiers Who Demanded Opportunities

During World War II, Four African Americans at Fort Devens, Massachusetts Went on Strike to Do Skilled Jobs Instead of ‘Maid Work’

In late 1944, four African-American women—Mary Green, Anna Morrison, Johnnie Murphy and Alice Young—enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps, or WAC, the newly established military branch for women. All …

Portraits of Loyalty

Shane Sato Depicts Japanese-American Veterans Who Fought for the Country That Imprisoned Their Friends and Families

Growing up as a Japanese American in a Los Angeles suburb, Shane Sato says, he felt “safe and comfortable” and had little, if any, experience with racism or prejudice. Only …