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, the introduction of what is now Japan’s most popular illegal drug began as a result of the state promoting its use during the war.

With the possible exception of opium during the Opium Wars, no drug has ever received a bigger stimulus from armed conflict. “World War II probably gave the greatest impetus to date to legal, medically-authorized as well as …

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 …

How Deprivation and the Threat of Violence Made Sweden Equal

War and the Great Depression Spurred Its Embrace of the Welfare State

Sweden is almost universally regarded as a bastion of sensible people, temperate social policies, and steady, evenly distributed economic growth. So it surprises many to learn that the Scandinavian country …

How My Parents’ Wartime Gamble on Greyhounds Paid Off

The Sentimental Journey of My WWII Childhood Mixed Dog Racing with an Idyllic Life on the Road

The greyhound racing tracks were like big shiny carnivals, but I could only see them from the outside. Kids weren’t allowed in where people were gambling. Sometimes mother took …