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Between 1942-1946, the US government brought German POWs to the states for use in agricultural labor. This coincided with the first few years of the US-Mexico bi-national Bracero migrant labor program, which brought Mexican nationals to the states, especially the southwest, on temporary contracts in agricultural and other labor.
The rights of the POWs were in concordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention codes of conduct, whereas the rights of the Mexican farmworkers were to be held accountable by the US government and by the Mexican consul.
The former, literal Nazis, were paid prevailing wages, were given comfortable housing and adequate food/healthcare, etc. They were ‘treated like our own boys’ by their employers and by the townsfolk in the regions they temporarily inhabited. When it was time for them to be repatriated, many locals petitioned the government to allow them to stay longer. The latter, temporary Bracero laborers, were kept in aluminum sheds in the summer, denied beds and cooking utensils, denied access to healthcare, paid less than any prevailing minimum wage, forced to buy from the company store, forced to comply with Jim Crow laws, etc. Every single aspect of their contracts were violated by US employers and nothing was done to enforce them by the US government. The locals wanted them for cheap labor but wished to God they didn’t have to deal with them as human beings.
So to recap. From 1942-1946, the US government and its white landowners treated literal Nazi prisoners of war like kin because they were white while denying basic human and labor rights to Mexican nationals whom the US government desperately asked to borrow ‘on good faith’ during a time of labor shortage to help feed Allied soldiers for the war effort.
Just one specific reminder about our fucked up legacy.
10 random facts about US Presidents
- (MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE) After President Bush Sr. vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, a new word entered the Japanese language. Bushusuru means “to do the Bush thing,” or to publicly vomit.
- Grover Cleveland was the only president in history to hold the job of a hangman. He was once the sheriff of Erie County, New York, and twice had to spring the trap at a hanging.
- Andrew Johnson is the only tailor ever to be president. As president, he would typically stop by a tailor shop to say hello. He would wear only the suits that he made himself.
- Twenty-ninth president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) repeatedly made love to a young girl, Nan Britton, in a White House closet. On one occasion, Secret Service agents had to stop his wife from beating down the closet door
- Jimmy Carter is the first known president to go on record as seeing a UFO.
- Every member of Teddy Roosevelt’s family owned a pair of stilts, including the first lady.
- As a young man, Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822-1893) fought lyssophobia, or the fear of going insane.
- Calvin Coolidge liked to have his head rubbed with petroleum jelly while eating his breakfast in bed.
- Thomas Jefferson was convinced that if he soaked his feet in a bucket of cold water every day, he’d never get a cold.
- Harding was obsessed with poker and once bet an entire set of priceless White House China and lost it.