wwiistories

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75th Anniversary of the Women’s Army Corp (WAC)

Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts proposed a bill in May 1941 with the support of Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall to establish the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC). The bill was passed a year later and the first enlisted auxiliaries arrived for training at Fort Des Moines in July 1942. In July 1943, the Reserves was incorporated into the Regular Army and reestablished as the Women’s Army Corp (WAC). During WWII, about 150,000 women served in the WAAC and WAC.

During the war, Eleanor Roosevelt continued the ceaseless activism that had long marked her as America’s most public First Lady. Mrs. Roosevelt was outspoken in her support for gender equality. She championed women’s entrance into the armed services.

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Executive Order 9066 dated February 19, 1942, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt Authorizes the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas, 2/19/1942

File Unit: Executive Orders 9041 - 9070, 1/26/1942 - 2/24/1942Series: Executive Orders, 1862 - 2011Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006

Issued by President Franklin Roosevelt seventy-five years ago on February 19, 1942, this order authorized the evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast to relocation centers further inland. In the next 6 months, over 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry–over 60,000 of them American citizens–were moved to assembly centers. They were then evacuated to and confined in isolated, fenced, and guarded relocation centers, known as internment camps.

The U.S. Government would eventually be compelled to compensate surviving internees for their treatment in 1988.


Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

The National Archives Building was considered the most bomb-resistant building in Washington during the Second World War. After the Pear lHarbor attack on December 7, thousands of cubic feet of records–including the Bill of Rights, constitutional amendments, treaties, and public laws–were moved deeper within the building. Staff also built special boxes in case these valuable documents needed to be evacuated. 

Read more in our special Pieces of History blog post.

How Did Pearl Harbor Impact the Personal Lives of Presidents?

Richard Nixon was 28 years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was eligible for an exemption from military service, both as a Quaker and through his job working for President Roosevelt’s Office of Price Administration, but he did not seek one. 

After acquiring a Bachelor of Laws at Duke University, in 1937 Nixon returned to Whittier, California to practice law. In January 1942, Nixon became an attorney for the Office of Emergency Management in Washington, D.C. Determined to be a part of the war effort, he joined the Navy and accepted an appointment as lieutenant junior grade in the United States Naval Reserve in 1942. He trained at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island and then was assigned to Ottumwa Naval Air Station, Iowa. 

Looking for more excitement, Nixon volunteered for sea duty and was reassigned as the Officer in Charge for the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command at Guadalcanal, and later at Green Island. After requesting more challenging duties, he was given command of cargo handling units. 

From August - December of 1944, Nixon was assigned to Fleet Air Wing EIGHT. He became the administrative officer of the Alameda Naval Air Station. From December - March 1945, he served at the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. His next assignment was as the Bureau of Aeronautics Contracting Officer for Terminations in the Office of the Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative, to help negotiate the termination of war contracts. There Nixon received another letter of commendation. In October 1945, he was promoted to lieutenant commander. He was released from active duty on 10 March 1946. He was promoted to Commander in the Naval Reserve on 1 June 1953.

Nixon returned to the United States with a citation of commendation, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He earned two engagement stars: the Asiatic- Pacific Campaign Medal for supporting air action in the Treasury- Bougainville operations 1943, and for consolidation of the northern Solomons 1943 - 1944. 

-from the “Pearl Harbor Remembered” exhibit at the Bush Library, College Station, Texas, in collaboration with the Nixon Presidential Library. Through January 1, 2017.

Image:  Portrait of United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Richard Nixon in his dress uniform, circa 1945. @richardnixonlibrary

A Date That Will Live in Infamy

Archival Research Room Supervisor Eric Kilgore from the National Archives-St. Louis traveled to Hawaii this week to present copies of original service records to the families of Clarendon Hetrick and John Anderson. Hetrick and Anderson were both crewmen on board the USS Arizona when it was attacked on this day, 75 years ago.

John Anderson and his brother Delbert were both servicemen on board the ship, but Delbert Anderson perished during the attack. Both John Anderson and Clarendon Hetrick passed away earlier this year, and their ashes will be placed within the USS Arizona Memorial in a ceremony today. This is a page from John Anderson’s service record. It was digitized from microfilm to by a preservation specialist within the St. Louis Preservation Department

Rest in peace, gentlemen, and thank you for your service.

Trackwomen, 1943. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company

Series: Women Working In Industry, 1940 - 1945. Record Group 86: Records of the Women’s Bureau, 1892 - 1995

March is Women’s History Month! Women have shaped this country’s history in more ways than we can count. Long before Rosie the Riveter joined the war effort in the 1940s, women earned wages to support themselves and their families. This series of posts celebrates the diversity of women’s labor, ranging from industry to agriculture to folklore and beyond. 

This archival series (Women Working In Industry, 1940 - 1945) contains images depicting women and their contributions to the war effort during World War II. The photographs show women for the first time on a mass scale and from every social and economical background preforming jobs that have been traditionally considered as men’s work. In addition to the clerical and secretarial fields, women are seen working in the aircraft industry, the metal industry, ordnance, the railroad, the shipyards, as well as the military services. There are approximately 94 different occupations shown in this series where women were performing the work.


This month’s Women’s History series comes via Nora Sutton, one of our interns from the Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) program. Nora is finishing her Master’s in Public History at West Virginia University this semester.

Even as the ships in port at Pearl Harbor were attacked, history was being recorded in the deck logs of those very vessels. Every four hours, the assigned officer placed entries into the log, keeping a running record and leaving us with an eyewitness account of what was happening on that fateful morning.

According to the deck logs, the morning of December 7 started with deliveries of milk, ice cream, and ice, but at 7:55 am the deck log of the USS Conyngham reports: “Japanese planes commenced bombing Pearl Harbor Area. Held general quarters, manned all guns, commenced breaking out powder. Commenced emergency repairs on main engines to get underway. Captain on the bridge.”

The logs go on to record the attack, the positions and responses of the ships, and the attempts to pull survivors from the waters. The logs as also show the confusion caused by the attack

Currently these deck logs are only available in paper format. The deck logs are found under NAID 594258 in the National Archives Catalog (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/594258). You can read more in our article in Prologue magazine.

Transcription of the Log Entry for the USS Dale:

04–08
Moored as before. 0758 Waves of torpedo planes, level bombers, and dive bombers marked with Japanese insignia attacked Pearl Harbor; Sounded General quarters set condition affirm lit off boilers #1 and #2 and #4. Breaking out ammunition.

[signature]
F.M. Radel
Ensign, U.S. Navy

08–12
Moored as before. 0810 opened fire on planes with machine guns followed by main battery. 0815 One enemy plane believed shot down by machine gun fire from USS DALE. 0825 Boilers #1, #2, and #4 cut in on main line. 0836 Underway on various courses and at various speeds proceeding out of Pearl Harbor. Ensign F.M. Radel, U.S.N. Commanding Officer, following named officers and men absent:- Lt.Comdr. A.L. Rorschach, U.S.N. Lt. R.L. Moore, Jr., U.S.N. Ensign K.G. Robinson, U.S.N. Ensign D.J. Vellis U.S.N., Ensign L.C. Huntley, U.S.N.R. Ensign M.D. Callahan U.S.N.R. EDWARDS, G.L. CMM U.S.N. WARREN, R.H. F.C.lc U.S.N. COULSON, S.E.M. 2c, U.S.N. SMITH, J.V. Sea lc. U.S.N.FALCONER, D.D. Ylc., U.S.S.N. NEHRING, R.A. F.C. 3c, U.S.N. GAWBILL, M. M.M.lc, U.S.N. ENGLISH, J.F. M.M.lc, U.S.N. JENNINGS, A.V. F.2c, U.S.N. 0844 Stopped while USS MONAGHAN dropped two depth charges on what was thought to be an enemy submarine near USS CURTIS. 0848 Changed speed to 25 knots proceeding out of channel. 0907 Passed Pearl Harbor entrance buoy #1 passed from Inland to International waters. 0909Established off shore patrol in sector #1 on various courses and at various speeds maneuvering to avoid strafing and bombing attacks. 0911 Shot down enemy dive bomber with .50 Caliber machine gun fire. 0959 Investigated small boat carrying small white flag with several Oriental passengers. 1114 Joined up with USS WORDEN (CDS-1) on course 340°T, 328°psc, speed 11 knots. 1149 Formed column, order of ships in column WORDEN, ALWYN, DALE, AND FARRAGUT: on course 271°T, 260°psc, speed 25 knots.

[signature]
F.M. Radel
Ensign, U.S. Navy

Notice to Aliens of Enemy Nationalities, 2/9/1942

Series: Public Relations Records, 1940 - 1954Record Group 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004

This is a Department of Justice notice directed towards aliens of German, Italian, and Japanese nationality to apply for a Certificate of Identification.


More on the 75th Anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War II

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Fractured Ideals: Japanese American Internment through a Government Lens: Part 1 - A Challenge to Democracy

Americanism … loses much of its meaning in the confines of a Relocation Center.

A Challenge to Democracy (1943)

February 19, 2017, is the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066. Issued in 1942, soon after the United States’ entry into the Second World War, EO 9066 authorized the Secretary of War to designate military areas “from which any or all persons may be excluded” and “provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary … to accomplish the purpose of this order.”

Though the text of EO 9066 does not contain the word “Japanese,” the intent and effect was the creation of a sweeping program to remove 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent from their homes in coastal California, Oregon, and Washington State in the name of national security. Though the language of the time called this an “evacuation” or “mass migration,” those affected were forced to leave their communities as the Federal government moved them to heavily-guarded camps in isolated areas hundreds of miles away.

The Film Record

The newly-created War Relocation Authority (WRA) heavily documented the government’s program of Japanese American incarceration from 1942 through 1945, so we have many opportunities to understand how the camps looked, how they were laid out, and what the Federal government said about them.

The WRA collaborated with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Office of War Information (OWI), the War Department, and the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry to make films intended for several different audiences. The films are most definitely propaganda, but they reveal points of tension between the actions of the government and the democratic ideals the nation was fighting a war to defend.

A Challenge to Democracy

A Challenge to Democracy was produced by the WRA with the cooperation of the OWI and OSS. It is the most comprehensive United States government propaganda film about the Japanese American internment and relocation program. The narrator states that what we are witnessing is “evacuation” of Japanese Americans to “wartime communities” or “relocation centers” and insists that “they are not prisoners, they are not internees.” The images in the film tell a different story.

At one point, the narrator states “relocation centers are not normal and probably never can be.” In fact, the government’s longer-term plan was to move the Japanese Americans deemed loyal into towns and cities in the interior of the United States. A Challenge to Democracy likely was directed towards the Caucasian residents of these communities in an attempt to make them more accepting of displaced Japanese Americans. 

More via Fractured Ideals: Japanese American Internment through a Government Lens | The Unwritten Record


Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

“San Francisco, California. High School boys look over Buchanan Street scene, prior to evacuation of residents of Japanese ancestry. Evacuees will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.” 4/4/1942

Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965, Photographer. Series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945. Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers such as Dorothea Lange were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans interned during World War II.  More War Relocation Authority photos by Dorothea Lange.

Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

“Oakland, California. Following evacuation orders, this store, at 13th and Franklin Streets, was closed. The owner, a University of California graduate of Japanese descent, placed the “I AM AN AMERICAN” sign on the store front on Dec. 8, the day after Pearl Harbor. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.“ 3/13/1942

Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965, Photographer. Series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945. Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers such as Dorothea Lange were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  More War Relocation Authority photos by Dorothea Lange.

Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

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Animated for International Women’s Day

We’ve assembled a collection of vintage GIFs to celebrate International Women’s Day on the @usnatarchives‘ new Women’s History channel on @giphy!

Excerpted from “Women on the Warpath
Series: Motion Picture Films Relating to the Ford Motor Company, the Henry Ford Family, Noted Personalities, Industry, and Numerous Americana and Other Subjects, ca. 1903 - ca. 1954Collection: Ford Motor Company Collection, ca. 1903 - ca. 1954

(via GIPHY)

“Mountain View, California. Members of the Mitarai family on their ranch six weeks prior to evacuation. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.” 3/20/1942

Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965, Photographer.  Series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945. Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

(See another photo of Mr. Mitarai dated 2 weeks earlier.)

Professional photographers such as Dorothea Lange were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  More War Relocation Authority photos by Dorothea Lange.


Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

“Arcadia, California. Dressed in uniform marking service in the first World War, this veteran enters Santa Anita assembly center for persons of Japanese ancestry evacuated from the west coast.” 4/5/1942

Albers, Clem, Photographer. Series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945. Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II.  


Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

“Los Angeles, California. Mr. and Mrs. K. Tseri have closed their drugstore in preparation for the forthcoming evacuation from their “Little Tokyo” in Los Angeles.” 4/11/1942

Albers, Clem, Photographer. Series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945. Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II.  

Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

“Salinas, California. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry wait for the bus which will take them to the Salinas Assembly center. They will later be transferred to War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.” 3/31/1942

Albers, Clem, PhotographerSeries: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II.  


Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

“Near San Jose, California. This farm owner of Japanese ancestry has just completed arrangements for leasing his acreage, buildings, and equipment for the duration of his evacuation to a War Relocation Authority center. His sisters can be seen in the background.” 3/27/1942

Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965, PhotographerSeries: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers such as Dorothea Lange were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  More War Relocation Authority photos by Dorothea Lange.


Explore more resources from @usnatarchives​ on Japanese American Internment and Executive Order 9066:

Torpedoed Japanese destroyer photographed through periscope of USS Wahoo or USS Nautilus., June 1942

Series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958Record Group 80: General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1804 - 1983

Sources indicate this was likely taken through the periscope of the Narwhal-class submarine USS Nautilus after it torpedoed and sank the Japanese Destroyer Yamakaze on June 25, 1942.

“American prisoners of war celebrate the 4th of July in the Japanese prison camp of Casisange in Malaybalay, on Mindanao, Philippine Islands. It was against Japanese regulations and discovery would have meant death, but the men celebrated the occasion anyway.” 7/4/1942

Series: Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 - ca. 1981
Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985

“Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Baseball players in a huddle. This game is very popular with 80 teams having been formed to date. Most of the playing is done in the wide firebreak between blocks of barracks.” 7/2/1942

Lange, Dorothea, 1895-1965, Photographer. Series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945. Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 - 1989

Professional photographers such as Dorothea Lange were commissioned by the War Relocation Authority to document the daily life and treatment of Japanese-Americans interned during World War II.  


More Resources Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Japanese American Internment at the National Archives