Alternative Facts, 1943

This short piece of explanatory propaganda, produced in 1943, comes from the the Office of War Information and the War Relocation Authority. It documents and rationalizes the removal and internment of more than 110,000 west coast residents of Japanese descent, most of them American citizens. It is a chilling look at how the government justified the taking of liberty and basic civil rights during wartime. The narration is provided by Milton S. Eisenhower who ironically served as the first director of the WRA  and resigned after only ninety days due to personal opposition to mass relocation and the Federal Reserve Bank’s refusal to protect internees property. He was the associate director of the Office of War Information when he made this film and his skepticism for both the relocation program and the script is noticeable. The film was never widely distributed to the public.


Milton S Eisenhower was the younger brother of Dwight D Eisenhower, who at the time of this film was serving at Ft. Lewis. His brother Edgar was a practicing attorney in Tacoma and his nephew John was attending Stadium High School.

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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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