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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Nancy Bartlit’s Interview (2013)

Manhattan Project Locations:

Nancy Bartlit is the former president of the Los Alamos Historical Society and co-author of Silent Voices of World War II: When Sons of the Land of Enchantment Met Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun. Her father worked on the Manhattan Project in New York City, Oak Ridge, and Canada. Bartlit talks about how her experiences teaching at a girls’ school in Japan and living in Los Alamos influenced her work as a historian. She discusses Japan’s surrender, the internment of Japanese Americans, Navajo Code Talkers, and how Japan remembers the bombings today.

Date of Interview:
July 31, 2013
Location of the Interview:


Cindy Kelly: This is Cindy Kelly. It is July 31, 2013, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and with me is Nancy Bartlit. I want her to say her full name and spell it.

Nancy Bartlit: My full name is Nancy Reynolds Bartlit, N-A-N-C-Y R-E-Y-N-O-L-D-S.  Bartlit is B-A-R-T-L-I-T.

Kelly: Excellent.

Bartlit: And I use the name Reynolds because—that is my middle name now, because my father was in the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge. My father, Thomas George Reynolds, was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but he was raised in Lombard, Illinois, and then went to the University of Illinois, where he was a chemical engineer. He was a civil and a chemical engineer, and I cannot remember which degree came first without checking the records.

But I was the fourth child and I was living in Cranford, New Jersey at the time of Pearl Harbor. I had turned five that fall. And Dad was getting a Master’s degree at Columbia University with Harold Urey. He was doing isotope research on nickel. He died before he knew that his research had been declassified. I learned about this after he was gone.

But anyway, he was working with Harold Urey, who was a Nobel Prize winner later. He was at the Office of the War during World War II. He was the personal representative of Harold Urey during heavy metal research up in Trail, British Columbia, and then he also was sent to Oak Ridge. He graduated with his Master’s degree, and then was working for Kellogg Corporation in New York City. Then Kellogg Corporation formed Kellex Corporation, which is the company that helped to design the K-25 plant. Dad worked on that.

We lived in New Jersey and he would go down to Oak Ridge. My mother said that she had a suitcase at the front door with fresh clothes—underwear and shirts and whatever—waiting for Dad to grab it and to go and disappear. She did not know where he was going or what he was doing during the war. She said she remembered he always had blueprints in his hand. So he worked on that plant down there.

But there was a dinner for the Kellex Corporation workers, engineers, and I guess physicists, whatever, that was held in October of ’45. And these men received keys for their efforts during the atomic research. He has a certificate of appreciation for having worked on the Manhattan Project. So I have some of those details that I can send you for your archives to follow-up with my story. And of course, I just ordered again those first volumes of the New York City maps that show Columbia University and show Kellex Corporation and other things, which I wish I could talk to my father about now. He told me all about this before I really became a historian of World War II, before he died. And, we did not record it. I did not have my tape recorder with me at the time. So a lot of that material is gone. However, I have a booklet of his career in a box that I can go through again and see what I can find. 

But I also have a letter that he had to sign that he could not give away secrets or he would be in violation of the federal law, as all the people who worked on that did. So, his work there was—what he did was secret. My brother said that there were a lot of engineers under Dad, but I do not know if that is hearsay or what.

There was one story about him going down to Oak Ridge with all the security. He went to the men’s room and the skylight was open, and so he thought that was a breach of security and he told the story. And of course the security people came and closed the window or closed the skylight and things like that. But I do not know other stories.

My husband, John Bartlit, whom I married and brought me to Los Alamos after I taught in Japan, worked under a man called Ed Hammel. He just passed away this year, in his nineties. We had Ed over for dinner one time. I was telling Ed about my father, and Ed said, “Oh, I must have had work with your father because I was getting my PhD at Princeton under the same project that you were doing under Harold Urey at Columbia.” And then Ed and his wife Caroline were in Trail, British Columbia for maybe eight or nine months before he came to Los Alamos. Ed is the one that told me that my dad’s research was declassified after my father was gone.

There is a wonderful story. This is an aside, but it is a human interest story. I am one of six children. I was the fourth. My next youngest sister, Cynthia, was born in ‘43 during the war, and my folks wanted to have another child so she would have a companion since the rest of her family were so much older than she. So the story is that when they finished the K-25 plant, Dad came back from Oak Ridge and called Mother and said, “Put on your prettiest clothes and come up to New York. We will have a celebration for my part of the Oak Ridge ending.” So mother did, and nine months later I had a sister, Susan. And she was named Susan Victoria Reynolds, after the end of World War II.

The atomic bombs stopped the war in August 14th or 15th, whichever, and then the surrender was September 2nd.  Susie came October 30th. So she was named Susan Victoria because of the end of World War II. And we moved to Kansas City. I was in fourth grade and I had a new school. We lost our dog. I had a new sister. It was a very interesting time for me, a challenging time. So, that’s that part of the story.

I am a historian and I am also a detective. I think historians are detectives because we are looking for that serendipitous ways of finding information you never expect it, it is around the corner. And as Winston Churchill says, “We are trying to recreate the passion of former days.”

And for me, to have gone to Japan and taught for two years in Sendai while I was waiting for John to finish his PhD at Yale, he is a chemical engineer too.  I swore I would never marry because we moved so many times. But to then come back, marry John Bartlit, who had worked at Los Alamos while I was in Japan as a summer student. And then for us to come to New Mexico was something unplanned, but it was meant to be. And we found out that John, because of the way we spell “Bartlit,” is related to the family that started the Boys Ranch School. And, that is the reason why the Manhattan Project came to Los Alamos, the whole history of that.

Peggy Pond Church is the third cousin of John’s father, Fred Bartlit Church, I mean Fred Bartlit. We found that out pretty early on. I had given my family and his family Peggy Pond’s book The House at Otowi Bridge for Christmas. John’s mother came to visit and she said, “You know, I think we are related because there was a Bartlit that married a Pond and they moved to Detroit.” Then, she did not know what happened.

Well meanwhile, John and I started getting active in air pollution control because New Mexico is being polluted by the Four Corners Power Plant, and also there was a paper pulp mill that was going to be located in Albuquerque, Rio Grande Valley. The hydrogen sulfide fumes would float up to Los Alamos, 100 miles away. So John got involved and he gave a talk in Santa Fe. Peggy came up to him and said, “Do you really spell your name Bartlit?” He said yes, and she said, “We are related.” So that started a beautiful friendship. Fermor, her husband, became our treasurer and one of the founders of our environmental group to help to clean up the air in New Mexico. Peggy is just a lovely person. I got to know her real well. So that is part of that history.

And as you know—people listening do not know, I was head of the Los Alamos County Council, like the mayor, eventually. So I had my, I say, one foot in Los Alamos, the Manhattan [Project] history, and the other foot in Japan and the Japanese connections. As a historian of World War II, that gives me a unique perspective, because I understand the Japanese approach to the decision-making as well as the Western. I try to teach that. One cannot understand the atomic bomb story and interpret it without understanding how the Japanese make decisions and how they think and how the Emperor did not have the power to stop the war. Westerners think, “Well since President Truman had the power, he is our president, he is the chief military officer. He can make that decision.” You cannot equate them. They did not have the same kind of power.

So what I teach is how it took a week for the Japanese to make a decision to accept the Potsdam Declaration. But, the men that made the decision ultimately committed ritual suicide right after the decision was made. There were many Japanese officers who committed ritual suicide afterwards. That part of the story is in the books but it is not well-known by people who are examining whether the bomb should have been used or not used. This is a unique viewpoint I have. I do not tell people what to think. I just report the facts and let them kind of figure it out themselves. But I think that if Westerners impose their way of thinking about decision-making on the Japanese, they are not coming up with a correct solution or reason for why things happen.

Kelly: Would you like to share with us what you have concluded about all this?

Bartlit: Yes, I am an author of a book called Silent Voices of World War IIWhen Sons of the Land of Enchantment, of course, New Mexico, Met the Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun.  And of course, that is Japan. That name was given to them by the Chinese because Japan is east of china. So I just thought it was kind of a pun on “son”: son, sun. We tell four stories in that book. We talk about the men from New Mexico who were in the New Mexico National Guard, who were the first National Guard to be federalized and sent to the Philippines in the fall of ’41, where they expected the Japanese to attack in the spring. So MacArthur was preparing troops from the Philippine youth and using American troops. About 200 men from New Mexico and some from Texas were sent there and fought.

And then the other story we tell is about the Navajo Code Talkers, who were from both New Mexico and Arizona. But initially, Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory. So, we claim them. They were Marines in the Pacific and they helped to shorten the war by a year.

And then, the third group of people that I specialize in is the men who were of Japanese descent, who were either immigrants or citizens, who were sent to the internment camps in New Mexico and why they were brought as “dangerous enemy aliens” away from the coast as potential spies and brought to the gateway to the biggest secret of all of World War II, is kind of a puzzle to the CCC Camp.

And then, the Manhattan Project, which is the development of the atomic bombs, and how it shortened the war. It took me three years, reviewing, reading, interviewing, because you must realize that I came from Japan and visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki before I came to Los Alamos. I knew the development of the bomb history here. It took me a long time to understand the history.

But in interviewing the men who were POWs for three and a half years and who were abused by the Japanese guards in camp, and having them so grateful to President Truman for using the bombs, and shortening their time as prisoners of war, I became to understand that in the big picture those bombs rescued those men. Half of the men that were sent over from New Mexico, it saved at least half of their lives.

It saved the lives of other prisoners of war from Australia and the civilians because an order had gone out by the Japanese to all the commanders of the camps that once we attacked Kyushu, or one of the Japanese four main islands, all of the prisoners were to be exterminated without a trace. So in that case, those men’s lives were saved. They were also dying off from starvation and cruelty and disease without being serviced by medical help. So, their lives were saved.

The Navajo Code Talkers, we only lost about, I think it was eleven out of 450. They were our radio men. They were protected because they were the communicators from the beaches to the front line to the beaches to the ships. They knew how to get out of the way after they delivered their message, because otherwise they would get shot at. They are a wonderful group of people and their commander said they shortened the war by a year because they used their language, which came from New Mexico. New Mexico was remote and isolated, and even though they were punished for using Navajo in the schools, they were so brilliant. All of this translation went on in their heads; they were not allowed to have notes. So that was my amazing and marvelous.

Then there is Los Alamos and the whole story about why Los Alamos was selected. There again, I go back to serendipity. J. Robert Oppenheimer was a sickly boy and his folks had money in New York City. Back in those days, cities were terribly polluted. So his parents sent him and his brother out to New Mexico, where many lungers came to clear up their illness.

So it was a pattern from east to go out west. Even the Boy’s Ranch School was based on that pattern, of having young men come out and get healed by the clean air. And, because of that, he on his horseback discovered the Boy’s Ranch School, which had been in place since 1918. When they were looking for an isolated place that had buildings, etc., to be used for the research so the scientists working on this top secret could find a place to work, Los Alamos was selected. That is serendipity to me.

And then my husband bringing me there instead of going to work for a gasoline company in one of the major big cities and making lots of money, instead of—working at Los Alamos was also a choice. So, I feel as though it was meant to be. I think that the National Historic Park eventually will bring Los Alamos and these other cities together in some way with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I would like to see students of the Manhattan Project go to all those places either physically or virtually. There are so many things that are in Hiroshima and Nagasaki museum that talks about Japanese aggression. I visited fourteen war museums and peace museums—I missed three that I did not know about—to learn what the story was being told in Japan. And when I taught there back in ‘58-‘60, the Japanese would say to me, “We started the war, you ended it.” That was it. And in my studies and going to Asian conferences and all, I found out that the Japanese really did not blame the United States for using the bombs to stop the war. They were starving too. But, it was when we had our tests in the Pacific and the fishermen were radiated, that they started this campaign.

Now, there are other historians that have been—whose opinions have been accepted in Japan, that makes Japan feel as though they were victims of the atomic bomb testing, other sorts of things. But by and large, my generation—people that lived through that understood that the bombs were needed to stop the war.

Also I have a study that was done by a PhD graduate who explains and does a study of the popular culture. The Japanese knew all about atomic power. They were doing research on it. They had atomic scientists who went to school with European scientists at the time. They were doing research. Their cyclotron was thrown in to the bay by our conquering Army people. It is very, very interesting, and it talks about why General [Korechika] Anami did not use the word “the atomic bomb was used in Hiroshima.” It was “a very special bomb.” Not “atomic bomb,” but they sent their atomic scientists to investigate, to see.

So then, I tell more stories about what happened to—again, why it took so long. The second bomb was indeed needed to convince more people in the War Cabinet that we had more than one bomb. That was the threat of the third bomb, which generally convinced Anami. That is my belief. That is my research. I communicate with Professor Sadao Asada, who went to Carleton and then to Yale and is a professor of history. Well, I think he is retired now, Doshisha University. That is his opinion too in doing his research, that the bombs were necessary to shock Japan into the surrender.

I taught at a girls’ academy in Sendai. That was my main job. I taught junior high, senior high, and college level English as a second language and typewriting, because this was a private school founded by Protestant missionaries, but all mixed up at this point. After the war the Japanese mixed up the various private schools and allowed the Westerners to come in. But after hours, I could do whatever I wanted so I taught at UNESCO every Wednesday night. That class was basically young boys from the university – engineering students who were planning to come to America or work with American firms.

One of the young men is an engineer. We became very close. We are the same age. He came over and made his fortune here in the United States representing a Japanese firm. I will not go into that, but he is retired now. When I wrote the book with Professor Rogers, Silent Voices of World War II, he said to me, “Let me see a copy. If I approve of it I will promote it in my circle of business people from Japan and my friends from Japan.” He read it. He sent me a five page review of the book and supported everything in the book.  At the very end he said, “Thank you America from rescuing us from our military.”

I learned later that this young man, when he—let’s see, we were nine at the end of that year. We turned nine the year the war ended. His home had been burnt by napalm from other B-29 planes. His family survived because they ran into the forest, whereas the other people who went to the underground were suffocated by the smoke inhalation.

He has no criticism of the United States for doing what it did, because we rescued Japan and the Japanese citizens from their military. And, if you think of the Japanese military as you do, or I do, of separating the German culture from the Nazis, then you can kind of understand the parallel with the Japanese having to acquiesce to samurai-type mentality. They were controlled by this, and the whole imperial system took over. Anyone, if you go to the museum in Kyoto, you learn about in the ‘30s, if you were in favor of peace, you were either killed or you got out of Japan. I have met people here in the States who said their fathers and mothers got out of Japan because they were not warlike and they escaped.

The Japanese museum tells about that, in the sense that we rescued them. But Anasuka-san, he is my friend, I go visit him and his wife. He has taken me to San Jose, which is like “Japan town.” I am so excited. A few weeks ago, I was in Seattle at a conference of the Japanese American National Museum and the guest speaker was Norman Mineta, former Secretary of Commerce under Clinton, Secretary of Transportation under Bush. He was the former mayor of San Jose. He is in my book. Then he was in Congress. He is the one that after three tries, finally got the law passed that apologize to the Japanese Americans for what happened during World War II and gave each of the survivors twenty thousand dollars for their effort. But at least it was an apology and we were honoring that.

I got to meet him and have dinner in his company with some other friends who were survivors of other camps. So, I am sending him my book because there is a story in it about the baseball bat that was taken away from him as a young boy, who just got it for Christmas when he was sent to the internment camp, because the baseball bat was considered a weapon.

Bartlit: So it was a shock to me. When I learned this, it was in Honolulu at an Asian conference. There was a professor from Pittsburgh who is a Japanese American, whose father was in the Foreign Service. She has lived in England and she has lived in Germany. She specializes in the difference between the Germans accepting their fate after World War II and telling the story. And the Japanese who were not—on the national level, they did not tell about the aggression. They do not tell the truth. And they tried to change the truth. The Japanese are not taught the truth. And there are stories or—not stories, but there was a lawsuit by one of the professors who’s passed on, trying to get the textbooks to include about the Japanese aggression. The reason this is important is because it has affected the international relations with Asian countries.

Oh, there is so much I could tell you. When the Prime Minister goes on the day of surrender, the day when the Emperor—the anniversary of the day when the Emperor’s voice was broadcast on NHK, all of Asia shutters because it is symbolic of the Japanese aggression, the Japanese attitude. I think it has affected the relations in Asia. The story of the Manhattan Project is so important because—and what happened in World War II, because even years later, decades later, it is affecting international relations.

Caroline Kennedy is going to Japan to be our Ambassador. Oh boy, would I love to have lunch with her and talk to her about things. I would just like to know her understanding. The Chinese teach their children about the Japanese aggression—the rape of Nanking. The Chinese children grow up knowing the story. The Japanese children do not. I am generalizing, but the story needs to be told. 

There are people in Hiroshima, peace people who try to tell the story and they have interviewed grandfathers who fought in the war and they did atrocious things, who will tell their children about the atrocities they did. But if you study the military training, if you study the kamikaze training and the cruelty to their own military young men, you can understand the cruelty to our POWs. You have to learn about surrender.

When I give my lectures, I talk about surrender and that no one could surrender but the Emperor. This is so complicated, but it is the opposite of what we think of. We try to preserve a life. We try to save life. We in the West would give our life for our buddy. We will give our life for our country. What is different from the kamikaze who will give his life for the Emperor? There are differences, but I raise that for the student to examine and look at the different values. But in Japan and during World War II, the Japanese soldiers that were sent to the islands were not expected to come back. The kamikaze, the trained kamikaze pilot, was not expected to come back. If he did come back, he is ostracized. The officers who surrendered their troops, and there were very few, were treated worse as prisoners of war, when our American prisoners were sent to labor camps in Japan. It was against the law to surrender.

So one has to understand that whole concept of surrender to understand again what surrender meant to the men who were still trying to keep the war going or to the Emperor. And when the Emperor finally said, you know, after the first atomic bomb, according to Professor Asada, the Emperor was ready to stop. He was ready to stop, but General Anami and the other men who had the deciding vote were not. And even after the second weapon was dropped, he was not convinced. And then, I tell the story about the third weapon. Of course we had a lecture in Los Alamos by Don Farrell, who came from Tinian, and he gave us the details about stopping the third bomb, which—the material for the third bomb was stopped in California. It was on its way. So that is a fascinating story about all of that and what they believed. I do not know how I got off on this tangent.

Okay, do you want me to go back to the internment? One of my dear friends is Bill Nishimura. Bill is still alive. He turned 93 in June. He was a young boy in his early twenties. He worked with his father on a vegetable farm in California near Torrance, California when the war broke out. And he spent his war years in four camps. Initially Bill moved from the far coast of California, Oregon, and Washington, inside the state because it was cut in half. And these people did not think they would have to go to internment if they could move more inland. But then, the order went out that all of the people of Japanese descent, if they were not already further inland, were going to be interned. And so, Bill was sent down to Poston, Arizona, where he served, because he knew Japanese.

He was not trained in Japan. He is American-born. He knew some Japanese. His father was in the Santa Fe internment camp. The American commanders of the camp—Poston, along the Gila River area—said to him, “Would you like to join the MIS?”

Bill said, “I will join MIS when you release my family from internment. I am an American citizen. I am a born citizen of the United States, and when you release my family I will consider going in the MIS.”

So they brought his father from Santa Fe to Poston. A couple weeks later they called him into the headquarter office and said, “Are you happy now that your father is visiting?”

He said, “Yes, but we are still interned and you have not given my family its freedom that it deserves.” And so they sent Bill and his father up to Tule Lake, which was called a segregation center for all the people who would not fight for the United States or wanted to go back to Japan for different reasons.

So towards the end of the war, towards the very, very end of ‘44 and early ’45, there were a number of men that were brought down from Tule Lake. The men who had been in the Santa Fe camp were much older, averaged age 52.  But Bill came with his father together. His mother and his sisters were still in Poston, Arizona. Bill was in this camp for the rest of the war. His father got cancer of the stomach and so he missed the opportunity to be sent back to Japan because he was nursing his father.

And then, it was not till April of ‘46 that he and his father were sent down to Crystal City in Texas. Then they were let go. For this he received $20,000 by the United States government when there was the Civil Liberties Act passed and signed by President Reagan. It was a symbol that no man of Japanese descent or woman were ever convicted of any kind of crime or spying. The United States government knew that they would not be, because we had broken the code Magic and we knew the Japanese were not going to use Japanese immigrants or citizens for spies. They used Anglos. Anglos is a Spanish word for New Mexico. They used “gaiji,”; they used whites or German spies for spying, basically.

So anyway, it is a different story of the war. But the interesting part is,why did they bring them to the CCC camp in Santa Fe? There were CCC camps all around new Mexico. They had 500 beds. They expanded it to 2,000 beds. It was in the city limits. It was not very far from where Dorothy McKibbin had her office at 109 E. Palace Avenue.

But the men were in the camp, and until the message came from the Philippines about how the men were mistreated, the Japanese internees could go out and work in the orchards and work in the vegetable fields in Santa Fe. And then when the city found out that there boys were being mistreated, they stormed the camp with pickaxes and all kinds of sticks and whatever, and they were stopped by the commander. Then the internment became a protection of the lives of the men in the camp. But they were brought there because of what they did, their profession, not because of any act that they did personally. So that is another wonderful story, interesting story.

Kelly: They were brought there because of their profession not because of where they—?

Bartlit: That is right, because of their profession.

Kelly: Could you explain that?

Bartlit: There was an ABC list. The As were people who had influence in the community, Buddhist priests and newspaper people, editors, principals of schools. By virtue of being from the country to whom we went to war, they were enemy aliens, despite virtue of that. So was Enrico Fermi an enemy alien. But he was not a dangerous enemy alien because he was a scientist and they needed him at Los Alamos. His wife was a Jew and that is why he was protecting her life to come over here. But, he was treated differently. But the Japanese, who were by virtue of being born in Japan and came over here to make their fortune, were considered dangerous enemy aliens by their profession. So they were rounded up there, about 2,000 rounded up in the afternoon of Pearl Harbor, and brought to different prisons and camps, and then ended up in Santa Fe.

Now those people that came to the Santa Fe camp, which was run by the Department of Justice, were lucky because their rights were protected by the Geneva Convention. They had the opportunity to complain and make their lives more comfortable through the Spanish Consul. So when they were in the camp, Santa Fe camp, they had lots of things to do and amenities, etc. But they were watched and their mail was censored and their cameras were taken away, and things like that. But they had much to do, many sports, and they could visit—people at a house that came to visit, if they were sick they could go visit families if someone were sick.

But as Bill Nishimura says, “We had no women. There were no women,” But then I talk about, neither did the Marines on the ships. There were no women on the ships. There were no women on the beaches. The men who were in the 200th Coast Artillery, our New Mexico National Guardsman, did not have women. They did not get mail once they were prisoners of war, and they were separated.

The men in the Manhattan Project, the FBI followed Oppie around, J. Robert Oppenheimer. We call him Oppie in Los Alamos. I suppose it’s a loving name for him. It is not disparaging in any way, because he is beloved. His legacy is beloved in Los Alamos.  

Anyway, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was followed by the FBI wherever he went, his telephone calls were listened into, and the mail was also censored in Los Alamos. The scientists were allowed to bring in their wives, but not the men who were the SEDs, the engineering division, the military men. Their wives could not come within 100 miles. So they were separated during the duration. They were in barracks. Barracks were universal.

I am not making light of what happened to the Japanese because they were put in centers for horses, stalls. They were put in horse stalls in California until they were sent off to other camps. They were treated terribly, the cultural differences, the misunderstanding of the Americans about the Japanese culture influenced what happened to them, the ignorance of how the Japanese, especially of that generation, behave, and their system of honor and integrity and the first-born. I mean, Bill was the first-born, oldest son. He had a responsibility to the family in a way that first-born American boys do not have. So, you have to understand that.

So, that is part of what I teach and I think it is part of the story of World War II. But the irony is that they were brought here to Santa [00:48:00] Fe just a few miles away from 109 E. Palace where all the people came who were going to Los Alamos, and General Groves knew about it.

Kelly: So you said that there were 500 beds and they expanded it to 2,000. There were that many people there?

Bartlit: There were 4,555 all told from the time the camp opened, then it was closed temporarily, and then it was reopened, and then closed in April/May of ’46. And yes, no more than 2,100 people in the camp at one time.

Kelly: From your research, what became of these prisoners? Did they decide to return to Japan? Did they give up on this country? Did they forgive this country?

Bartlit: All of the above. I just gave a lecture down at Fort Stanton, which was the place where the German seamen who gave up their ship prior to our going to war with Hitler were sent. And they built their own camp outside the fort, which was the fort that was built to attack the Apaches years ago. General Pershing was there. I think MacArthur’s father was there for a time. But there was this huge camp out across the river from the fort. After Hitler declared war on the United States, these men also became enemy aliens. But they were not military; they were seamen from a cruise ship. The Nazis, who were part of that camp, who were “troublemakers,” were taken outside that camp and set aside.

Well the counterpart, the Japanese troublemakers—I told you about the men who came from Tule Lake who were sent to Fort Stanton and then onto Japan. There were seventeen of them, and six of them were American-born. And most of them were Japanese language teachers. When you interview the men who were in the camp, and today those boys, the people that are telling the stories, if you go on a pilgrimage and you listen to their stories, they were like eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve years old. They had a lot of freedom because they could play with their friends and they could eat in the dining hall without their father giving orders. It broke up the Japanese culture that way.

But when they talk about their experience with the Japanese language teachers, it was not pleasant because they are very, very exacting. Japanese language teachers are very exacting and human nature does not come into what goes on. It is like the trains in Japan. They are always on time. Anyways, it is interesting to listen to them.

But all these things that happened to these people, and when the bill was signed, the most important thing to the Japanese survivors was the apology that they had not done any wrong. But $20,000 did not even cover what they had lost in terms of careers. Their property was often lost, stolen, not protected. There are wonderful stories about Caucasians who took care of property, made sure that their investments were taken care of. Those were the lucky ones. So twenty thousand—and it was only given to the people who were still alive who had been in the camp, not their heirs. So that is another part of the story. But their lives in camp were cut short because of the bomb.

You asked about where they went. In some cases they were dispersed throughout the United States. Instead of being a ghetto or something like that still on the west coast, the college, like Carleton College where our daughter went, was one of the early colleges to accept students.  The Quakers did a lot to get the young people. And these people, some of them were already in the military and their guns were taken away from them and they were made cooks and chief bottle washers for a while. There were some from Hawaii. I go to Honolulu to get stories and photographs because there were a number of Hawaiians that were sent to Santa Fe. There were schoolteachers, educated people, and fishermen, fishermen because they had shortwave radios on their boats, their boats were confiscated.

You know, the Japanese sent submarines. There were submarines along the coast. There was a submarine that attacked an oil refinery along the coast. These incidents are not told. I was in New [00:54:00] Jersey and my mother said I used to hide under the bed because I would hear the sirens. I would see the search lights and we would have to pull the curtains, the black shades, and go to bed early, turn the lights out. I do not remember hiding under the bed but I remember there were submarines sighted. And of course, the submarines—how many tons of vessels were sunk by the German submarines for the first part of the war or before we got into the war? And we finally figured out how to fight back through the submarines. So the threat was a real one. The Pearl Harbor plan was not Yamamoto’s plan. It was one that was taught. It was taught at West Point and it was planned. But they never thought it would ever happen. These are the fun things about being a historian.

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