We’re honored to be hosting this thought-provoking exhibition, which was created in 2009 by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and has been displayed in other great institutions around the country, including the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and, most recently, the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. State of Deception is a historical study of propaganda, and poses questions about the power of communication and the importance of mindful media consumption. Some have asked if the Museum timed the exhibit to coincide with the current political climate. We did not. In fact, the exhibition has been scheduled since January 2015, and was created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum before that—in 2009. However, we know that the tone of the recent election and other current events have heightened sensitivity to this subject matter.
Please note that the exhibit itself (which predates the recent election by seven years) does not have any political agenda. Nor does the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or The National WWII Museum. Rather, the exhibition’s goal is to raise questions about the power of propaganda and to encourage people to think critically about the messages they receive. It’s exciting to see that the exhibit is already striking a chord with so many.
We encourage you to visit the exhibition while it’s in residence at the Museum (through June 18) or experience it virtually via the links presented below to form your own opinions. On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we’ll share the latest news about the exhibit and surrounding programs, and we hope you’ll Like and Follow us to hear the latest. These channels are also a wonderful forum for discussion and we welcome your engagement! However, in order to ensure that the conversation remains welcoming to all who view our posts—including people of every political stripe as well as school groups, veterans and their families, Museum visitors, and more—we ask that all commenters on these channels remain mindful of the educational intent of these posts, and respectful of the community receiving them.
To that end, please pause before posting to consider the following social media guidelines, modeled on the guidelines used by our friends at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to encourage an engaging, inclusive dialog.
Social media guidelines:
The goal of our social media platforms is to share news of The National WWII Museum and World War II, and secondarily offer a forum for conversation and feedback about our posts. We reserve the right to remove posts and comments that violate these guidelines:
— Comments should be relevant to the post’s topic.
— Courtesy is essential. Comments with vulgarity, threats, or abuse aimed at others are not acceptable.
— Comments are an appropriate place to question or disagree with ideas and opinions, but not make attacks against groups or individuals.
— Comments that share misleading or historically inaccurate information will be deleted.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of the above guidelines, and thank you for your continuing support of The National WWII Museum.
Our social media channels:
State of Deception links:
Find a listing of all of the public programming scheduled for the exhibition here.
Find the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s main site for the exhibition here.
Find the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s accompanying educational site here.
Watch a live walk-through of State of Deception with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum educator Sonia Booth here.
Stream the January 26 opening reception for the exhibition here.
Watch a Lunchbox Lecture by Assistant Director of Education Gemma Birnbaum about propaganda specifically aimed at the youth of Nazi Germany here.
For the month of March, Women’s History Month, the blog series, Worker Wednesday, devoted to war production employee and their publications, in particular those of Higgins Industries, the Eureka and Higgins Worker, will focus on women workers.
This week’s Worker Wednesday deviates from Higgins Industries to spotlight a worker from Delta Shipyards, another New Orleans production facility which employed thousands of women workers.
Rose Rita Samona completed 204 hours of training at the National Defense School on Frenchmen St. in New Orleans. She was trained in straight-line free hand burning, free hand circles, angles and machine burning. Samona, 22, was welcomed into the International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers, Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America. From May 1943 to January 1946 she worked as a burner for Delta Shipyards, cutting and burning holes in sheets of steel for the production of Liberty ships at the rate of $1.20 per day. Burners often qualified for extra money because of the dangers involved in the job. And indeed in November 1945 Samona had a minor injury when steel fell while she was working, burning her leg. She received the E-award and Ships for Victory medal for excellence in war production, given for outstanding job performance.
During World War II, a sense of civic duty and responsibility united the nation and fueled America’s war effort like nothing before or since. People stepped forward to fulfill the jobs demanded of them, and they excelled beyond all expectations. Civilians on the Home Front who worked to assemble America’s “Arsenal of Democracy” were essential to securing an Allied victory, and their stories serve as a reminder of what patriotism truly means.
The Museum’s current special exhibit, Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy, now showing in the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery, tells this lesser-known story of American unity on the Home Front and how it culminated in the creation of America’s mighty industrial war engine. The exhibit examines several key industries whose operations and facilities completely rearranged to make way for wartime production. We are proud to have two of the key industrial leaders featured in the exhibit as supporters of the Museum as well.
Boeing’s B-29 Super Fortress Bomber. Courtesy of Boeing.
During World War II, The Boeing Company manufactured two of the most iconic bomber aircraft. Over 12,000 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers were produced, becoming instrumental in the bombing of German-controlled Europe. Boeing’s second contribution to the war, the B-29 Super Fortress bomber, was used to lay waste to Japan’s urban centers, aiding the Allied victory in the Pacific. Now 70 years later, Boeing shows its support of the Museum’s mission of preserving the story of the war the naming sponsor of our US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, which paints the picture of a nation mobilized for war .
Workers install cylinders on a new Pratt & Whitney radial aircraft engine in 1942. Courtesy of National Archives.
During the war, the need for aircraft production was at an all-time high, though incredibly complicated due to the large number of parts and pieces involved. Pratt & Whitney built engines for aircraft that could be shipped for assembly in other plants. Their R-1830 Twin Wasp engine powered a variety of American planes, and over 170,000 of the engines were produced during the war. Without the increase in engine production, the Allies would not have been able to take control of the skies. Pratt & Whitney has helped the Museum immortalize the war’s airpower through the generous sponsorship of the Vought F4U Corsair warbird that hangs in The Boeing Center.
The National WWII Museum is very thankful for the support of Pratt & Whitney and The Boeing Company for their generous contributions to the expansion of the Museum’s campus and their strong efforts on the home front during a time of necessary American production. It is with their efforts that helped our nation at war and that the story of the war is preserved for future generations.
At first glance, the pages of the 1944 Résumé yearbook make Rohwer Center High School seem like any other high school on the Home Front, rich with student life, activities, victory gardens, and dances. In reality, however, the experience of Rohwer Center students couldn’t have been more different. The school, located at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in McGehee, Arkansas, was created to educate the children of Japanese American descent who were forced from their homes along the West Coast of the United States and required to live behind barbed wire for the duration of WWII, far from the homes they knew. Located in remote areas of the country, these camps were modeled after military facilities: tar-paper barracks, central latrines and washrooms, mess halls, and recreation halls. Guard towers and barbed wire were everyday features of the lives of these Americans.The majority of those incarcerated at Rohwer came from California, from both rural and heavily populated urban areas like Los Angeles. Most were not used to the climate; inmates were subjected to heavy rains, extreme heat and humidity in the summertime, and poisonous snakes.
Rohwer became home to approximately 2,000 school-age children, who attended classes within the confines of the camp. While these students were able to participate in sports and other activities, their forced confinement meant they did not get the same opportunities as students who lived beyond the barbed wire. Basketball and football teams, for example, had to play all games within the camp, unable to travel to their rival schools. Teachers were made up of both inmates and white teachers from outside communities, paying inmates just a fraction of the salary teachers from the outside were paid for doing the same job.
In 1943, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) began requiring all adults to take a loyalty questionnaire, forcing them to answer questions about their willingness to fight for the United States military and deny any allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. Those who refused or answered in ways that were deemed disloyal were transferred to the Tule Lake Segregation Center, once again uprooting families and punishing inmates without due process.
Rohwer War Relocation Center was one of the last camps to close, shuttering its doors on November 30, 1945.
Roughly 120,000 men, women and children were held without trials, and nearly 70,000 of those evicted were American citizens. Ultimately, not a single Japanese American person was ever convicted of espionage or acts of sabotage against the United States. Learn more on this topic and on the special exhibit presented by The Museum, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII, a traveling version of which is currently in development. From Barbed Wire to Battlefields featured the Rohwer High School yearbook and it can be viewed in its entirety on the companion site as well as on our site devoted to high school yearbooks of WWII, See You Next Year!
Posted by Curator Kimberly Guise and Assistant Director of Education for Curriculum Gemma Birnbaum
We are in the closing days for our Special Exhibit, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII at the National WWII Museum. Stay tuned for a traveling version of this show that we hope will bring this story to new audiences. Last week we received a visit from someone with intimate knowledge of the subject, the little girl seated fifth from the left in the front row. This photo is of the Nursery Class I in Jerome Relocation Center in May 1944. Jerome housed 2,483 school age children, thirty-one percent of the total population. The photo is surprising, as it goes against the notion that all of the children in the camp schools were Japanese American or at least visibly identifiable as such. Some of the children may have been local children or children of the WRA personnel. We are seeking more information about this photo and about children who attended school in any of the WRA camps. If you have artifacts, photographs, or stories related to Japanese American experiences in WWII, we invite you to share them with us. Visit our special exhibit show here at the Museum by October 12, 2014.
Jerome Relocation Center, 1944. Courtesy of Marcella Lecky.
Dorothea Lange’s picture of young girls practicing school songs, Manzanar Relocation Center. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
There’s still time to bring school groups to the Museum for the special exhibit field trip, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII. The story of Japanese American internment and military enlistment, in spite of discrimination, holds many important lessons for today about citizenship, patriotism, and civil rights. From September 8th through October 8th, 2014, students in grades 6 through 12 have the opportunity to explore this special exhibit to discover what US internment policy was, what life was like for the over 110,000 Japanese American citizens who were placed in internment camps during WWII, and to reflect on the reasons why many Japanese Americans enlisted in the military, in spite of wartime discrimination. Students also build historical empathy and become hands-on historians by investigating 1940s high school yearbooks and propaganda to learn about how Japanese American internment impacted high school students like themselves as friends and classmates were sent away to the camps.
This special exhibit field trip is available Monday through Wednesday at 9:15 am. and 10:45 am, and at 1:00 pm from September 8th through October 8th, 2014. Space is limited to grades 6-12, with 40 students and 4 teachers per time slot, and the entire experiences is 90 minutes. For rates and to schedule the field trip, please call 504-528-1944 x222 or visit The National WWII Museum’s field trip page . To learn more about the special exhibit and pre- and post-visit lessons and activities that are available for the classroom, please visit the From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII website.
The Museum’s newest live virtual program delivers an unprecedented look into WWII events, the Museum’s collection, and insight from content experts directly to your personal computer. The Adult Learning Webinar Series allows WWII enthusiasts to connect and interact with the Museum, regardless if they live down the street or across the country. Webinar participants access an inside look into the Museum’s latest special exhibits and projects, artifacts and oral histories not on view to visitors, and the stories of military groups from curators, educators and special guests.
Please join us for our two upcoming adult learning webinars this fall and winter.
The Military Achievements and Challenges of Japanese Americans in WWII
with Curator Kimberly Guise
Thursday, September 18that 12:00pm CT
Join curator Kimberly Guise as she provides an inside look at the 442ndRegimental Combat Team/ 100thInfantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service from the Museum’s current special exhibit,From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII. Participants will have an up close view of artifacts and oral histories from the Museum’s collection that convey both the triumphs and struggles of these 33,000 Japanese Americans who served their country in Europe and the Pacific. Participants will explore the stories of Joseph Takata, the first Japanese American killed in battle, Medic and POW Jimmie Kanaya, and former Senator and Medal of Honor recipient Daniel Inouye.
Caring for Your Own WWII Collection
with Museum Registrar and Assistant Director of Collections and Exhibits Toni Kiser
Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 12:00pm CT
Cleaning out your attic as a New Year’s resolution and find some of your relative’s WWII belongings? Join Toni Kiser, Museum Registrar and Assistant Director of Collections and Exhibits, as she points out hazards and provides some easy tips to ensure the protection of these precious materials from generations past. Toni will not only outline the steps to take care of moth-eaten clothing and textiles, but also archival materials, like photographs, newspapers, and letters to preserve your family’s history. Toni will also take questions from participants about any unique or tricky preservation conundrums.
Aleutian American woman and children prepare to leave Dutch Harbor, Alaska for internment camps in 1942. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Many people are familiar with the topic of wartime Japanese American confinement on the Home Front that is featured in The National WWII Museum’s special exhibit, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII. Yet very few people think of the frozen islands of the Aleutians as a place of evacuation and battle. From June 1942 until August 1943, the Alaskan islands of Attu and Kiska were the site of fighting between the Allies and the Japanese, as well as the location of governmental round-ups of Native Alaskans who were then sent to camps in the Alaskan interior. Why were these people evacuated and why has it taken so long for their story to be told? How is their experience of confinement similar to and different from that of Japanese Americans on the U.S. mainland?
Aleutian American woman and children prepare to leave Dutch Harbor, Alaska for internment camps in 1942. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
"Outlined Against the Cloudy Cloak of Snow-Capped Gareloi Volcano, a Naval Air Transport Flies through the Aleutians Towards Bleak Attu, October 1943." U.S. Navy Official photograph, Gift of Charles Ives, from the collection of The National WWII Museum. 2011.102.347.
Aboard the USS Delarof, residents of St. Paul, Alaska gaze back at their homes en route to internment camps in Southeast Alaska. 1942. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Aleutian American family in a U.S. internment camp, 1940s. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Flag at Manzanar, 3 July 1942. Photo by Dorothea Lange.
Dorothea Lange died on 11 October 1965. Today would have been her 119th birthday. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Lange became one of the pioneers of documentary photography. Some of her most well-known work was set in the American West, including her photographs during the Great Depression and WWII.
In March 1942, Dorothea Lange—already a well-known photographer—was one of several hired by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) to photograph the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast documenting their transportation into “assembly centers” and then more permanent “relocation centers.” In 1942 and 1943, Lange traveled hundreds of miles, attempting to follow individuals through the experience, spotlighting families and shooting over 800 images of this sad chapter of American history. Ultimately, Lange was required to turn over every negative to the WRA and her photographs were marked “Impounded” and remained unseen for decades.
Birds on wire, evening, Manzanar Relocation Center by Ansel Adams. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
During the fall of 1943, Ansel Adams shot over 200 images in Manzanar Relocation Center. Many of these images were published in 1944 in the book Born Free and Equal. The images are all courtesy of the Library of Congress and the entire series can be viewed here in their online catalog. When Adams offered his Manzanar series to the Library of Congress in 1965, he commented on the collection of images in a letter: “The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and dispair [sic] by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment….All in all, I think this Manzanar Collection is an important historical document, and I trust it can be put to good use.”
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.