Fort Missoula, Montana



The camp was opened in April of 1941, and the first internees were 25 Issei on December 18, 1941. By April of 1942 there were around 2000 men held there, half of them Italians. The average age of the Japanese held there was 60. Some were transferred to other internment centers. By the end of 1942 there were only 29 Japanese Americans left at the center. Once they left, the Italian population rose to 1,200. They were released following Italy's surrender in 1943.

In March of 1944, though, 258 Japanese from Hawaii were held there temporarily, then sent to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The camp was closed in July of 1944, and its peak population was 2,300. Today the forst is listed on the National Register of Historic Places..

Lethbridge Herald, March 7, 1942

Indiana Evening Gazette, Aug. 3, 1942

These two articles are quite interesting. The first starts right off saying "The west coast is anxious to get rid of its Japanese." It goes on to talk about the "fifth column activities of Hawaiian Japanese", something which was shown to be totally wrong later. In addition, the article points out that "nobody else wants the western Japs," which is something seen in various other articles and reports.

The second article is sort of humorous in a way, but it overlooks the basic point; why would the Japanese and Italians get along anyhow? They are two totally different cultures and languages. It's natural for people of the same culture to want to stay together.

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