As you have been reading this diary written by Will Lynch during his captivity by the Japanese as an American diplomatic prisoner in Shanghai, China, you will have noticed he sometimes refers to the Japanese as "Japs". This was very common during World War II, as Americans expressed a fear and mistrust of both the Japanese and the Germans. And of course, he is very unhappy and somewhat fearful to be kept a captive, awaiting repatriation and the exchange of the diplomats between Japan and the United States.
After the Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, there was much suspicion in America of the Japanese Americans. It was felt that they could pose a danger to America, though they may have been model citizens who had never done anything to cause suspicion.
The sad result was "in February, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order, authorizing the federal government to relocate all people of Japanese ancestry who were living on the West Coast. At great financial and emotional sacrifice, more than 100,000 people, many of them native-born Americans, were uprooted and sent to ten desolate inland camps. Some 10,000 went through the gates of Amache, located near Granada, Colorado." (Sandra Dallas in her book Tallgrass).
It should also be noted that many of these Japanese American men volunteered and served in the armed services for America and some lost their lives in that service.
So, all the time Will Lynch was a captive in Shanghai, Americans of Japanese descent were also held captive in "camps" in several parts of the middle of America.
There have been many scholarly books and reports written about the Japanese relocation. The book Tallgrass, by Sandra Dallas, is an excellent and very readable historical novel based on research about Camp Amache, (which she renames Tallgrass), the setting for this book. It is told from the perspective of a local girl who lives on a nearby farm.
Another easily read book is Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by James Ford. This book, also historical fiction, is set in Seattle, Washington, and gives the point of view from Japanese Americans in that area.
Introduction to Lynch Clan
My Lynch ancestors from Ireland came to America in 1848. The group included my Grandfather James Lynch and his five siblings, ages 10 to 18, who sailed without their parents to New York City. Soon they were living in a tenement house in Massachusetts working in a textile mill. From there they gradually migrated west. This blog will contain information gathered by my mother, Hazel Lynch Skonberg from her father, giving details of the trip over and life in America. There is also a diary written by his son, Will Lynch, who was with the American Consular Service of the State Department, and was taken hostage on Dec. 8, 1941, by the Japanese Army who had captured Shanghai that day. I hope you enjoy this blog about the James Lynch family in America.
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