Round Up the Japs

For an interesting example of propaganda during wartime, check out "A Challenge to Democracy," a 1944 documentary produced by the U.S. government about the massive internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. "This weird film -- the U.S. government's view of life inside its World War II Japanese-American internment camps -- is an early exercise in political damage control," writes reviewer Ken Smith. "One of its more enjoyable aspects is its baldfaced use of pleasant-sounding euphemisms to recast the nasty things it shows us. ... 'The people are not under suspicion,' the narrator informs us, as we see Japanese-Americans being herded onto trains. ... As the camera pans past armed guards in watchtowers and chain-link fences topped with barbed wire, we are told that these are simply 'symbols of the military nature of the evacuation.' "