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Wartime Tensions

<= Relocation by Race

West Coast Arsenal =>

The prewar military buildup in California accelerated after December 7, 1941. Soldiers, sailors, marines and defense workers poured into the state by the tens of thousands. This influx, combined with wartime tensions strained the social fabric and exposed deep-seated racial animosities.

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San Francisco Army and Navy Y. M. C. A.

Canteens and USO, YMCA and YWCA clubs throughout California provided relaxation and recreation for service men and women far from home.

OCD News Letter, November 10, 1942

What Can I Do, The Citizens Handbook for War, Issued by United States Office of Civilian Defense

On the home front, civilians became aircraft spotters, learned what to do in case of enemy attack, and organized support for the war effort.

Summary of Material on Civilian Defense, Liability for Shooting Enemy Parachute Troops

During the first months of the war, some particularly cautious Californians wondered about their legal liability should they shoot enemy paratroopers.

Alfredo Elias Calles Counsul of Mexico, Western Union

How to Prevent A Race Riot in your home town ...

In June 1943, tensions between military personnel and primarily Mexican-American youths in Los Angeles boiled over into the so-called “zoot suit” riots. Sailors, claiming harassment, indiscriminately attacked young men wearing that unique style of dress, beating some and “pantsing” others. By the time military authorities restored order, the turmoil had attracted the attention of the Mexican government and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Letter From C. H. Wright, To Governor Earl Warren

When racial tensions in the San Francisco Bay area increased in 1944, military and civilian authorities sought to diffuse the situation. Nevertheless, some civil unrest did occur.

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