Captive: Japanese Prisoners of War in Iowa 1945-1946

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Between 1943 and 1946 tens of thousands of German prisoners of war were detained in Iowa at two main camps, one in Algona and one in Clarinda. These prisoners of war provided valuable labor that helped Iowa farmers meet their War Food Administration goals. 

In January 1945 the success of the farm labor program at Camp Clarinda seemed to be in jeopardy, when local residents learned that the German POWs were leaving to be replaced by Japanese prisoners captured in the South Pacific. Only two prisoner of war camps in the United States housed the fewer than 6,000 Japanese soldiers taken captive during the war: Fort McCoy, Wisconsin and Camp Clarinda, Iowa. 

This presentation by Chad Timm will focus on the experiences of Japanese POWs at Camp Clarinda between January 1945 and January 1946, highlighting the role the Japanese played in alleviating local labor shortages.



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Presented in partnership with Ames Public Library and the Ames History Museum.

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