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In Time of WarIn Time of War (2006)

DVD; 1 hour
Item #TW02

In a single moment, the United States joined World War II, following the attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941. The semblance of measured serenity and daily life dissolved, and suddenly America shifted itself into the mindset of a nation attacked, a nation at war.

Japanese-Americans became part of a national identity crisis; mistrust flowed into fear, fear into panic. But the now-familiar story of Japanese Americans interned during the war has overshadowed other stories, stories which present these citizens—even in the face of unfair and even illegal discrimination—as among the heroes of the American struggle against tyranny.

Introducing IN TIME OF WAR, a 60-minute documentary narrated by Patti Duke exploring the Japanese-American experience of WWII in the Pacific Northwest. Delving into untold dimensions of the story in a personal vignette format, IN TIME OF WAR sets itself apart as a documentary that goes beyond camp life and explores the full impact of what it meant to be an outsider during WWII:

  • Japanese Americans who were evacuated and never interned, but nonetheless experienced severe discrimination and loss
  • Those who served in the US Army and fought for American freedom while their families were imprisoned behind barbed wire
  • Those who resisted military service for reasons of personal patriotism and integrity, paying the price with island imprisonment
  • And finally, those who did indeed experience the degrading alienation of internment camp on some of the most destitute land in America.

Featuring the critical insights of prominent Northwest historians and the poignant images of National Archives historical footage, IN TIME OF WAR gives voice to the forgotten. With humor, nostalgia and intimacy, survivors speak from their hearts:

Two former internees take a long trip back to the remnants of camp in a surprising exploration of life behind barbed wire. “Japan didn’t want us, and the U.S. didn’t want us. We were people without a country for so many years.”

One woman revisits her past as a young girl forced to leave her family behind. “We weren’t very welcome. I felt like I was out in the ocean with nothing.”

A resister talks about liberty lost, love found and life in a time of crisis. His is the story of the unsung hero, an individual whose deepest patriotism for America—the protection of true freedom—led him to an island prison for three dark years.

And finally a former infantryman takes us inside a riveting battle with the Germans—a battle that turned the tide of WWII. “It was absolutely pitch dark,” he said. “We fought for to days, moving only yards at a time. All this business about being disloyal…I thought about stuff like that when the bullets started flying.”

IN TIME OF WAR includes archival footage of WWII and the critical insights of recognized historians. Perhaps one the most compelling features of the documentary is how each subject talks about what it was like to be an American citizen during time of war. Ultimately IN TIME OF WAR reveals that civil liberties are fragile rights, but their struggle to attain these liberties will now never go unnoticed.