|Sun, Feb 17th from 10:00PM|
In the weeks after Pearl Harbor submarines of the Japanese Imperial Navy torpedoed ships and refineries off the California coast. Crewmen were killed, ships sank, and panic took over. This panic led to what is now known as the "Battle of Los Angeles." Only one man died in this imagined invasion but thirty people were arrested the next day, twenty of them Japanese Americans.|
Prejudice wasn't new in California, but in the name of "patriotism" it reached new heights. Best known is the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese, but even the state's oldest population, the Latinos of Mexican and Spanish decent, became targets.
During this time California opened its southern border to Mexican farm labor, and hundreds of blacks poured in from the south and northeast to work in its shipyards and airplane factories, to build the backbone of America's war machine.
In these factories, a new "social experiment" was taking place, as men and women of all races worked closer together than ever before. But this new 24 hr workforce had its needs and demands. Defense companies became "social progressives" offering their workers hot lunches, and Kaiser Shipyard's set up on site medical care, which evolved into Kaiser Permanente.
By the end of the war, California was a changed state with a population that had swelled from 6.8 million to 10 million. No longer the "step child" of the east, California became a state to reckon with.
Without California, its people, resources and industries, World War II could have been lost. And without that war, California wouldn't be what it is today.