Home Local News Emotion torpedoes effort to ease wartime labor shortage

Emotion torpedoes effort to ease wartime labor shortage

by DrewLUD


The labor shortage threatened to cripple the southern Delaware economy. Able-bodied men were nowhere to be seen.

Traditionally, seasonal hands had been imported to southern Delaware; but many of these workers took jobs closer to home. Many women who had never worked outside of the home eagerly signed up to help, and Boy Scouts were recruited to work in the fields; but they were not enough.

The lack of workers threatened to leave crops rotting in the fields, when Charles Mills, the owner of an 1,100-acre farm near Rehoboth, discovered a ready source of willing and experienced farm hands.

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 vaulted the United States into World War II, the draft and a flood of volunteer enlistments left the coastal region short of employable young men. By the third year of the war, the labor shortage was acute.

A basketball game at the Poston camp in Arizona on Jan. 2, 1943. This photo is featured in an exhibit on Japanese internment at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park.

After the United States entered World War II, Americans of Japanese descent were rounded up and sent to detention camps. One of the largest of these camps was in Poston, Arizona; and in 1944, Mills received permission to employ two internees, Thomas Matsubara and William Honda, from the Poston camp. Mills also hired a third detainee, George Yamamoto, who appears to have been from another camp.


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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service