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Newly Published: Axis Diplomats in American Custody

New on our bookshelf today:

Axis Diplomats in American Custody: The Housing of Enemy Representatives and Their Exchange for American Counterparts, 1941–1945
Landon Alfriend Dunn and Timothy J. Ryan

After Pearl Harbor, German, Italian and Japanese diplomats, along with their staffs and families, were relocated to two lavish but isolated resorts in Appalachia, where the State Department insisted they be treated as distinguished guests. As the war progressed, other Axis envoys were similarly detained. (The Japanese ambassador to Germany was captured by U.S. soldiers in Europe and held in a small hotel in rural Pennsylvania, while the War Department argued for treating him as a war criminal and the local population decried his luxurious accommodations.)

Informants were recruited, attempts at espionage and escape were foiled, diplomats complained and squabbled endlessly, babies were born and townspeople made threats, while newspapers published outlandish exposés of wild parties.

Based on government documents, the recollections of detainees and hotel staff and contemporary newspaper accounts, this book is the first to focus on the day-to-day lives of the nearly 1,000 detainees during their six-month confinement.