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Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling


10,000 Fresh Voices | KFAI

In the early 1940s, the need for Japanese translators in the Pacific was growing. With few soldiers proficient in Japanese, a language school to intensively train people to be military linguists was established. Nisei—people of Japanese ancestry born in the United States—were recruited to teach at the school, but when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an Executive Order of internment or relocation, the school moved from California to Minnesota. KFAI producer Jessica Folker tells the story of how Japanese Americans living in the Twin Cities admirably served their country at the military school. According to source General Charles Willoughby, General McArthur's Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence, "The Nisei shortened the Pacific War by two years, saved possibly a million American lives and saved probably billions of dollars." For more information, visit http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/120language_school.html.