It was my 8th-grade history teacher, Mr. Danhausen, who started me on my life-long obsession with World War II.
It was my friend, Anthony Garrett, who provided me with a copy of his grandfather's journal.

Elwood Llewellin Garrett was an American businessman in Manila at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
This is his story, as he recorded it, of living under Japanese rule in an enemy-occupied foreign land.

May 10, 1942

Happy Birthday Sweetheart. How I do wish we were together a top the Mark Hopkins, lifting over a “few”. Just you and I. I wonder how you are darling, and what you are doing today. Do hope you are not worrying too much about me. We are getting along quite well so far taking everything into consideration.

Today is the start of our fifth month in this camp. In some ways it hardly seems possible, then again, it seems ages. It is reported that there is no more flour in Manila so we have had no bread on the line for more than two weeks. This is only the beginning of things to come. Now that Corregidor has fallen, Manila Bay is filled with Jap ships loading up and carting away all their war booty. According to information received from the outside, just about everything of value owned by us in here is being taken, including automobiles, refrigerators, radios and all the canned goods and groceries they can lay their hands on. We also learn that there was a total of seven thousand officers, troops, civilians and nurses on Corregidor when they surrendered. I rather expected that there was much more than this, which makes it all the more surprising that they should have run out of food and ammunition, necessitating their surrender. This whole affair out here makes one very dis-heartened to think that we were so poorly prepared and managed. Surely the command will have a lot to answer for. But we at least have something, if you can call it that, and that is the distinction of being the first American civilians ever to be put in a concentration camp in their own territory. Likewise the American troops, to surrender their own territory. Not a pretty picture at all.

Yesterdays paper carries an item to the affect that San Francisco was under an air raid alarm for twenty seven minutes on May 5th. Can it be possible that the Japs are really intending taking over the United States proper? I don’t believe any one ever thought they could go as far as they have, but the facts are known and so far as we know, they have not yet been slowed down. It is all so inconceivable, yet the proof is before us and the devils are still going strong. I believe, along with many others, that we should have been able to recover from the first blow long before this but apparently no soap.

Have just gone out to the shanty to get a new pencil and there met a fellow who has been out on a sick pass and he tells a different story about Corregidor. He says there are 11,473 men on the island and that the Japs have refused to accept their surrender unless all other armed forces in the Philippines surrender. The Japs have them bottled up there on the island, under heavy guard, and intend to kill every one of them if the balance of our forces do not surrender within four days. He heard General Wainwright’s plea over the radio to commanders of other forces to lay down their arms and further says he is a broken man, sobbing all the time he was trying to talk. It is terrible and almost unbelievable, but after hearing of the many atrocities committed on the natives I can believe anything. The only thing I wonder about is, how long is the U.S. going to stand for this.

I also heard this morning that the Jap army trucks go dynamiting around town, hell-bent-for-leather, driving wrecklessly and have killed endless numbers of civilians, both pedestrians and others riding in carromatas, etc; the chap who tole me says he has seen many such cases. On his way down to camp this morning he saw two killed outright and the truck did not even stop to render aid.

My stenographer came down this morning and managed to talk the guard into letting her come in. so we had quite a little chat. She has been a peach of a kid. Did not have much to say about things outside but take it there is much room for improvement. Was happy to have talked to her as it breaks the monotony.

That’s about all for today Sweetheart. We have just received notice that we can again try to send notes to the states by means of the Brazilian consul, so will scribble you off a line and hope you may receive it before long. Some how I don’t have much confidence that you will ever receive it but am not passing up an opportunity. So here’s hoping.

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