On the morning of December 8, 1941, tens of thousands of American and British civilians living in China woke up to learn that the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor had been bombed by Japanese forces. Their nations were suddenly at war with Imperial Japan. The Japanese had invaded China years earlier, and the troops stationed there wasted no time turning these Westerners—who were now part of the enemy—into prisoners of war. “They appeared the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked,” Mary Previte told the Trumpet. “We were now the prisoners of the great emperor of Japan, they said.”
(Listen to the interview with Mary Previte on this episode of The Sun Also Rises:)
Previte had just turned 9 years old when the Japanese stormed her boarding school. Her parents were working as missionaries in central China, while she and her siblings lived in Shandong province on the country’s east coast. …