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FDR orders “enemy aliens” to register

FDR orders “enemy aliens” to register


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On January 14, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring aliens from World War II-enemy countries—Italy, Germany and Japan—to register with the United States Department of Justice. Registered persons were then issued a Certificate of Identification for Aliens of Enemy Nationality. A follow-up to the Alien Registration Act of 1940, Proclamation No. 2537 facilitated the beginning of full-scale internment of Japanese Americans the following month.

While most Americans expected the U.S. to enter the war, presumably in Europe or the Philippines, the nation was shocked to hear of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the wake of the bombing, the West Coast appeared particularly vulnerable to another Japanese military offensive. A large population of Japanese Americans inhabited the western states and American military analysts feared some would conduct acts of sabotage on west-coast defense and agricultural industries.

Official relations between the governments of Japan and the United States had soured in the 1930s when Japan began its military conquest of Chinese territory. China, weakened by a civil war between nationalists and communists, represented an important strategic relationship for both the U.S. and Japan. Japan desperately needed China’s raw materials in order to continue its program of modernization. The U.S. needed a democratic Chinese government to counter both Japanese military expansion in the Pacific and the spread of communism in Asia. Liberal Japanese resented American anti-Japanese policies, particularly in California, where exclusionary laws were passed to prevent Japanese Americans from competing with U.S. citizens in the agricultural industry. In spite of these tensions, a 1941 federal report requested by Roosevelt indicated that more than 90 percent of Japanese Americans were considered loyal citizens. Nevertheless, under increasing pressure from agricultural associations, military advisors and influential California politicians, Roosevelt agreed to begin the necessary steps for possible internment of the Japanese-American population.

Ostensibly issued in the interest of national security, Proclamation No. 2537 permitted the arrest, detention and internment of enemy aliens who violated restricted areas, such as ports, water treatment plants or even areas prone to brush fires, for the duration of the war. A month later, a reluctant but resigned Roosevelt signed the War Department’s blanket Executive Order 9066, which authorized the physical removal of all Japanese Americans into internment camps.

READ MORE: Life in WWII Japanese Internment Camps


A SECRET HISTORY / The harassment of Italians during World War II has particular relevance today and serves as a warning of what could happen

2 of 21 Photo from the February 23, 1942 San Jose News of John Perata, 42, third from left in plaid jacket, and Felix Bersano, 44, center in trench coat and hat, both from the San Jose/Campbell area, being led to the county jail. Perata and Bersano are the father and uncle, respectively, of Don Perata of Saratoga. Handout photo. Jeff Chiu Show More Show Less

4 of 21 Italians at the U.S.Immigration registras office SF. HANDOUT Show More Show Less

5 of 21 ITALIANS14-C-15AUG41-MN-AP GERMAN AND ITALIAN MIGRANTS LEAVE PHILADELPHIA FOR MONTANA CAMP IN BUTTE WHERE THEY WILL BE INTERNED FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR IN EUROPE AP Show More Show Less

7 of 21 Italian American internees watching a soccer game in their camp in Missoula. Story on Italians that where interned during world war II by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

8 of 21 Lawrence DeStasi an author of books on Italians that where interned during world war II by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

10 of 21 A notebook that Prospero Cecconi an Italian wrote about his arrest in San Francisco and internment during world war 11 By Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

11 of 21 Doris Giuliotti looking at a notebook that Prospero Cecconi her father an Italian wrote about his arrest in San Francisco and internment during world war 11 By Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

13 of 21 Doris Giuliotti family photo around 1942, L TO R Prospero Cecconi his daughters Rita and Doris and wife Amelia. by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

14 of 21 Prospero Cecconi basic personnel record. Story on Italians that where interned during world war II by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

16 of 21 Gian Banchero after his intervview with the U.S. Department of Justic Civil Rights Division interviewing italians about WWII travails at the Fratellanza club in Oakland. by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

17 of 21 Lawrence DeStasi an author of books on Italians that where interned during world war II by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

19 of 21 Joanne Chiedi executive officer with U.S. Department of Justic Civil Rights Division on thr right interviewing italians about WWII travails at the Fratellanza club in Oakland. L to R Anna Perata ,Don Perata , Bobby and Emily Michaels. by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

20 of 21 Al Bronzini walking around the produce market in downtown Oakland . When Al was a young boy he came to the produce market to pick up produce for their store in Oakland. by Vince Maggiora VINCE MAGGIORA Show More Show Less

Al Bronzini's father lost his business and his mother lost her mind. Rose Scudero and her mother were exiled. Doris Giuliotti's father ended up in an internment camp. And Anita Perata's husband was held in a detention center and her house ransacked by the FBI.

They don't want reparations, apologies or pity. They simply want the history books rewritten to say that, almost 60 years ago, it was a crime to be Italian.

During World War II, 600,000 undocumented Italian immigrants in the United States were deemed "enemy aliens" and detained, relocated, stripped of their property or placed under curfew. A couple hundred were even locked in internment camps.

It's not something most people know about.

"This story has legs because people are so stunned that this happened to the Italians," said writer Lawrence DiStasi of Bolinas, part of a group of Bay Area Italian Americans who have led a nationwide campaign to exhume this chapter of American history.

"And we want to educate our own people, too, not just the rest of the public," DiStasi said. "Because if you don't know what happened to you, then in a certain sense you don't know who you are."

The past year has been pivotal. After almost six decades of virtual silence,

the issue has acquired a timeliness and sense of urgency - even more so since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States and subsequent backlash against people of Middle Eastern ancestry.

"The targeting of certain groups is chillingly

Joanne Chiedi, deputy executive officer in the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department, said: "What happened to the Italians was based on wartime hysteria. We're trying to educate people so it won't happen again. The story needs to be told."

Chiedi must produce a report by Nov. 7 on what did happen.

For Chiedi, 40, it is perfect casting: The daughter of Sicilian immigrants, she was also in charge of the Justice Department's redress project to provide reparations to the Japanese Americans interned in concentration camps during the 1940s.

The current investigation was ordered by President Bill Clinton when he signed the Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act last November. Finally, the government has admitted something went on.

And, finally, too, people are ready to talk about it.

Some Italians call this chapter of U.S. history "Una Storia Segreta," which means both a secret story and a secret history.

After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the United States declared war and began a crackdown on those of German, Italian or Japanese descent that led, in its most extreme form, to the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of whom were citizens. Germans managed to escape mass relocation but were subjected to internment and many restrictions.

In the case of Italians - the largest immigrant group in the country at the time - noncitizens were targeted. About 600,000 of the country's 5 million Italians had not been naturalized - for lack of time, language skills or any sense of urgency.

They were forced to register as enemy aliens, carry photo ID booklets and surrender flashlights, shortwave radios, guns, binoculars, cameras and other "contraband." There were FBI raids on private homes, arrests and detentions.

In California alone, said the 64-year-old DiStasi, a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, 10,000 were evacuated, mostly from coastal areas and sites near power plants, dams and military installations. Prohibited zones were created. And 257 people - 90 from the Golden State - were put in internment camps for up to two years.

Fishing boats were seized, and thousands of fishermen lost their jobs. In San Francisco, 1,500 were idled, including Joe DiMaggio's father. Another 52, 000 "enemy aliens" lived under nightly house

arrest, with a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Noncitizens could not travel more than 5 miles from home without a permit.

"A deliberate policy kept these measures from the public during the war," said the civil liberties act. "Even 50 years later much information is still classified, the full story remains unknown to the public, and it has never been acknowledged in any official capacity by the United States government."

Gladys Hansen, city historian of San Francisco, said she still knows nothing of the saga - except for vague memories of curfews and people "getting thrown out of Fisherman's Wharf."

"There's very little, when you come right down to it, about the Italians," said Hansen, 76, a native San Franciscan.

During a Justice Department hearing in Oakland in April - one of two in the United States this year - Chiedi echoed that assessment.

"We want to document that time in history through our report," she told the elderly Italians who had come to the Fratellanza Club to testify. "We're here today to say that it was wrong, that it was unjust."

All day long, old Italians told their stories to Chiedi and three colleagues from the same Justice Department that made their lives hell back in 1942. Chiedi admitted to feeling intense deadline pressure to deliver the report by Nov. 7. The date had the opposite effect on Anita Perata of San Jose.

"I'm kind of happy about that, because my birthday is in November. If I'm still around, I'll be 93," she said.

Perata, all dressed up and brimming with life, was accompanied by a son, a granddaughter, a 13-year-old great-granddaughter and a 14-year-old great- grandson.

"Even in the schools, people don't know," said Emily Michaels, of Saratoga, who listens attentively to her great-grandmother's tale.

Chiedi, meanwhile, scribbled it all down: The FBI picked up Anita's husband,

John Perata, at his San Jose appliance store, took him home in handcuffs to Campbell, turned mattresses over and took beds apart.

He was locked up in Sharp Park, an Immigration and Naturalization Service detention center in Pacifica, for two months. Oakland-born Anita Perata visited her husband once a week.

Their son, Saratoga resident Don Perata, 65, former chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, remembered only a few things: Getting off the school bus the day of the raid and seeing several large black cars in the driveway. Chatting with his father through a detention center fence on Easter Sunday.

"Sometimes I'd take the little one with us," said Anita Perata, mother of three. "We'd kind of straighten her up when we got out of the car and he'd be up at the window watching for us. We'd get up there, and he'd been crying when he saw what we'd been doing."

On the day John Perata was released, he came home on the streetcar.

"He was too embarrassed to have us take him home," his wife said.

DiStasi said business owners like Perata, community leaders, newspaper reporters,

radio broadcasters and other prominent people were among those targeted - anyone who might be suspected of propaganda and promoting fascism - along with the Ex-Combattenti, veterans who had fought for Italy during World War I.

Ironically, 500,000 Italian Americans were serving in the U.S. armed forces at the time of the crackdown - the largest ethnic group in the military. One serviceman returned from the war to find his family's home boarded up. One woman received an evacuation order the day after she learned her son and her nephew in the U.S. military had been killed at Pearl Harbor.

To win the legislation that Clinton signed on Nov. 7, DiStasi mounted an intense

nationwide lobbying effort by Italian Americans that can trace its roots to San Francisco, with the 1994 debut of "Una Storia Segreta," an exhibit he helped organize at the Museo Italo Americano.

The tattered display of artifacts and documents - which was supposed to have a one-month run - is still making the rounds, more than 40 towns and seven years later.

The exhibit also rated a mention in the civil liberties act. Besides ordering the Justice Department probe, the act says the president should acknowledge what happened, the government should open its files and federal agencies should pay for conferences, seminars, lectures and documentaries to bring the wartime saga out of the closet.

DiStasi, president of the American Italian Historical Association, Western Regional Chapter, has been researching the subject for years. The result is a book that has just come out: "Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II," published by Heyday Books in Berkeley.

Now DiStasi's organization is collaborating on an unprecedented joint exhibit with the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project and the National Japanese American Historical Society. The show, which opened Sept. 21 in Japantown and runs through Dec. 28, will detail the experiences of all three enemy alien groups.

For Italians, DiStasi said, the legacy of the wartime years continues to this day. The Italian language was one of the main casualties.

There is a government poster on his wall that was a familiar presence in 1942. "Don't speak the enemy's language," it warns, above a drawing of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito. "Speak American."

The children and grandchildren of the immigrants avoided this forbidden language, DiStasi said - one of many examples of a blossoming literary and artistic Italian American culture "iced," as he calls it, by the war.

DiStasi's friend Gian Banchero, 60, a writer, artist and chef from Berkeley,

"A lot of people from my folks' generation didn't want to talk about being Italian, about having Italian blood," said Banchero, leaning on his cane. "My father used to say, Gian, you're so lucky. You can pass for Irish.' "

It maddens Banchero, whose bedroom became the hiding place for his family's new Philco radio, that so few "enemy aliens" will admit they're angry, instead blaming themselves for not becoming citizens.

They worked hard to appear harmless, to blend in.

"Twenty years ago, there was an orchestra conductor at the Fratellanza Club - Buzzy Buzzerino," Banchero said. "I went up to him. Can you play an Italian song or two? Nah, we don't do that,' he said. Hey, isn't this an Italian club?' I asked him."

On the other hand, DiStasi said, many people have been "galvanized" by fresh indignation over old wounds and "it gets them active in other areas of their heritage." They become, in effect, born-again Italians.

Rose Scudero, 71, of Antioch, went to Washington twice to testify at House or Senate hearings on the legislation. She raised money to place a bronze plaque at the foot of Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg honoring the "enemy aliens. " And she speaks to historical societies, church groups, schools and Italian fraternal organizations. Schoolchildren are her best audience.

"They put themselves in my place," said Scudero, who at age 12 was among 1, 600 Pittsburg residents evacuated on Feb. 24, 1942.

"I tell them, Picture going home today and your mom tells you she got a letter from the government and because she isn't a citizen, she has to leave the house and your father and your siblings.' And you don't know where you're going or for how long. And they go Whoa.' They get the feel of it, and it scares them."

Scudero, graceful and relaxed, sat on her couch, under a large painting she has done of Aci Castello, her mother's village in Sicily. Her father was building Liberty ships at the Kaiser shipyard in Pittsburg, her two brothers were working at nearby Columbia Steel. Her two older sisters lived at home. But children under 14 had to go with their parents.

She and her mother ended up in Clayton Valley. They ate strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from fields left by the Japanese.

"I didn't think we'd be coming back," said Scudero, a widow with two children. "I gave my collection of fancy pins - the kind you'd put on your sweater, little angora kitty cats and that sort of thing - to my classmates. My favorite - wish I had it today - was two jitterbuggers above a phonograph record."

Later, they moved to downtown Concord. Her mother, lacking a radio, would put her daughter on the bus to Pittsburg in search of news. On Columbus Day, when the restrictions were lifted, Scudero ran through her neighborhood, knocking on doors. "You can go home now," she told them.

And on Oct. 24, 1942, they all did.

Despite their anguish, some of the elderly Italians whose lives were disrupted, insist that the government was justified in the context of the times - the United States and Italy were at war. Others counter with tales of absurdity.

Mary Sabatini said her mother - who moved to the United States in 1919 - was among 1,800 evacuated from Alameda.

Teresa Sabatini had Parkinson's disease and encephalitis and could not go out of the house alone. Nevertheless, being a noncitizen, she posed a risk, in the eyes of Lt. Gen. John DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command and architect of the wartime restrictions.

The Sabatinis had to leave Alameda. They moved to East Oakland, about 6 miles away.

"My mother didn't speak the language, wasn't well and was not going to bomb the Alameda Naval Air Station," said Mary Sabatini, 71, who had to catch a streetcar and two buses to reach her school - which was four blocks from her old house.

For most Italians, thanks partly to President Franklin Roosevelt's desire to hang on to their votes, the nightmare ended in October 1942. For Prospero Cecconi, it never really did.

A member of the Ex-Combattenti held in an Austrian POW camp during World War I, Cecconi arrived in the United States in 1924, said his daughter, Doris Giuliotti, 71, who lives in San Francisco's Marina District.

When he died 63 years later, Giuliotti found a small notebook among his belongings. It traces a journey from camp to camp, starting with his arrest at a North Beach macaroni factory through his internment at Fort Missoula, Mont.

The diary's entries are spare and intermittent,

alternating between English and Italian.

"I was arrested at 5 p.m. and took to the Immigration Station 108 Silver Ave.," he wrote on Feb. 21, 1942. Six days later, there were merely "Questions. " And on May 28, he "received prisoner clothing."

One entry, characteristically terse, is particularly poignant: "Morto il camarato Protto." His closest friend, fellow prisoner Giuseppe Protto, had died of a blood clot in the brain.

At that time, Cecconi's family was living in a small village in the Apennine mountains, having left their house and alterations shop in the Marina a few years before. They knew nothing - just that they had no money from America and no news about Prospero.

After the war, he went back to Italy, vowing to never return. And he never did, even when Doris moved to San Francisco in 1951.

"He said, No, they've humiliated me so much.' He told us all about it, down to the nitty-gritty," recalled his daughter, her blue eyes welling with tears.

For two years, Giuliotti tried to get her father's files from the government, last October finally asking Rep. Nancy Pelosi to help. A month later, 125 pages on Mr. Cecconi arrived, at a cost of $62.50.

"I would have paid $500 because I wanted to know what they said. My father died with a thorn in his heart, thinking of why they did that to him," Giuliotti said. "He was a very bitter man."

For others, the bitterness faded or never really took hold.

"My parents became good Americans," said Bronzini. "My mother's favorite song was The Star-Spangled Banner.' "

Scudero mirrored his words - her mother felt no outrage, just gratitude that she hadn't been deported or treated as badly as her Japanese neighbors.

"She loved this country, she loved Kate Smith, she'd sing God Bless America' every time she heard it on the radio," she said.

Still, Scudero is convinced history could repeat itself.

"It could happen again, to any nationality," she said. "Why not?"

Even those who lived through the crackdown on "enemy aliens" sometimes had no sense of its scope.

Only a few years ago, Castro Valley resident Al Bronzini discovered the mistreatment of Italians extended beyond the Oakland world of his childhood.

"I thought it was just an isolated thing," said Bronzini, a spirited and jocular man of 71. "How would I know? It's been a secret for 59 years. It just goes to show you they can keep secrets. Not atomic secrets or nuclear secrets, but these kind they keep. I knew about the Japanese because we had two Japanese kids in school, Suzy and Sugiyo Kato. They sat right behind me, and one day they're gone. They took them away because of the war, that's all they said, and I never saw them again.

"I made a sign for my desk, To hell with the Japs,' and the teacher gave me an A.' That was the climate. So you can imagine how people must have felt about Italians. We were the enemy, too, weren't we?"

The contradictions spill over Bronzini's dining room table, along with snapshots of the ancestral home in Tuscany and the tidy house in Oakland, his parents' passports and certificates bearing their names from Ellis Island's Immigrant Wall of Honor.

Like most "enemy aliens," Bronzini's family had been in the United States a long time.

His father had left a small town near Pisa in 1923, returning six years later to marry. By the time war broke out, Guido and Clara Bronzini had two sons, a thriving produce market, a new Pontiac and a home of their own in the Melrose District. They did not, however, have citizenship papers.

On a February 1942 evening, 13-year-old Al Bronzini was eating dinner when two police officers knocked at the door and confiscated the family's new Philco radio because of its shortwave band. Not long after, Guido Bronzini had to close his produce market because it was on the wrong side of the street - the west side of East 12th, a prohibited zone

because it was closer to the coast.

"The women from the neighborhood would huddle together, they'd all be in the kitchen talking and crying," Bronzini said. "They would soak the dish towels with tears."

A few weeks after resurrecting those memories, Bronzini took a "nostalgia walk" through one of his father's old haunts - the Oakland produce market near Jack London Square. He strolled past displays of tamarind pods, plantains, bok choy and tomatillos, shouting above the racket of forklifts and clamor in Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean and Chinese.

"My mother used to tell me how the fascisti police in Italy would come and kick the doors down if you were not willing to fly the fascist flag," he recalled. "That's why they were so terrified during World War II - they just came from a land where you had to do what the police said."

Afterward, the nostalgia tour headed south. Bronzini marveled at the number of Asian businesses along East 12th - "It's their turn," he said - before arriving at the spot where his father's market, the Fruitvale Banana Depot, once stood.

Now it's the Blue Bird auto body shop. Up the block, day laborers lined the street. Almost nothing was recognizable. No matter. Bronzini remembered it well.

"Across the street, we'd just sit in the truck. My father would park and gaze at his boarded-up building. He could drive north on East 12th because he was on the other side of the line, but on the way back he would have to take East 14th in order not to be in violation."

After losing the market, Bronzini's father worked in a machine shop, plucked chickens, hauled timber. His mother had a "total mental collapse" and was hospitalized two months in Livermore.

Bronzini said: "She used to repeat, over and over, 'Non e giusta. Non abbiamo fatto niente a nessuno.' (It isn't right. We haven't done anything to anyone.)"


Timeline of Related Events

Immigrants viewing Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island—National Archives Photo

1917-1918 The Passport Acts of February 5, 1917 and May 22, 1918 make entering the US without a passport or other travel documentation illegal.

1918 Codification of Alien Enemies Act of 1798, 50 U.S.C 21-24, permitting apprehension and internment of aliens of “enemy ancestry” by U.S. government upon declaration of war or threat of invasion. The President is given blanket authority as to “enemy alien” treatment. Civil liberties may be completely ignored because enemy aliens have no protection under this 200+-year-old law. Government oppression is likely during wartime.

1939-1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes creation of new secret intelligence agency to be deployed for espionage and counterespionage in the Latin America. Federal Bureau of Information (“FBI”) chief, J. Edgar Hoover, creates the Secret Intelligence Service in July 1940.

1936-1941 Various governmental bodies, such as the FBI, special intelligence agencies of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Army’s Military Intelligence Division compile lists of dangerous “enemy aliens” and citizens, including the FBI’s Custodial Detention Index (the “CDI”).

1940 The US census data includes specific listings and location of persons based on their ethnicity, which may have assisted the U.S. Government in later identification of “suspect” individuals of “enemy ancestry.” Secret Intelligence Service, charged to identify Latin American potential enemies secretly authorized by Roosevelt. J. Edgar Hoover officially creates S.I.S. July 1, 1940.

1940 Alien Registration Act of 1940 passed requiring all aliens 14 and older to register with the U.S. government.

1941 Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation 2497 setting forth the Proclaimed List of Certain Blocked Nationals following Britain’s example. The proclamation lists Axis citizens and businesses with which the U.S. could no longer deal.

Dec 7, 1941 Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. Pursuant to the Alien Enemy Act, Roosevelt issues identical Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527 branding German, Italian and Japanese nationals as enemy aliens, authorizing internment and travel and property ownership restrictions. A blanket presidential warrant authorizes U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle to have the FBI arrest a large number of “dangerous enemy aliens” based on the CDI. Hundreds of German aliens are arrested by the end of the day. The FBI raids many homes and detains many hundreds before war even declared on Germany. Martial law declared in Hawaii and hundreds of US citizens and aliens of German ancestry interned, as well as those of Italian and Japanese ancestry. By Dec. 10, 449 Japanese, German and Italian aliens were interned, as well as 43 German, Japanese and Italian American citizens.

Dec. 11, 1941 U.S. declares war on Germany and Italy.

Dec. 19, 1941 Executive Order 8985 establishes Office of Censorship.

Jan. 1942 Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 2525-2527 and 2537 (issued Jan.14, 1942), the Attorney General issues regulations requiring application for and issuance of certificates of identification to all “enemy aliens” aged 14 and older and outlining restrictions on their movement and property ownership rights. Approximately one million enemy aliens reregister, including 300,000 German-born aliens, the 2nd largest immigrant group at that time. Applications are forwarded to the DOJ’s Alien Registration Division and the FBI. Any change of address, employment or name must be reported to the FBI. Enemy aliens may not enter federally designated restricted areas. If enemy aliens violate these or other applicable regulations, they are subject to “arrest, detention and internment for the duration of the war.” (Department of Justice, 1942 Regulations for Enemy Aliens) U.S. Government seeks cancellation of citizenship in federal courts for “suspicious” naturalized citizens of “enemy ancestry.” Individuals frequently accused of fraudulently taking oath of citizenship which requires pledge of sole allegiance to the U.S. and renunciation of allegiance to all other countries. Once citizenship is cancelled, individuals can be interned or deported as “enemy aliens.”

Jan.-Feb. 1942 In cooperation with the military, the DOJ establishes numerous, small prohibited zones strictly forbidden to all enemy aliens. DOJ also establishes extensive “restricted areas” in which enemy aliens are subject to stringent curfew and travel restrictions, particularly on the West Coast.

Jan. 1942 Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense created at conference of Western Hemisphere countries in Rio de Janeiro to monitor “enemy aliens” in Latin America. Laws established similar to enemy alien laws in the US requiring aliens from Axis nations to register with their local authorities, restricting travel and personal property rights and subjecting the aliens to increased surveillance. Naturalization procedures slowed. Detention of “suspicious” enemy aliens urged. Cancellation of citizenship recommended for “suspicious” native-born or naturalized citizens from Axis nations. Once citizenship cancelled, detention as enemy alien possible.

Feb. 19, 1942 Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War to define military areas in which “the right of any person to enter, remain in or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions” are deemed necessary or desirable. This order applies to all “enemy” nationalities.

March 11, 1942 Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9095 establishing the Office of the Alien Property Custodian pursuant to authority granted under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. Pursuant to the order, the property interests of all foreign countries and their citizens vested in the Alien Property Custodian at his discretion until such time as he relinquished control of those interests. This Order created havoc in the lives of many internees and their families, particularly when the heads of households were arrested.

October 1942 Wartime restrictions on Italian Americans terminated.

Camp McCoy Overview, Traces Collection

1942 – 1943 The US Army and the DOJ establish and administer internment camps throughout the country. The Immigration and Naturalization Service operates the DOJ camps. The largest DOJ camps holding ethnic Germans are in Crystal City and Seagoville, Texas and Ft. Lincoln, ND. At least 50 temporary detention and long-term internment facilities are used throughout the US. Internees are transferred from camp to camp under armed guard, further disrupting their lives and making it even more difficult for their families to find them. Internment Camps

1942 U.S. Government initiates exchanges of approximately 2,650 internees for Americans held in Germany. Six exchange voyages carry many families to Germany, including American-born children and U.S. citizen spouses of German alien internees. As the war progresses, travel across the Atlantic is increasingly hazardous. Upon arrival in war-ravaged Germany, exchangees are unexpected and unwanted by their families. Many are suspected of being spies. Families with young children, some even born during the trip to Germany, have to make their own way to family homes through hazardous countryside, frequently in winter, carrying all their worldly belongings. Some men are beaten and arrested by the Gestapo as spies and put in camps, leaving families destitute again.

1942 The U.S. initiates a cooperative program whereby Latin American countries at U.S. direction capture German Latin Americans, including German and Austrian Jews who had fled persecution. Under U.S. military guard, most prisoners are shipped to the U.S. in the dark, dank holds of boats and rarely permitted on deck. Open bucket latrines are placed among the prisoners. No one informs them why or where they are going. They are interned and many are forcibly shipped to Germany. General George Marshall states in a 12/12/42 memo to the Caribbean Defense Command: “These interned nationals are to be used for exchange with interned American civilian nationals.” By the end of the war, over 4,050 German Latin Americans are brought to American internment camps. White-Lafoon memo, 30 Jan 1946

1943 Emergency Advisory Committee adopts U.S. Department of Justice/State Department resolutions to allow U.S. to provide detention accommodations and shipping expenses for Latin Axis nationals to the U.S., a process already underway for the past eighteen months.

Food? We Germans don’t eat food! We Germans eat countries!, October 7, 1942, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons. Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library

1942 – 1945 Thousands of German aliens and German Americans are arrested, interned, excluded, paroled, exchanged and generally harassed by a suspicious country. Few know why they are interned or for how long. Internees try to make lives in camps, attempting to ignore the psychological and physical upheaval to which they have been subjected. Mental anguish, anger, guilt and shame are common. Armed guards and guard dogs watch over internees living in huts or dorms in barren parts of the country surrounded by barbed wire, observed from guard towers. All mail is censored. Contact with the outside world is severely limited. Many continually appeal their internment orders. DOJ generally ignores their requests, requiring unobtainable “new evidence” for consideration of appeals. Some are granted rehearings, pursuant to which an even smaller number are released. Released internees do not know why or ever learn why they were interned. Those released are generally subject to parole restrictions. Many internees are pressured to repatriate. Hopeless and bitter, many agree and are readily used for exchange. Some are exchanged against their will. There were six exchanges with Germany, primarily of civilians, but also of POWs. One trip of the SS Gripsholm in January 1945 involves 1,000 exchangees. The government arranges for “trustworthy” able-bodied men to work outside camps. One group works on the Northern Pacific Railroad in North Dakota repairing the railroad tracks and living in boxcars with coal stoves throughout the winter. Others work for the Forest Service and 3M.

May 7, 1945 Germany surrenders.

July 1945 Truman issues Presidential Proclamation 2655 authorizing the U.S. to deport all enemy aliens deemed “to be dangerous to the public peace and safety of the United States.” This affects hundreds, if not thousands, of internees who remain imprisoned indefinitely.

Aug. 14, 1945 Japan surrenders.

Sept. 8, 1945 President Harry S Truman issues Presidential Proclamation 2662 authorizing the U.S. Secretary of State to order the repatriation of dangerous enemy aliens deported from Latin American countries during the war. Latin American Program

16 Jan 1945—”About 900 German civilian internees in the U.S. and Mexico will be exchanged for the same number of nationals of the North, Central and South American States.” (Courtesy Cornelia Mueller)

November 1945 Many internees are released from camps and parole limitations for most persons are terminated. Internment camps are progressively closed and remaining internees are eventually consolidated at Crystal City and Ellis Island. Some internees continue to be sent on prisoner exchanges.

April 10, 1946 President Harry S Truman issues Presidential Proclamation 2685, superseding Presidential Proclamation 2662, reauthorizing the U.S. Secretary of State to order the repatriation of dangerous enemy aliens deported from Latin American countries during the war and deemed 30 days as a sufficient period for deportees to get their affairs in order for deportation. Latin American Program.

Late 1947 Crystal City family camp closes. Those still imprisoned, exclusively German internees and their families, are transferred to cramped Ellis Island where others are held. Virtually all are of German ancestry. Over the next year, many additional persons are returned to Germany. Others are paroled or unconditionally released to return to their homes. The barbed wire exercise areas overlook the Statute of Liberty. The captives contest repatriation and deportation by pooling their limited funds to finance appeals in court.

July 1947 S. 1749 introduced by Sen. William Langer of North Dakota for “the release of all persons detained as enemy aliens.” The bill did not pass, but the internees got a voice in Congress and the legislation gave them hope.

June 21, 1948 In its 5-4 Ludecke v. Watkins decision, the Supreme Court tacitly upholds the Alien Enemies Act by denying the writ of habeas corpus for release from detention sought by German internee, Karl Ludecke, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 2655. Mr. Ludecke had been interned since December 1941 and was resisting deportation.

August 1948 Due in large part to Senator Langer’s efforts, among others, the last person, a German internee, is finally released from Ellis Island, almost three and a half years after cessation of hostilities with Germany. No internee was ever convicted of a war-related crime against the United States. Upon release, most adult internees sign secrecy oaths many are threatened with deportation with no prospect of return if they speak of their ordeal. Most internees, always fearful, take the secret to their graves. Camp employees also sign oath of secrecy. The secret is well kept. Few today know of selective internment.

Internees and excludees return home to suspicious communities, some have been interned 6-7 years. Children do not remember life without barbed wire. Homes and livelihoods are lost. Reputations destroyed. No safety net protects them. They confront feelings of confusion, anger, resentment, bitterness, guilt and shame. They try to understand what happened and repair broken lives. The experience scarred families forever. Those exchanged to Germany struggled to survive in the extremely difficult postwar years. Some exchangees returned to the U.S. years later. Frequently, American-born children left their families behind in Germany in order to do so. Many never were allowed to return. Others, embittered by what they perceived as America’s betrayal, never wanted to come back. Some repatriates had been returned to Soviet-occupied eastern Germany or died directly due to deportation.

1980 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (“CWRIC”) created. Focused primarily on the relocation of Japanese and Japanese Americans, the CWRIC did not allow German Americans or other European Americans to testify or offer written testimony on their wartime experiences. The final report, Personal Justice Denied, focuses primarily on German American individual and group exclusion issues under Executive Order 9066. It identifies only 4 DOJ internment camps. The tribulations of German internment are barely reviewed. The CWRIC asserts that the minimal hearing process afforded by the DOJ to enemy aliens is sufficient “rough fairness” under the circumstances. The CWRIC is wrong. Lacking sufficient due process protections, this “rough fairness” frequently resulted in unjustified, painful years of captivity, exchange and property loss for thousands.

1988-present Civil Liberties Act of 1988 passed solely giving redress to and acknowledging injustices to Japanese Americans and Aleuts. No German American or other affected European American allowed to give oral or written testimony on their wartime experience during congressional hearings. Civil Liberties Education Fund established to fund projects relating to public education regarding the Japanese American experience. National Park Service study funded to designate Japanese relocation camps administered by the WRA as national historic landmarks. In January 1999, the U.S. settles Mochizuki class action agreeing to monetary redress of $5,000 and a presidential apology for Japanese Latin Americans. In November 2000, the Wartime Violations of Italian American Civil Liberties Act signed into law recognizing only the government’s wrongful denial of Italian American civil liberties. In February 2005, Wartime Parity and Justice Act introduced for third time to provide for the inclusion of Japanese Latin Americans in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, among other things.

March 4, 2004 U.S. House of Representatives passes HR 56, originally introduced by Michael Honda (D-CA) supporting the goals of the Japanese American, German American, and Italian American communities in recognizing a National Day of Remembrance to increase public awareness of the events surrounding the restriction, exclusion, and internment of individuals and families during World War II. Companion Senate Resolution did not come to a vote. Only adopted federal legislation to date acknowledging German American WWII internment experience.

November 16, 2005 U.S. House of Representatives passes HR 1492 to provide for the preservation of historic confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II and setting aside $38 million for this purpose. German and Italian Americans and Latin Americans and Japanese Latin Americans who were detained at many of the same DOJ internment facilities as Japanese Americans are not included in bill. The companion bill, S. 1719, is pending before U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

June 30, 2005 The Wartime Treatment Study Act (“WSTA”) is introduced in Congress for a third time. Two previous attempts at passage fail to clear procedural hurdles. The legislation would establish a long overdue commission to study the wartime treatment of Germans and Italians during World War II. Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the legislation in Senate as S. 1354 and Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) introduced measure in House as HR 3198. On Nov. 17, 2005, the WSTA was voted favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but died at the end of the Congress without coming to a final vote in the House and the Senate.

March 10, 2009- present The Wartime Treatment Study Act is introduced for the fourth time on March 10, 2009, at the beginning of the 111th Congress. On October 21, 2009, it is reported favorably out of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it never comes to a vote in either the House of Representatives or the Senate and dies once again at the end of that Congress in December 2010. It has not been reintroduced, primarily due to Sen. Feingold’s loss of his Senate seat in the November 2010 elections. Reintroduction is not anticipated at this time, leaving German Americans and Latin Americans the only group of WW II civilian internees unacknowledged by the US government.


Remember how FDR vilified Italian-Americans during WWII when considering Trump’s Muslim ban

President Trump's immigration executive order smacks of bigotry wrapped in a mystery inside a fiasco. But the 45th President of the United States isn't the only chief executive to run roughshod over America's tradition of civil liberties.

February 19, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt's infamous Executive Order 9066. With the nation at war against the Axis powers — and still reeling from Pearl Harbor — FDR promulgated a directive that branded 600,000 Americans of Italian descent "enemy aliens." Over 10,000 on the West Coast were forced to relocate.

More than 250 were placed in internment camps in Georgia, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Joe DiMaggio's father could not visit his son's restaurant in San Francisco. In New York, opera star Ezio Pinza was arrested.

Italian-American homes and businesses were confiscated property was seized newspapers ceased publishing and draconian curfews were established. Fishermen were not permitted to sail their boats and earn a livelihood. Four Italian-Americans committed suicide.

But this wasn't the only chapter of anti-Italian intolerance in American history.

In the 19th century, the Know-Nothings targeted Roman Catholic immigrants from Italy as undesirable foreigners. And Italian-Americans endured persecution at the hands of a benighted nativist horde. On March 14, 1891, the city of New Orleans became a charnel house as eleven innocent Italian-Americans were wantonly slaughtered by a lynch mob numbering nearly 20,000.

It was the largest mass lynching in U.S. history.

A savage rabble fired shotgun blasts indiscriminately, tore bodies limb from limb and smashed human skulls with glee. Genteel Southern belles in search of souvenirs dipped their lace handkerchiefs in the blood of the butchered Italians.

The New Orleans massacre was so horrific that President Benjamin Harrison paid reparations of $25,000 to the Italian government.

In his landmark book "Vendetta," Professor Richard Gambino states that between 1870 and 1940, "Italians were second only to blacks in numbers of lynch victims." And this murderous contagion spread to other states.

In her documentary "Linciati: Lynchings of Italians in America," filmmaker Heather Hartley cites 50 other slaughters of Italians in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Washington, and New York between 1885 and 1915. "The more I looked, the more I uncovered," said Hartley.

Donald Trump in the White House

In "Guns, Goats and Italians: The Tallulah Lynching of 1899," Edward F. Haas quotes The Daily States in recounting the carnage: "the crowd found a device used to hoist dead cattle for skinning. Its upright posts and crossbar made an excellent makeshift gallows, a function that it had previously served. The mob first dispatched Joseph Defatta. Fifteen minutes later, "Charles was served in a similar manner . "


Front page of the Asbury Park Press on March 4, 1942, after the FBI raided homes and businesses of Japanese, German and Italian citizens. (Photo: Asbury Park Press archives)

Seventy-five years ago this month, all Japanese, German and Italian citizens who were legal residents of the United States were given 19 days to report to their local post offices and register as "enemy aliens."

America had been at war for less than two months in February 1942 when Gov. Charles Edison "directed and warned" those immigrants living in New Jersey, to comply with the executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt a few weeks earlier. Ultimately, the registration would lead to the internment of Japanese-Americans.

Compliance with the order meant that Japanese, German and Italian nationals who were 14-years-old and over had to apply for certificates of identification administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. Three decades earlier, a similar program had been implemented during World War I. Any enemy alien who did not apply for an identification certificate by the close of business on Feb. 28, 1942, faced the threat of internment for the duration of the war.

Upon registration, restrictions were placed on their individual freedoms and the Roosevelt administration established exclusion zones where Japanese, Germans and Italians were prohibited from going. These were usually areas in close proximity to military installations or deemed off limits for other reasons of national security.

On March 3, 1942, three days after the registration deadline, "large squads of federal, state, county and local police made 19 surprise raids on the homes and businesses of some of these enemy aliens in six Monmouth County municipalities," the Asbury Park Press reported on its front page the next day.

In the early weeks of 1942, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a notice to all residents of the United States who were Japanese, German or Italian citizens, ordering them to register as "enemy aliens." (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Records)

The raids had taken place in Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Neptune, Deal, Red Bank and West Long Branch. The Press reported that it was the second time in a month that the FBI had taken such action against enemy aliens who had been under the agency's surveillance. Previously, law enforcement officers had executed raids on Feb. 11, 1942, in Middletown, Oceanport and Red Bank, resulting in two arrests.

This time, 10 Germans, five Italians and four Japanese nationals were the targets. "Six or eight dangerous enemy aliens" were taken into custody and transported to a detention facility at Ellis Island, the Press reported.

"Most of those arrested, the Newark field office of the FBI said, have been seen 'in and around' Fort Hancock and Fort Monmouth, the two large military reservations in the county," the article stated.

During the raids, specific personal belongings were seized that such immigrants were not permitted to have in their possession. The items that were confiscated included nine pairs of binoculars, three bayonets, one sword, one dagger, five revolvers, three shotguns, two rifles, five still cameras, two motion picture cameras, 16 mm film projectors, several swastika jewels, three short-wave radio receivers and broadcasting sets, several maps of the coastal area, and personal letters written in the native languages of the immigrants.

"Enemy aliens were ordered by President Roosevelt upon the outbreak of the war to surrender to their local police all cameras, firearms and radios that receive or send short-wave signals," the Press reported.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kennedy, David. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. Oxford, U.K. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980 1982.

Luebke, Frederick C. Bonds of Loyalty: German-Americans and World War I. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1974.

Murphy, Paul L. World War I and the Origin of Civil Liberties in the United States. New York: Norton, 1979.

Preston, William. Aliens and Dissenters: Federal Suppression of Radicals, 1903–1933. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962 Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Takaki, Ronald. Strangers From a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989 New York: Penguin Books, 1990 Boston: Little, Brown, 1998.


1. “Internment” vs. “Incarceration”

What most people don’t realize is that the term “internment” has a very specific meaning. It only refers to the confinement or impounding of “enemy aliens” during a time of war. “Internment” does not refer to the imprisonment of our own citizens. Of the 120,000 who were imprisoned, about 80,000 were indeed American citizens by birthright, while the other roughly 40,000 were barred from citizenship until the law changed in 1952.

“Incarceration” correctly refers to the imprisonment of all 120,000 Japanese Americans who were affected by Executive Order 9066. This correctly acknowledges that these people were mostly citizens, and does not portray them as “enemy aliens.”


Contents

Japanese Americans before World War II Edit

Due in large part to socio-political changes stemming from the Meiji Restoration—and a recession which was caused by the abrupt opening of Japan's economy to the world economy—people began emigrating from the Empire of Japan in 1868 in order to find work which would enable them to survive. [32] From 1869 to 1924 approximately 200,000 immigrated to the islands of Hawaii, mostly laborers expecting to work on the islands' sugar plantations. Some 180,000 went to the U.S. mainland, with the majority settling on the West Coast and establishing farms or small businesses. [21] Most arrived before 1908, when the Gentlemen's Agreement between Japan and the United States banned the immigration of unskilled laborers. A loophole allowed the wives of men who were already living in the US to join their husbands. The practice of women marrying by proxy and immigrating to the U.S. resulted in a large increase in the number of "picture brides." [32] [33]

As the Japanese-American population continued to grow, European Americans who lived on the West Coast resisted the arrival of this new ethnic group, fearing competition and making the exaggerated claim that hordes of Asians were keen to take over white-owned farmland and businesses. Groups such as the Asiatic Exclusion League, the California Joint Immigration Committee, and the Native Sons of the Golden West organized in response to the rise of this "Yellow Peril." They successfully lobbied to restrict the property and citizenship rights of Japanese immigrants, just as similar groups had previously organized against Chinese immigrants. [34] Several laws and treaties attempting to slow immigration from Japan were introduced beginning in the late 19th century. The Immigration Act of 1924, following the example of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, effectively banned all immigration from Japan and other "undesirable" Asian countries.

The 1924 ban on immigration produced unusually well-defined generational groups within the Japanese-American community. The Issei were exclusively those who had immigrated before 1924 some desired to return to their homeland. Because no new immigration was permitted, all Japanese Americans born after 1924 were, by definition, born in the U.S. and automatically U.S. citizens. This Nisei generation were a distinct cohort from their parents. In addition to the usual generational differences, Issei men had been typically ten to fifteen years older than their wives, making them significantly older than the younger children of their often large families. [33] U.S. law prohibited Japanese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens, making them dependent on their children to rent or purchase property. Communication between English-speaking children and parents who spoke mostly or completely in Japanese was often difficult. A significant number of older Nisei, many of whom were born prior to the immigration ban, had married and already started families of their own by the time the US joined World War II. [35]

Despite racist legislation that prevented Issei from becoming naturalized citizens (and therefore from owning property, voting, or running for political office), these Japanese immigrants established communities in their new hometowns. Japanese Americans contributed to the agriculture of California and other Western states, by introducing irrigation methods that enabled the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and flowers on previously inhospitable land. [36]

In both rural and urban areas, kenjinkai, community groups for immigrants from the same Japanese prefecture, and fujinkai, Buddhist women's associations, organized community events and charitable work, provided loans and financial assistance and built Japanese language schools for their children. Excluded from setting up shop in white neighborhoods, nikkei-owned small businesses thrived in the Nihonmachi, or Japantowns of urban centers, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. [ citation needed ]

In the 1930s the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), concerned by Imperial Japan's rising military power in Asia, began conducting surveillance on Japanese-American communities in Hawaii. From 1936, at the behest of President Roosevelt, the ONI began compiling a "special list of those who would be the first to be placed in a concentration camp in the event of trouble" between Japan and the United States. In 1939, again by order of the President, the ONI, Military Intelligence Division, and FBI began working together to compile a larger Custodial Detention Index. [37] Early in 1941, Roosevelt commissioned Curtis Munson to conduct an investigation on Japanese Americans living on the West Coast and in Hawaii. After working with FBI and ONI officials and interviewing Japanese Americans and those familiar with them, Munson determined that the "Japanese problem" was nonexistent. His final report to the President, submitted November 7, 1941, "certified a remarkable, even extraordinary degree of loyalty among this generally suspect ethnic group." [38] A subsequent report by Kenneth Ringle (ONI), delivered to the President in January 1942, also found little evidence to support claims of Japanese-American disloyalty and argued against mass incarceration. [39]

After Pearl Harbor Edit

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, led military and political leaders to suspect that Imperial Japan was preparing a full-scale invasion of Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. [40] Due to Japan's rapid military conquest of a large portion of Asia and the Pacific including a small portion of the U.S. West Coast (i.e., Aleutian Islands Campaign) between 1937 and 1942, some Americans [ who? ] feared that its military forces were unstoppable.

American public opinion initially stood by the large population of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast, with the Los Angeles Times characterizing them as "good Americans, born and educated as such." Many Americans believed that their loyalty to the United States was unquestionable. [41] However, six weeks after the attack, public opinion along the Pacific began to turn against Japanese Americans living on the West Coast, as the press and other Americans [ citation needed ] became nervous about the potential for fifth column activity. Though the administration (including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover) dismissed all rumors of Japanese-American espionage on behalf of the Japanese war effort, pressure mounted upon the administration as the tide of public opinion turned against Japanese Americans. Although the impact on US authorities is controversial, the Niihau incident immediately followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, when Ishimatsu Shintani, an Issei, and Yoshio Harada, a Nisei, and his Issei wife Irene Harada on the island of Ni'ihau violently freed a downed and captured Japanese naval airman, attacking their fellow Ni'ihau islanders in the process. [42]

Several concerns over the loyalty of ethnic Japanese seemed to stem from racial prejudice rather than any evidence of malfeasance. The Roberts Commission report, which investigated the Pearl Harbor attack, was released on January 25 and accused persons of Japanese ancestry of espionage leading up to the attack. [43] Although the report's key finding was that General Walter Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel had been derelict in their duties during the attack on Pearl Harbor, one passage made vague reference to "Japanese consular agents and other. persons having no open relations with the Japanese foreign service" transmitting information to Japan. It was unlikely that these "spies" were Japanese American, as Japanese intelligence agents were distrustful of their American counterparts and preferred to recruit "white persons and Negroes." [44] However, despite the fact that the report made no mention of Americans of Japanese ancestry, national and West Coast media nevertheless used the report to vilify Japanese Americans and inflame public opinion against them. [45]

Major Karl Bendetsen and Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, each questioned Japanese-American loyalty. DeWitt said:

The fact that nothing has happened so far is more or less . . . ominous, in that I feel that in view of the fact that we have had no sporadic attempts at sabotage that there is a control being exercised and when we have it it will be on a mass basis. [43]

He further stated in a conversation with California's governor, Culbert L. Olson,

There's a tremendous volume of public opinion now developing against the Japanese of all classes, that is aliens and non-aliens, to get them off the land, and in Southern California around Los Angeles—in that area too—they want and they are bringing pressure on the government to move all the Japanese out. As a matter of fact, it's not being instigated or developed by people who are not thinking but by the best people of California. Since the publication of the Roberts Report they feel that they are living in the midst of a lot of enemies. They don't trust the Japanese, none of them. [43]

DeWitt, who administered the internment program, repeatedly told newspapers that "A Jap's a Jap" and testified to Congress,

I don't want any of them [persons of Japanese ancestry] here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty. It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty. But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map. [46] [47]

DeWitt also sought approval to conduct search and seizure operations aimed at preventing alien Japanese from making radio transmissions to Japanese ships. [48] The Justice Department declined, stating that there was no probable cause to support DeWitt's assertion, as the FBI concluded that there was no security threat. [48] On January 2, the Joint Immigration Committee of the California Legislature sent a manifesto to California newspapers which attacked "the ethnic Japanese," who it alleged were "totally unassimilable." [48] This manifesto further argued that all people of Japanese heritage were loyal subjects of the Emperor of Japan the manifesto contended that Japanese language schools were bastions of racism which advanced doctrines of Japanese racial superiority. [48]

The manifesto was backed by the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West and the California Department of the American Legion, which in January demanded that all Japanese with dual citizenship be placed in concentration camps. [48] By February, Earl Warren, the Attorney General of California (and a future Chief Justice of the United States), had begun his efforts to persuade the federal government to remove all people of Japanese ethnicity from the West Coast. [48]

Those who were as little as 1 ⁄ 16 Japanese could be placed in internment camps. [49] Bendetsen, promoted to colonel, said in 1942, "I am determined that if they have one drop of Japanese blood in them, they must go to camp." [14]

Upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor and pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act, Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527 were issued designating Japanese, German and Italian nationals as enemy aliens. [50] Information gathered by US officials over the previous decade was used to locate and incarcerate thousands of Japanese-American community leaders in the days immediately following Pearl Harbor (see section elsewhere in this article "Other concentration camps"). In Hawaii, under the auspices of martial law, both "enemy aliens" and citizens of Japanese and "German" descent were arrested and interned. [51]

Presidential Proclamation 2537 (codified at 7 Fed. Reg. 329) was issued on January 14, 1942, requiring "alien enemies" to obtain a certificate of identification and carry it "at all times". [52] Enemy aliens were not allowed to enter restricted areas. [52] Violators of these regulations were subject to "arrest, detention and internment for the duration of the war." [52]

On February 13, the Pacific Coast Congressional subcommittee on aliens and sabotage recommended to the President immediate evacuation of "all persons of Japanese lineage and all others, aliens and citizens alike" who were thought to be dangerous from "strategic areas," further specifying that these included the entire "strategic area" of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. On February 16 the President tasked Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson with replying. A conference on February 17 of Secretary Stimson with assistant secretary John J. McCloy, Provost Marshal General Allen W. Gullion, Deputy chief of Army Ground Forces Mark W. Clark, and Colonel Bendetsen decided that General DeWitt should be directed to commence evacuations "to the extent he deemed necessary" to protect vital installations. [53]

Executive Order 9066 and related actions Edit

Executive Order 9066, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized military commanders to designate "military areas" at their discretion, "from which any or all persons may be excluded." These "exclusion zones," unlike the "alien enemy" roundups, were applicable to anyone that an authorized military commander might choose, whether citizen or non-citizen. Eventually such zones would include parts of both the East and West Coasts, totaling about 1/3 of the country by area. Unlike the subsequent deportation and incarceration programs that would come to be applied to large numbers of Japanese Americans, detentions and restrictions directly under this Individual Exclusion Program were placed primarily on individuals of German or Italian ancestry, including American citizens. [54]

On March 2, 1942, General John DeWitt, commanding general of the Western Defense Command, publicly announced the creation of two military restricted zones. [55] Military Area No. 1 consisted of the southern half of Arizona and the western half of California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as all of California south of Los Angeles. Military Area No. 2 covered the rest of those states. DeWitt's proclamation informed Japanese Americans they would be required to leave Military Area 1, but stated that they could remain in the second restricted zone. [56] Removal from Military Area No. 1 initially occurred through "voluntary evacuation." [20] Japanese Americans were free to go anywhere outside of the exclusion zone or inside Area 2, with arrangements and costs of relocation to be borne by the individuals. The policy was short-lived DeWitt issued another proclamation on March 27 that prohibited Japanese Americans from leaving Area 1. [55] A night-time curfew, also initiated on March 27, 1942, placed further restrictions on the movements and daily lives of Japanese Americans. [18] [ page needed ]

Included in the forced removal was Alaska, which, like Hawaii, was an incorporated U.S. territory located in the northwest extremity of the continental United States. Unlike the rest of the West Coast, Alaska was not subject to any exclusion zones due to its small Japanese population. Nevertheless, the Western Defense Command announced in April 1942 that all Japanese people and Americans of Japanese ancestry were to leave the territory for internment camps inland. By the end of the month, over 200 Japanese residents regardless of citizenship were exiled from Alaska, most of them ended up at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Southern Idaho. [57]

Eviction from the West Coast began on March 24, 1942, with Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1, which gave the 227 Japanese American residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington six days to prepare for their "evacuation" directly to Manzanar. [58] Colorado governor Ralph Lawrence Carr was the only elected official to publicly denounce the internment of American citizens (an act that cost his reelection, but gained him the gratitude of the Japanese American community, such that a statue of him was erected in the Denver Japantown's Sakura Square). [59] A total of 108 exclusion orders issued by the Western Defense Command over the next five months completed the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in August 1942. [60]

In addition to imprisoning those of Japanese descent in the US, the US also interned Japanese (and Germans and Italians) deported from Latin America. Thirteen Latin American countries—Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru—cooperated with the US by apprehending, detaining and deporting to the US 2,264 Japanese Latin American citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry. [61] [62]

Non-military advocates for exclusion, removal, and detention Edit

The deportation and incarceration were popular among many white farmers who resented the Japanese American farmers. "White American farmers admitted that their self-interest required removal of the Japanese." [48] These individuals saw internment as a convenient means of uprooting their Japanese-American competitors. Austin E. Anson, managing secretary of the Salinas Vegetable Grower-Shipper Association, told the Saturday Evening Post in 1942:

We're charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish reasons. We do. It's a question of whether the White man lives on the Pacific Coast or the brown men. They came into this valley to work, and they stayed to take over. If all the Japs were removed tomorrow, we'd never miss them in two weeks because the White farmers can take over and produce everything the Jap grows. And we do not want them back when the war ends, either. [63]

The Roberts Commission Report, prepared at President Franklin D. Roosevelt's request, has been cited as an example of the fear and prejudice informing the thinking behind the internment program. [48] The Report sought to link Japanese Americans with espionage activity, and to associate them with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. [48] Columnist Henry McLemore, who wrote for the Hearst newspapers, reflected the growing public sentiment that was fueled by this report:

I am for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don't mean a nice part of the interior either. Herd 'em up, pack 'em off, and give 'em the inside room in the badlands. Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them. [64]

Other California newspapers also embraced this view. According to a Los Angeles Times editorial,

A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched. So, a Japanese American born of Japanese parents, nurtured upon Japanese traditions, living in a transplanted Japanese atmosphere. notwithstanding his nominal brand of accidental citizenship almost inevitably and with the rarest exceptions grows up to be a Japanese, and not an American. Thus, while it might cause injustice to a few to treat them all as potential enemies, I cannot escape the conclusion. that such treatment. should be accorded to each and all of them while we are at war with their race. [65]

State politicians joined the bandwagon that was embraced by Leland Ford of Los Angeles, who demanded that "all Japanese, whether citizens or not, be placed in [inland] concentration camps." [48]

Incarceration of Japanese Americans, who provided critical agricultural labor on the West Coast, created a labor shortage which was exacerbated by the induction of many white American laborers into the Armed Forces. This vacuum precipitated a mass immigration of Mexican workers into the United States to fill these jobs, [66] under the banner of what became known as the Bracero Program. Many Japanese internees were temporarily released from their camps – for instance, to harvest Western beet crops – to address this wartime labor shortage. [67]

Non-military advocates against exclusion, removal, and detention Edit

Like many white American farmers, the white businessmen of Hawaii had their own motives for determining how to deal with the Japanese Americans, but they opposed internment. Instead, these individuals gained passage of legislation to retain in freedom the nearly 150,000 Japanese Americans who would have been otherwise sent to internment camps within Hawaii. [68] As a result, only 1,200 [10] to 1,800 Japanese Americans in Hawaii were interned.

The powerful businessmen of Hawaii concluded that imprisonment of such a large proportion of the islands' population would adversely affect the economic prosperity of the territory. [69] The Japanese represented "over 90 percent of the carpenters, nearly all of the transportation workers, and a significant portion of the agricultural laborers" on the islands. [69] General Delos Carleton Emmons, the military governor of Hawaii, also argued that Japanese labor was "'absolutely essential' for rebuilding the defenses destroyed at Pearl Harbor." [69] Recognizing the Japanese-American community's contribution to the affluence of the Hawaiian economy, General Emmons fought against the internment of the Japanese Americans and had the support of most of the businessmen of Hawaii. [69] By comparison, Idaho governor Chase A. Clark, in a Lions Club speech on May 22, 1942, said "Japs live like rats, breed like rats and act like rats. We don't want them . permanently located in our state." [70]

Oregon's governor Charles A. Sprague was initially opposed to the internment, choosing to not enforce it in the state and encouraging residents to not harass their fellow citizens, the Nisei. He turned against the Japanese by mid-February 1942, days before the executive order, but regretted and tried to atone for this decision for the rest of his life. [71]

Coming to different conclusions about how to deal with the Japanese-American community, both the white farmers of the continental United States and the white businessmen of Hawaii placed priority on protecting their own economic interests.

Though internment was a generally popular policy in California, support was not universal. R.C. Hoiles, publisher of the Orange County Register, argued during the war that the internment was unethical and unconstitutional:

It would seem that convicting people of disloyalty to our country without having specific evidence against them is too foreign to our way of life and too close akin to the kind of government we are fighting…. We must realize, as Henry Emerson Fosdick so wisely said, 'Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.' [72]

Members of some Christian religious groups, particularly those who had formerly sent missionaries to Japan, were among the most tireless opponents of the internment policy. Some Baptist and Methodist churches, among others, also organized relief efforts to the camps, supplying internees with supplies and information. [73]

Statement of military necessity as justification for internment Edit

Niihau Incident Edit

The Niihau Incident occurred in December 1941, just after the Imperial Japanese Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor. The Imperial Japanese Navy had designated the Hawaiian island of Niihau as an uninhabited island for damaged aircraft to land and await rescue. Three Japanese Americans on Niihau assisted a Japanese pilot, Shigenori Nishikaichi, who crashed there. Despite the incident, the Territorial Governor of Hawaii Joseph Poindexter rejected calls for the mass internment of the Japanese Americans living there. [74]

Cryptography Edit

In Magic: The Untold Story of U.S. Intelligence and the Evacuation of Japanese Residents From the West Coast During World War II, David Lowman, a former National Security Agency (NSA) operative, argues that Magic ("Magic" was the code-name for American code-breaking efforts) intercepts posed "frightening specter of massive espionage nets", thus justifying internment. [75] Lowman contended that incarceration served to ensure the secrecy of U.S. code-breaking efforts, because effective prosecution of Japanese Americans might necessitate disclosure of secret information. If U.S. code-breaking technology was revealed in the context of trials of individual spies, the Japanese Imperial Navy would change its codes, thus undermining U.S. strategic wartime advantage.

Some scholars have criticized or dismissed Lowman's reasoning that "disloyalty" among some individual Japanese Americans could legitimize "incarcerating 120,000 people, including infants, the elderly, and the mentally ill". [76] [77] [78] Lowman's reading of the contents of the Magic cables has also been challenged, as some scholars contend that the cables demonstrate that Japanese Americans were not heeding the overtures of Imperial Japan to spy against the United States. [79] According to one critic, Lowman's book has long since been "refuted and discredited". [80]

The controversial conclusions drawn by Lowman were defended by conservative commentator Michelle Malkin in her book In Defense of Internment The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror (2004). [81] Malkin's defense of Japanese internment was due in part to reaction to what she describes as the "constant alarmism from Bush-bashers who argue that every counter-terror measure in America is tantamount to the internment". [82] She criticized academia's treatment of the subject, and suggested that academics critical of Japanese internment had ulterior motives. Her book was widely criticized, particularly with regard to her reading of the "Magic" cables. [83] [84] [85] Daniel Pipes, also drawing on Lowman, has defended Malkin, and said that Japanese American internment was "a good idea" which offers "lessons for today". [86]

Black reaction to Japanese-American Internment Edit

Despite the admitted overarching support for Japanese-American internment by the American public, there remained seldom opposition to the measures, particularly from minority groups who had felt equally chastised within America. Morton Grodzins writes that "The sentiment against Japanese was not far removed from (and was interchangeable with) sentiments against Negroes and Jews." [87] This led to the NAACP and the NCJW speaking out on occasion. This sort of rhetoric has led modern Japanese-Americans to support the HR-40 bill in large quantities, a bill which calls for reparations to Black people affected by slavery and consequent discrimination. [88] Cheryl Greenberg adds "Not all Americans endorsed such racism. Two similarly oppressed groups, African Americans and Jewish Americans, had already organized to fight discrimination and bigotry." However, due to the justification of concentration camps by the US government, "few seemed tactile to endorse the evacuation most did not even discuss it." Greenberg argues this was because the government rhetoric at the time hid motivations behind a guise of military necessity, and a fear of seeming "un-American" led to the silencing of most civil rights groups until years into the policy. [89]

United States District Court opinions Edit

A letter by General DeWitt and Colonel Bendetsen expressing racist bias against Japanese Americans was circulated and then hastily redacted in 1943–1944. DeWitt's final report stated that, because of their race, it was impossible to determine the loyalty of Japanese Americans, thus necessitating internment. [90] The original version was so offensive – even in the atmosphere of the wartime 1940s – that Bendetsen ordered all copies to be destroyed. [91]

In 1980, a copy of the original Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast – 1942 was found in the National Archives, along with notes showing the numerous differences between the original and redacted versions. [92] This earlier, racist and inflammatory version, as well as the FBI and Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) reports, led to the coram nobis retrials which overturned the convictions of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui on all charges related to their refusal to submit to exclusion and internment. [93] The courts found that the government had intentionally withheld these reports and other critical evidence, at trials all the way up to the Supreme Court, which proved that there was no military necessity for the exclusion and internment of Japanese Americans. In the words of Department of Justice officials writing during the war, the justifications were based on "willful historical inaccuracies and intentional falsehoods".

The Ringle Report Edit

In May 2011, U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal, after a year of investigation, found Charles Fahy had intentionally withheld The Ringle Report drafted by the Office of Naval Intelligence, in order to justify the Roosevelt administration's actions in the cases of Hirabayashi v. United States and Korematsu v. United States. The report would have undermined the administration's position of the military necessity for such action, as it concluded that most Japanese Americans were not a national security threat, and that allegations of communication espionage had been found to be without basis by the FBI and Federal Communications Commission. [94]

Editorials from major newspapers at the time were generally supportive of the internment of the Japanese by the United States.

A Los Angeles Times editorial dated February 19, 1942, stated that:

Since Dec. 7 there has existed an obvious menace to the safety of this region in the presence of potential saboteurs and fifth columnists close to oil refineries and storage tanks, airplane factories, Army posts, Navy facilities, ports and communications systems. Under normal sensible procedure not one day would have elapsed after Pearl Harbor before the government had proceeded to round up and send to interior points all Japanese aliens and their immediate descendants for classification and possible internment. [95]

An Atlanta Constitution editorial dated February 20, 1942, stated that:

The time to stop taking chances with Japanese aliens and Japanese-Americans has come. . . . While Americans have an inate [sic] distaste for stringent measures, every one must realize this is a total war, that there are no Americans running loose in Japan or Germany or Italy and there is absolutely no sense in this country running even the slightest risk of a major disaster from enemy groups within the nation. [96]

A Washington Post editorial dated February 22, 1942, stated that:

There is but one way in which to regard the Presidential order empowering the Army to establish "military areas" from which citizens or aliens may be excluded. That is to accept the order as a necessary accompaniment of total defense. [97]

A Los Angeles Times editorial dated February 28, 1942, stated that:

As to a considerable number of Japanese, no matter where born, there is unfortunately no doubt whatever. They are for Japan they will aid Japan in every way possible by espionage, sabotage and other activity and they need to be restrained for the safety of California and the United States. And since there is no sure test for loyalty to the United States, all must be restrained. Those truly loyal will understand and make no objection. [98]

A Los Angeles Times editorial dated December 8, 1942, stated that:

The Japs in these centers in the United States have been afforded the very best of treatment, together with food and living quarters far better than many of them ever knew before, and a minimum amount of restraint. They have been as well fed as the Army and as well as or better housed. . . . The American people can go without milk and butter, but the Japs will be supplied. [99]

A Los Angeles Times editorial dated April 22, 1943, stated that:

As a race, the Japanese have made for themselves a record for conscienceless treachery unsurpassed in history. Whatever small theoretical advantages there might be in releasing those under restraint in this country would be enormously outweighed by the risks involved. [100]

While this event is most commonly called the internment of Japanese Americans, the government operated several different types of camps holding Japanese Americans. The best known facilities were the military-run Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) Assembly Centers and the civilian-run War Relocation Authority (WRA) Relocation Centers, which are generally (but unofficially) referred to as "internment camps". Scholars have urged dropping such euphemisms and refer to them as concentration camps and the people as incarcerated. [102] The Department of Justice (DOJ) operated camps officially called Internment Camps, which were used to detain those suspected of crimes or of "enemy sympathies". The government also operated camps for a number of German Americans and Italian Americans, who sometimes were assigned to share facilities with the Japanese Americans. The WCCA and WRA facilities were the largest and the most public. The WCCA Assembly Centers were temporary facilities that were first set up in horse racing tracks, fairgrounds, and other large public meeting places to assemble and organize internees before they were transported to WRA Relocation Centers by truck, bus, or train. The WRA Relocation Centers were semi-permanent camps that housed persons removed from the exclusion zone after March 1942, or until they were able to relocate elsewhere in the United States outside the exclusion zone. [ citation needed ]

DOJ and Army internment camps Edit

Eight U.S. Department of Justice Camps (in Texas, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Montana) held Japanese Americans, primarily non-citizens and their families. [103] The camps were run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, under the umbrella of the DOJ, and guarded by Border Patrol agents rather than military police. The population of these camps included approximately 3,800 of the 5,500 Buddhist and Christian ministers, school instructors, newspaper workers, fishermen, and community leaders who had been accused of fifth column activity and arrested by the FBI after Pearl Harbor. (The remaining 1,700 were released to WRA relocation centers.) [21] Immigrants and nationals of German and Italian ancestry were also held in these facilities, often in the same camps as Japanese Americans. Approximately 7,000 German Americans and 3,000 Italian Americans from Hawai'i and the U.S. mainland were interned in DOJ camps, along with 500 German seamen already in custody after being rescued from the SS Columbus in 1939. [104] In addition 2,264 ethnic Japanese, [105] 4,058 ethnic Germans, and 288 ethnic Italians [104] were deported from 19 Latin American countries for a later-abandoned hostage exchange program with Axis countries or confinement in DOJ camps. [106] : 145–48

Several U.S. Army internment camps held Japanese, Italian, and German American men considered "potentially dangerous". Camp Lordsburg, in New Mexico, was the only site built specifically to confine Japanese Americans. In May 1943, the Army was given responsibility for the detention of prisoners of war and all civilian internees were transferred to DOJ camps. [103]

WCCA Civilian Assembly Centers Edit

Executive Order 9066 authorized the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast however, it was signed before there were any facilities completed to house the displaced Japanese Americans. After the voluntary evacuation program failed to result in many families leaving the exclusion zone, the military took charge of the now-mandatory evacuation. On April 9, 1942, the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) [107] was established by the Western Defense Command to coordinate the forced removal of Japanese Americans to inland concentration camps.

The relocation centers faced opposition from inland communities near the proposed sites who disliked the idea of their new "Jap" neighbors. In addition, government forces were struggling to build what would essentially be self-sufficient towns in very isolated, undeveloped, and harsh regions of the country they were not prepared to house the influx of over 110,000 internees. [108] Since Japanese Americans living in the restricted zone were considered too dangerous to conduct their daily business, the military decided it had to house them in temporary centers until the relocation centers were completed. [109]

Under the direction of Colonel Karl Bendetsen, existing facilities had been designated for conversion to WCCA use in March 1942, and the Army Corps of Engineers finished construction on these sites on April 21, 1942. [110] All but four of the 15 confinement sites (12 in California, and one each in Washington, Oregon, and Arizona) had previously been racetracks or fairgrounds. The stables and livestock areas were cleaned out and hastily converted to living quarters for families of up to six, [111] while wood and tarpaper barracks were constructed for additional housing, as well as communal latrines, laundry facilities, and mess halls. [107] [110] A total of 92,193 [110] Japanese Americans were transferred to these temporary detention centers from March to August 1942. (18,026 [110] more had been taken directly to two "reception centers" that were developed as the Manzanar and Poston WRA camps.) The WCCA was dissolved on March 15, 1943, when it became the War Relocation Authority and turned its attentions to the more permanent relocation centers. [107]

WRA Relocation Centers Edit

WRA Relocation Centers [112]
Name State Opened Max. Pop'n
Manzanar California March 1942 10,046
Tule Lake California May 1942 18,789
Poston Arizona May 1942 17,814
Gila River Arizona July 1942 13,348
Granada Colorado August 1942 7,318
Heart Mountain Wyoming August 1942 10,767
Minidoka Idaho August 1942 9,397
Topaz Utah September 1942 8,130
Rohwer Arkansas September 1942 8,475
Jerome Arkansas October 1942 8,497

The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was the U.S. civilian agency responsible for the relocation and detention. The WRA was created by President Roosevelt on March 18, 1942, with Executive Order 9102 and it officially ceased to exist on June 30, 1946. Milton S. Eisenhower, then an official of the Department of Agriculture, was chosen to head the WRA. In the 1943 US Government film Japanese Relocation he said, "This picture tells how the mass migration was accomplished. Neither the Army, not the War Relocation Authority relish the idea of taking men, women and children from their homes, their shops and their farms. So, the military and civilian agencies alike, determined to do the job as a democracy should—with real consideration for the people involved." [113] Dillon S. Myer replaced Eisenhower three months later on June 17, 1942. Myer served as Director of the WRA until the centers were closed. [114] Within nine months, the WRA had opened ten facilities in seven states, and transferred over 100,000 people from the WCCA facilities.

The WRA camp at Tule Lake, though initially like the other camps, eventually was used as a detention center for people believed to pose a security risk. Tule Lake also served as a "segregation center" for individuals and families who were deemed "disloyal", and for those who were to be deported to Japan.

List of camps Edit

There were three types of camps. Civilian Assembly Centers were temporary camps, frequently located at horse tracks, where Japanese Americans were sent after they were removed from their communities. Eventually, most of the Japanese Americans were sent to Relocation Centers, also known as internment camps. Detention camps housed Nikkei who the government considered disruptive as well as Nikkei who the government believed were of special interest. When most of the Assembly Centers closed, they became training camps for US troops.

Civilian Assembly Centers Edit

    (Santa Anita Racetrack, stables) (Santa Anita assembly center) (Fresno Fairgrounds, racetrack, stables) Fresno Assembly Center / Arboga, California (migrant workers' camp) Arboga Assembly Center (Civilian Conservation Corps camp) (Merced County Fairgrounds-Merced Assembly Center) (Manzanar - Owens Valley Reception Center) - (Poston War Relocation Center-Poston assembly center) (Pinedale Assembly Center, warehouses) (Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, racetrack, stables) (Pomona assembly center) (Pacific International Livestock Exposition, including 3,800 housed in the main pavilion building) (Portland Assembly Center) (fairgrounds racetrack stables, Informally known as "Camp Harmony") Camp Kohler (Site of Present-Day Walerga Park) (migrant workers' camp) (fairgrounds, racetrack, stables) Salinas Assembly Center (Tanforan racetrack, stables)(Tanforan Assembly Center) (San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, racetrack, stables) (fairgrounds, racetrack, stables) Tulare Assembly Center (Stanislaus County Fairgrounds-Turlock Assembly Center)

Relocation Centers Edit

    , Arizona , Colorado (AKA "Amache") , Wyoming , Arkansas , California , Idaho , Arizona , Arkansas , Utah , California

Justice Department detention camps Edit

These camps often held German-American and Italian-American detainees in addition to Japanese Americans: [115]

Citizen Isolation Centers Edit

The Citizen Isolation Centers were for those considered to be problem inmates. [115]

Federal Bureau of Prisons Edit

Detainees convicted of crimes, usually draft resistance, were sent to these sites, mostly federal prisons: [115]

U.S. Army facilities Edit

These camps often held German and Italian detainees in addition to Japanese Americans: [115]

Immigration and Naturalization Service facilities Edit

These immigration detention stations held the roughly 5,500 men arrested immediately after Pearl Harbor, in addition to several thousand German and Italian detainees, and served as processing centers from which the men were transferred to DOJ or Army camps: [117]

Somewhere between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were subject to this mass exclusion program, of whom about 80,000 Nisei (second generation) and Sansei (third generation) were U.S. citizens. [5] The rest were Issei (first generation) who were subject to internment under the Alien Enemies Act many of these "resident aliens" had been inhabitants of the United States for decades, but had been deprived by law of being able to become naturalized citizens. Also part of the West Coast removal were 101 orphaned children of Japanese descent taken from orphanages and foster homes within the exclusion zone. [118]

Internees of Japanese descent were first sent to one of 17 temporary "Civilian Assembly Centers", where most awaited transfer to more permanent relocation centers being constructed by the newly formed War Relocation Authority (WRA). Some of those who reported to the civilian assembly centers were not sent to relocation centers, but were released under the condition that they remain outside the prohibited zone until the military orders were modified or lifted. Almost 120,000 [5] Japanese Americans and resident Japanese aliens were eventually removed from their homes on the West Coast and Southern Arizona as part of the single largest forced relocation in U.S. history.

Most of these camps/residences, gardens, and stock areas were placed on Native American reservations, for which the Native Americans were formally compensated. The Native American councils disputed the amounts negotiated in absentia by US government authorities. They later sued to gain relief and additional compensation for some items of dispute. [119]

Under the National Student Council Relocation Program (supported primarily by the American Friends Service Committee), students of college age were permitted to leave the camps to attend institutions willing to accept students of Japanese ancestry. Although the program initially granted leave permits to a very small number of students, this eventually included 2,263 students by December 31, 1943. [120]

Conditions in the camps Edit

In 1943, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes wrote "the situation in at least some of the Japanese internment camps is bad and is becoming worse rapidly." [121] The quality of life in the camps was heavily influenced by which government entity was responsible for them. INS Camps were regulated by international treaty. The legal difference between interned and relocated had significant effects on those locked up. INS camps were required to provide food quality and housing at the minimum equal to that experienced by the lowest ranked person in the military. [ citation needed ]

According to a 1943 War Relocation Authority report, internees were housed in "tar paper-covered barracks of simple frame construction without plumbing or cooking facilities of any kind". The spartan facilities met international laws, but left much to be desired. Many camps were built quickly by civilian contractors during the summer of 1942 based on designs for military barracks, making the buildings poorly equipped for cramped family living. [122] [ failed verification ] [ original research? ] Throughout many camps, twenty-five people were forced to live in space built to contain four, leaving no room for privacy. [123] [ page needed ]

The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center in northwestern Wyoming was a barbed-wire-surrounded enclave with unpartitioned toilets, cots for beds, and a budget of 45 cents daily per capita for food rations. [ clarification needed ] [124]

Armed guards were posted at the camps, which were all in remote, desolate areas far from population centers. Internees were typically allowed to stay with their families. There are documented instances of guards shooting internees who reportedly attempted to walk outside the fences. One such shooting, that of James Wakasa at Topaz, led to a re-evaluation of the security measures in the camps. Some camp administrations eventually allowed relatively free movement outside the marked boundaries of the camps. Nearly a quarter of the internees left the camps to live and work elsewhere in the United States, outside the exclusion zone. Eventually, some were authorized to return to their hometowns in the exclusion zone under supervision of a sponsoring American family or agency whose loyalty had been assured. [125] [ page needed ]

The phrase "shikata ga nai" (loosely translated as "it cannot be helped") was commonly used to summarize the interned families' resignation to their helplessness throughout these conditions. This was noticed by their children, as mentioned in the well-known memoir Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston. Further, it is noted that parents may have internalized these emotions to withhold their disappointment and anguish from affecting their children. Nevertheless, children still were cognizant of this emotional repression. [126] [ page needed ]

Medical care Edit

Before the war, 87 physicians and surgeons, 137 nurses, 105 dentists, 132 pharmacists, 35 optometrists, and 92 lab technicians provided healthcare to the Japanese American population, with most practicing in urban centers like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. As the eviction from the West Coast was carried out, the Wartime Civilian Control Administration worked with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and many of these professionals to establish infirmaries within the temporary assembly centers. An Issei doctor was appointed to manage each facility, and additional healthcare staff worked under his supervision, although the USPHS recommendation of one physician for every 1,000 inmates and one nurse to 200 inmates was not met. Overcrowded and unsanitary conditions forced assembly center infirmaries to prioritize inoculations over general care, obstetrics, and surgeries at Manzanar, for example, hospital staff performed over 40,000 immunizations against typhoid and smallpox. [127] [ clarification needed ] Food poisoning was common and also demanded significant attention. Those who were interned in Topaz, Minidoka, and Jerome experienced outbreaks of dysentery. [123]

Facilities in the more permanent "relocation centers" eventually surpassed the makeshift assembly center infirmaries, but in many cases, these hospitals were incomplete when inmates began to arrive and were not fully functional for several months. Additionally, vital medical supplies such as medications and surgical and sterilization equipment were limited. The staff shortages suffered in the assembly centers continued in the WRA camps. The administration's decision to invert the management structure and demote Japanese American medical workers to positions below white employees, while capping their pay rate at $20/month, further exacerbated this problem. (At Heart Mountain, for example, Japanese American doctors received $19/month compared to white nurses' $150/month.) [128] [129] The war had caused a shortage of healthcare professionals across the country, and the camps often lost potential recruits to outside hospitals that offered better pay and living conditions. When the WRA began to allow some Japanese Americans to leave camp, many Nikkei medical professionals resettled outside the camp. Those who remained had little authority in the administration of the hospitals. Combined with the inequitable payment of salaries between white and Japanese American employees, conflicts arose at several hospitals, and there were two Japanese American walk-outs at Heart Mountain in 1943. [127]

Despite a shortage of healthcare workers, limited access to equipment, and tension between white administrators and Japanese American staff, these hospitals provided much-needed medical care in camp. The extreme climates of the remote incarceration sites were hard on infants and elderly prisoners. The frequent dust storms of the high desert locations led to increased cases of asthma and coccidioidomycosis, while the swampy, mosquito-infested Arkansas camps exposed residents to malaria, all of which were treated in camp. Almost 6,000 live deliveries were performed in these hospitals, and all mothers received pre- and postnatal care. The WRA recorded 1,862 deaths across the ten camps, with cancer, heart disease, tuberculosis, and vascular disease accounting for the majority. [127]

Education Edit

Flag of allegiance pledge at Raphael Weill Public School, Geary and Buchanan Streets, San Francisco, April 20, 1942

Teacher Lily Namimoto and her second grade class

Fourth grade class in barracks 3-4-B at Rohwer

General office in the high school at Rohwer

Senior physics class in barracks 11-F at the temporary high school quarters

A part of the brass section of the high school band

Of the 110,000 Japanese Americans detained by the United States government during World War II, 30,000 were children. [130] Most were school-age children, so educational facilities were set up in the camps. Allowing them to continue their education, however, did not erase the potential for traumatic experiences during their overall time in the camps. [131] The government had not adequately planned for the camps, and no real budget or plan was set aside for the new camp educational facilities. [132] Camp schoolhouses were crowded and had insufficient materials, books, notebooks, and desks for students. Not only that the education/instruction was all in English, the schools in Japanese internment camps also didn't have any books or supplies to go on as they opened. The state decided to issue a few books only a month after the opening. [133] Wood stoves were used to heat the buildings, and instead of using separate rooms for different kinds of activities only partitions were used to accomplish that. Japanese internment camps also did not have any libraries (and consequently no library books), writing arm chairs or desks, and no science equipment. [134] These 'schoolhouses' were essentially prison blocks that contained few windows. In the Southwest, when temperatures rose and the schoolhouse filled, the rooms would be sweltering and unbearable. [132] Class sizes were immense. At the height of its attendance, the Rohwer Camp of Arkansas reached 2,339, with only 45 certified teachers. [135] The student to teacher ratio in the camps was 48:1 in elementary schools and 35:1 for secondary schools, compared to the national average of 28:1. [136] This was due to a few things. One of them was that there was a general teacher shortage in the US at the moment, and the fact that the teachers were required to live in those poor conditions in the camps themselves. [133] "There was persistent mud or dust, heat, mosquitoes, poor food and living conditions, inadequate instructional supplies, and a half mile or more walk each day just to and from the school block". [137] Despite the triple salary increase in the internment camps, they were still unable to fill in all the needed teacher positions with certified personnel, and so in the end they had to hire non-certified teacher detainees to help out the teachers as assistants. [133]

The rhetorical curriculum of the schools was based mostly on the study of "the democratic ideal and to discover its many implications". [138] English compositions researched at the Jerome and Rohwer camps in Arkansas focused on these 'American ideals', and many of the compositions pertained to the camps. Responses were varied, as schoolchildren of the Topaz camp were patriotic and believed in the war effort, but could not ignore the fact of their incarceration. [139] To build patriotism, the Japanese language was banned in the camps, forcing the children to learn English and then go home and teach their Issei parents. [140]

Sports Edit

A baseball game at Manzanar. Picture by Ansel Adams c. 1943.

Smithsonian photo of softball from the Heart Mountain Relocation Center

A basketball game at the Rohwer Relocation Center

A group of girls around a puppy at a football game

A tense moment in a football game between the Stockton and Santa Anita teams

A judo class at Rohwer. Classes were held every afternoon and evening.

Although life in the camps was very difficult, Japanese Americans formed many different sports teams, including baseball and football teams. [141] In January 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued what came to be known as the "Green Light Letter" to MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, which urged him to continue playing Major League Baseball games despite the ongoing war. In it Roosevelt said that "baseball provides a recreation", and this was true for Japanese American incarcerees as well. Over 100 baseball teams were formed in the Manzanar camp so that Japanese Americans could have some recreation, and some of the team names were carry-overs from teams formed before the incarceration. [142]

Both men and women participated in the sports. In some cases, the Japanese American baseball teams from the camps traveled to outside communities to play other teams. Incarcerees from Idaho competed in the state tournament in 1943, and there were games between the prison guards and the Japanese American teams. [143] Branch Rickey, who would be responsible for bringing Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball in 1947, sent a letter to all of the WRA camps expressing interest in scouting some of the Nisei players. In the fall of 1943, three players tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers in front of MLB scout George Sisler, but none of them made the team. [143]

Student leave to attend Eastern colleges Edit

Although most Nisei college students followed their families into camp, a small number tried to arrange for transfers to schools outside the exclusion zone in order to continue their education. Their initial efforts expanded as sympathetic college administrators and the American Friends Service Committee began to coordinate a larger student relocation program. The Friends petitioned WRA Director Milton Eisenhower to place college students in Eastern and Midwestern academic institutions. The National Japanese American Student Relocation Council was formed on May 29, 1942, and the AFSC administered the program. [144] By September 1942, after the initial roundup of Japanese Americans, 250 students from assembly centers and WRA camps were back at school. [ citation needed ] Their tuition, book costs, and living expenses were absorbed by the U.S. government, private foundations, and church scholarships, in addition to significant fundraising efforts led by Issei parents in camp. Outside camp, the students took on the role of "ambassadors of good will", and the NJASRC and WRA promoted this image to soften anti-Japanese prejudice and prepare the public for the resettlement of Japanese Americans in their communities. [144] At Earlham College, President William Dennis helped institute a program that enrolled several dozen Japanese-American students in order to spare them from incarceration. While this action was controversial in Richmond, Indiana, it helped strengthen the college's ties to Japan and the Japanese-American community. [145] At Oberlin College, about 40 evacuated Nisei students were enrolled. One of them, Kenji Okuda, was elected as student council president. [146] In total, over 600 institutions east of the exclusion zone opened their doors to more than 4,000 college-age youth who had been placed behind barbed wire, many of whom were enrolled in West Coast schools prior to their removal. The NJASRC ceased operations on June 7, 1946. [144]

Loyalty questions and segregation Edit

In early 1943, War Relocation Authority officials, working with the War Department and the Office of Naval Intelligence, [148] circulated a questionnaire in an attempt to determine the loyalty of incarcerated Nisei men they hoped to recruit into military service. The "Statement of United States Citizen of Japanese Ancestry" was initially given only to Nisei who were eligible for service (or would have been, but for the 4-C classification imposed on them at the start of the war). Authorities soon revised the questionnaire and required all adults in camp to complete the form. Most of the 28 questions were designed to assess the "Americanness" of the respondent — had they been educated in Japan or the U.S.? were they Buddhist or Christian? did they practice judo or play on a baseball team? [148] The final two questions on the form, which soon came to be known as the "loyalty questionnaire", were more direct:

Question 27: Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered? Question 28: Will you swear unqualified allegiances to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any and all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or other foreign government, power or organization?

Across the camps, people who answered No to both questions became known as "No Nos".

While most camp inmates simply answered "yes" to both questions, several thousand — 17 percent of the total respondents, 20 percent of the Nisei [149] — gave negative or qualified replies out of confusion, fear or anger at the wording and implications of the questionnaire. In regard to Question 27, many worried that expressing a willingness to serve would be equated with volunteering for combat, while others felt insulted at being asked to risk their lives for a country that had imprisoned them and their families. An affirmative answer to Question 28 brought up other issues. Some believed that renouncing their loyalty to Japan would suggest that they had at some point been loyal to Japan and disloyal to the United States. Many believed they were to be deported to Japan no matter how they answered they feared an explicit disavowal of the Emperor would become known and make such resettlement extremely difficult. [150] [151]

On July 15, 1943, Tule Lake, the site with the highest number of "no" responses to the questionnaire, was designated to house inmates whose answers suggested they were "disloyal". [149] During the remainder of 1943 and into early 1944, more than 12,000 men, women and children were transferred from other camps to the maximum-security Tule Lake Segregation Center. The documentary, Resistance at Tule Lake, conveys the tensions and conditions there.

Afterward, the government passed the Renunciation Act of 1944, a law that made it possible for Nisei and Kibei to renounce their American citizenship. [148] [152] [153] A total of 5,589 internees opted to do so 5,461 of these were sent to Tule Lake. [154] Of those who renounced US citizenship, 1,327 were repatriated to Japan. [154] Those persons who stayed in the US faced discrimination from the Japanese-American community, both during and after the war, for having made that choice of renunciation. At the time, they feared what their futures held were they to remain American, and remain interned. [154]

These renunciations of American citizenship have been highly controversial, for a number of reasons. Some apologists for internment have cited the renunciations as evidence that "disloyalty" or anti-Americanism was well represented among the interned peoples, thereby justifying the internment. [155] Many historians have dismissed the latter argument, for its failure to consider that the small number of individuals in question had been mistreated and persecuted by their own government at the time of the "renunciation": [156] [157]

[T]he renunciations had little to do with "loyalty" or "disloyalty" to the United States, but were instead the result of a series of complex conditions and factors that were beyond the control of those involved. Prior to discarding citizenship, most or all of the renunciants had experienced the following misfortunes: forced removal from homes loss of jobs government and public assumption of disloyalty to the land of their birth based on race alone and incarceration in a "segregation center" for "disloyal" ISSEI or NISEI. [157]

Minoru Kiyota, who was among those who renounced his citizenship and soon came to regret the decision, has said that he wanted only "to express my fury toward the government of the United States", for his internment and for the mental and physical duress, as well as the intimidation, he was made to face. [158]

[M]y renunciation had been an expression of momentary emotional defiance in reaction to years of persecution suffered by myself and other Japanese Americans and, in particular, to the degrading interrogation by the FBI agent at Topaz and being terrorized by the guards and gangs at Tule Lake. [159]

Civil rights attorney Wayne M. Collins successfully challenged most of these renunciations as invalid, owing to the conditions of duress and intimidation under which the government obtained them. [158] [160] Many of the deportees were Issei (first generation) or Kibei, who often had difficulty with English and often did not understand the questions they were asked. Even among those Issei who had a clear understanding, Question 28 posed an awkward dilemma: Japanese immigrants were denied U.S. citizenship at the time, so when asked to renounce their Japanese citizenship, answering "Yes" would have made them stateless persons. [161]

When the government began seeking army volunteers from among the camps, only 6% of military-aged male inmates volunteered to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. [ citation needed ] Most of those who refused tempered that refusal with statements of willingness to fight if they were restored their rights as American citizens. Eventually 33,000 Japanese-American men and many Japanese-American women served in the U.S. military during World War II, of which 20,000 served in the U.S. Army. [162] [163]

The 100th Infantry Battalion, which was formed in June 1942 with 1,432 men of Japanese descent from the Hawaii National Guard, was sent to Camps McCoy and Shelby for advanced training. [164] Because of the 100th's superior training record, the War Department authorized the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. When the call was made, 10,000 young men from Hawaii volunteered with eventually 2,686 being chosen along with 1,500 from the continental U.S. [165] The 100th Infantry Battalion landed in Salerno, Italy in September 1943 and became known as the Purple Heart Battalion. This legendary outfit was joined by the 442nd RCT in June 1944, and this combined unit became the most highly decorated U.S. military unit of its size and duration in U.S. military history. [166] The 442nd's Nisei segregated field artillery battalion, then on detached service within the U.S. Army in Bavaria, liberated at least one of the satellite labor camps of the Nazis' original Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945, [167] and only days later, on May 2, halted a death march in southern Bavaria. [168] [169]

Proving commitment to the United States Edit

Many Nisei worked to prove themselves as loyal American citizens. Of the 20,000 Japanese Americans who served in the Army during World War II, [162] "many Japanese-American soldiers had gone to war to fight racism at home" [170] and they were "proving with their blood, their limbs, and their bodies that they were truly American". [171] Some one hundred Nisei women volunteered for the WAC (Women's Army Corps), where, after undergoing rigorous basic training, they had assignments as typists, clerks, and drivers. [123] A smaller number of women also volunteered to serve as nurses for the ANC (Army Nurse Corps). [172] Satoshi Ito, an internment camp internee, reinforces the idea of the immigrants' children striving to demonstrate their patriotism to the United States. He notes that his mother would tell him, "'you're here in the United States, you need to do well in school, you need to prepare yourself to get a good job when you get out into the larger society'". [173] He said she would tell him, "'don't be a dumb farmer like me, like us'" [174] to encourage Ito to successfully assimilate into American society. As a result, he worked exceptionally hard to excel in school and later became a professor at the College of William & Mary. His story, along with the countless Japanese Americans willing to risk their lives in war, demonstrate the lengths many in their community went to prove their American patriotism.

Other concentration camps Edit

As early as September 1931, with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, US officials began to compile lists of individuals, lists which were particularly focused on the Issei. [18] : 16 This data was eventually included in the Custodial Detention index (CDI). Agents in the Department of Justice's Special Defense Unit classified the subjects into three groups: A, B, and C, with A being the "most dangerous", and C being "possibly dangerous". [175]

After the Pearl Harbor attack, Roosevelt authorized his attorney general to put into motion a plan for the arrest of thousands of individuals on the potential enemy alien lists, most of them were Japanese-American community leaders. Armed with a blanket arrest warrant, the FBI seized these men on the eve of December 8, 1941. These men were held in municipal jails and prisons until they were moved to Department of Justice detention camps, separate from those of the Wartime Relocation Authority (WRA). These camps operated under far more stringent conditions and were subject to heightened criminal-style guards, despite the absence of criminal proceedings. [18] : 43–66 Memoirs about the camps include those by Keiho Soga [176] and Toru Matsumoto. [177]

Crystal City, Texas, was one such camp where Japanese Americans, German Americans, Italian Americans, and a large number of U.S.-seized, Axis-descended nationals from several Latin-American countries were interned. [116] [178]

The Canadian government also confined its citizens with Japanese ancestry during World War II (see Japanese Canadian internment), for many reasons which were also based on fear and prejudice. Some Latin American countries on the Pacific Coast, such as Peru, interned ethnic Japanese or sent them to the United States for internment. [178] Brazil also restricted its Japanese Brazilian population. [179]

Hawaii Edit

Although Japanese Americans in Hawaii comprised more than one-third of Hawaii's population, businessmen resisted their internment or deportation to the concentration camps which were located on the mainland, because they recognized their contributions to Hawaii's economy. [180] In the hysteria of the time, some mainland Congressmen (Hawaii was only an incorporated U.S. territory at the time, and despite being fully part of the U.S., did not have a voting representative or senator in Congress) promoted that all Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants should be removed from Hawaii but were unsuccessful. An estimated 1,200 to 1,800 Japanese nationals and American-born Japanese from Hawaii were interned, either in five camps on the islands or in one of the mainland internment camps, but this represented well-under two percent of the total Japanese American residents in the islands. [181] "No serious explanations were offered as to why . the internment of individuals of Japanese descent was necessary on the mainland, but not in Hawaii, where the large Japanese-Hawaiian population went largely unmolested." [182]

The vast majority of Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents in Hawaii were not interned because the government had already declared martial law in Hawaii and this allowed it to significantly reduce the supposed risk of espionage and sabotage by residents of Japanese ancestry. [183] Also, Japanese Americans comprised over 35% of the territory's population, with 157,905 of Hawaii's 423,330 inhabitants at the time of the 1940 census, [184] making them the largest ethnic group at that time detaining so many people would have been enormously challenging in terms of logistics. Additionally, the whole of Hawaiian society was dependent on their productivity. According to intelligence reports at the time, "the Japanese, through a concentration of effort in select industries, had achieved a virtual stranglehold on several key sectors of the economy in Hawaii," [185] and they "had access to virtually all jobs in the economy, including high-status, high-paying jobs (e.g., professional and managerial jobs)". [186] To imprison such a large percentage of the islands' work force would have crippled the Hawaiian economy. Thus, the unfounded fear of Japanese Americans turning against the United States was overcome by the reality-based fear of massive economic loss.

Lieutenant General Delos C. Emmons, commander of the Hawaii Department, promised the local Japanese-American community that they would be treated fairly so long as they remained loyal to the United States. He succeeded in blocking efforts to relocate them to the outer islands or mainland by pointing out the logistical difficulties. [187] Among the small number interned were community leaders and prominent politicians, including territorial legislators Thomas Sakakihara and Sanji Abe. [188]

A total of five internment camps operated in the territory of Hawaii, referred to as the "Hawaiian Island Detention Camps". [189] [190] One camp was located at Sand Island at the mouth of Honolulu Harbor. This camp was prepared in advance of the war's outbreak. All prisoners held here were "detained under military custody. because of the imposition of martial law throughout the Islands". Another Hawaiian camp was the Honouliuli Internment Camp, near Ewa, on the southwestern shore of Oahu it was opened in 1943 to replace the Sand Island camp. Another was located on the island of Maui in the town of Haiku, [191] in addition to the Kilauea Detention Center on Hawaii and Camp Kalaheo on Kauai. [192]

Japanese Latin Americans Edit

During World War II, over 2,200 Japanese from Latin America were held in internment camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, part of the Department of Justice. Beginning in 1942, Latin Americans of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and transported to American internment camps run by the INS and the U.S. Justice Department. [105] [106] [193] [194] Most of these internees, approximately 1,800, came from Peru. An additional 250 were from Panama, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. [195]

The first group of Japanese Latin Americans arrived in San Francisco on April 20, 1942, on board the Etolin along with 360 ethnic Germans and 14 ethnic Italians from Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. [196] The 151 men — ten from Ecuador, the rest from Peru — had volunteered for deportation believing they were to be repatriated to Japan. They were denied visas by U.S. Immigration authorities and then detained on the grounds they had tried to enter the country illegally, without a visa or passport. [196] Subsequent transports brought additional "volunteers", including the wives and children of men who had been deported earlier. A total of 2,264 Japanese Latin Americans, about two-thirds of them from Peru, were interned in facilities on the U.S. mainland during the war. [105] [195] [197]

The United States originally intended to trade these Latin American internees as part of a hostage exchange program with Japan and other Axis nations. [198] A thorough examination of the documents shows at least one trade occurred. [106] Over 1,300 persons of Japanese ancestry were exchanged for a like number of non-official Americans in October 1943, at the port of Marmagao, India. Over half were Japanese Latin Americans (the rest being ethnic Germans and Italians) and of that number one-third were Japanese Peruvians.

On September 2, 1943, the Swedish ship MS Gripsholm departed the U.S. with just over 1,300 Japanese nationals (including nearly a hundred from Canada and Mexico) en route for the exchange location, Marmagao, the main port of the Portuguese colony of Goa on the west coast of India. [106] : Table 13–1 [199] After two more stops in South America to take on additional Japanese nationals, the passenger manifest reached 1,340. [106] Of that number, Latin American Japanese numbered 55 percent of the Gripsholm's travelers, 30 percent of whom were Japanese Peruvian. [106] Arriving in Marmagao on October 16, 1943, the Gripsholm's passengers disembarked and then boarded the Japanese ship Teia Maru. In return, "non-official" Americans (secretaries, butlers, cooks, embassy staff workers, etc.) previously held by the Japanese Army boarded the Gripsholm while the Teia Maru headed for Tokyo. [106] Because this exchange was done with those of Japanese ancestry officially described as "volunteering" to return to Japan, no legal challenges were encountered. The U.S. Department of State was pleased with the first trade and immediately began to arrange a second exchange of non-officials for February 1944. This exchange would involve 1,500 non-volunteer Japanese who were to be exchanged for 1,500 Americans. [106] The US was busy with Pacific Naval activity and future trading plans stalled. Further slowing the program were legal and political "turf" battles between the State Department, the Roosevelt administration, and the DOJ, whose officials were not convinced of the legality of the program.

The completed October 1943 trade took place at the height of the Enemy Alien Deportation Program. Japanese Peruvians were still being "rounded up" for shipment to the U.S. in previously unseen numbers. Despite logistical challenges facing the floundering prisoner exchange program, deportation plans were moving ahead. This is partly explained by an early-in-the-war revelation of the overall goal for Latin Americans of Japanese ancestry under the Enemy Alien Deportation Program. The goal: that the hemisphere was to be free of Japanese. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wrote an agreeing President Roosevelt, "[that the US must] continue our efforts to remove all the Japanese from these American Republics for internment in the United States." [106] [200]

"Native" Peruvians expressed extreme animosity toward their Japanese citizens and expatriates, and Peru refused to accept the post-war return of Japanese Peruvians from the US. Although a small number asserting special circumstances, such as marriage to a non-Japanese Peruvian, [105] did return, the majority were trapped. Their home country refused to take them back (a political stance Peru would maintain until 1950 [195] ), they were generally Spanish speakers in the Anglo US, and in the postwar U.S., the Department of State started expatriating them to Japan. Civil rights attorney Wayne Collins filed injunctions on behalf of the remaining internees, [178] [201] helping them obtain "parole" relocation to the labor-starved Seabrook Farms in New Jersey. [202] He started a legal battle that would not be resolved until 1953, when, after working as undocumented immigrants for almost ten years, those Japanese Peruvians remaining in the U.S. were finally offered citizenship. [106] [195]

On December 18, 1944, the Supreme Court handed down two decisions on the legality of the incarceration under Executive Order 9066. Korematsu v. United States, a 6–3 decision upholding a Nisei's conviction for violating the military exclusion order, stated that, in general, the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast was constitutional. However, Ex parte Endo unanimously declared on that same day that loyal citizens of the United States, regardless of cultural descent, could not be detained without cause. In effect, the two rulings held that, while the eviction of American citizens in the name of military necessity was legal, the subsequent incarceration was not—thus paving the way for their release.

Having been alerted to the Court's decision, the Roosevelt administration issued Public Proclamation No. 21 the day before the Korematsu and Endo rulings were made public, on December 17, 1944, rescinding the exclusion orders and declaring that Japanese Americans could return to the West Coast the next month. [28]

Although WRA Director Dillon Myer and others had pushed for an earlier end to the incarceration, the Japanese Americans were not allowed to return to the West Coast until January 2, 1945, being postponed until after the November 1944 election, so as not to impede Roosevelt's reelection campaign. [203] Many younger internees had already "resettled" in Midwest or Eastern cities to pursue work or educational opportunities. (For example, 20,000 were sent to Lake View in Chicago. [204] ) The remaining population began to leave the camps to try to rebuild their lives at home. Former inmates were given $25 and a train ticket to their pre-war places of residence, but many had little or nothing to return to, having lost their homes and businesses. When Japanese Americans were sent to the camps they could only take a few items with them and while incarcerated they could only work for meager jobs with a small monthly salary of $12-$19. So when internment ended Japanese Americans not only couldn't return to their homes and businesses but they had little to nothing to survive on, let alone enough to start a new life. [205] Some emigrated to Japan, although many of these individuals were "repatriated" against their will. [206] [207] The camps remained open for residents who were not ready to return (mostly elderly Issei and families with young children), but the WRA pressured stragglers to leave by gradually eliminating services in camp. Those who had not left by each camp's close date were forcibly removed and sent back to the West Coast. [208]

Nine of the ten WRA camps were shut down by the end of 1945, although Tule Lake, which held "renunciants" slated for deportation to Japan, was not closed until March 20, 1946. [209] Japanese Latin Americans brought to the U.S. from Peru and other countries, who were still being held in the DOJ camps at Santa Fe and Crystal City, took legal action in April 1946 in an attempt to avoid deportation to Japan. [106] : 223

Hardship and material loss Edit

Many internees lost irreplaceable personal property due to restrictions that prohibited them from taking more than they could carry into the camps. These losses were compounded by theft and destruction of items placed in governmental storage. Leading up to their incarceration, Nikkei were prohibited from leaving the Military Zones or traveling more than 5 miles (8.0 km) from home, forcing those who had to travel for work, like truck farmers and residents of rural towns, to quit their jobs. [210] Many others were simply fired for their Japanese heritage. [211] [212] [213]

Many Japanese Americans encountered continued housing injustice after the war. [214] Alien land laws in California, Oregon, and Washington barred the Issei from owning their pre-war homes and farms. Many had cultivated land for decades as tenant farmers, but they lost their rights to farm those lands when they were forced to leave. Other Issei (and Nisei who were renting or had not completed payments on their property) had found families willing to occupy their homes or tend their farms during their incarceration. However, those unable to strike a deal with caretakers had to sell their property, often in a matter of days and at great financial loss to predatory land speculators, who made huge profits.

In addition to these monetary and property losses, there were seven who were shot and killed by sentries: Kanesaburo Oshima, 58, during an escape attempt from Fort Sill, Oklahoma Toshio Kobata, 58, and Hirota Isomura, 59, during transfer to Lordsburg, New Mexico James Ito, 17, and Katsuji James Kanegawa, 21, during the December 1942 Manzanar Riot James Hatsuaki Wakasa, 65, while walking near the perimeter wire of Topaz and Shoichi James Okamoto, 30, during a verbal altercation with a sentry at the Tule Lake Segregation Center. [215]

Psychological injury was observed by Dillon S. Myer, director of the WRA camps. In June 1945, Myer described how the Japanese Americans had grown increasingly depressed, and overcome with feelings of helplessness and personal insecurity. [216] Author Betty Furuta explains that the Japanese used gaman, loosely meaning "perseverance", to overcome hardships this was mistaken by non-Japanese as being introverted and lacking initiative. [217]

Japanese Americans also encountered hostility and even violence when they returned to the West Coast. Concentrated largely in rural areas of Central California, there were dozens of reports of gunshots, fires, and explosions aimed at Japanese American homes, businesses, and places of worship, in addition to non-violent crimes like vandalism and the defacing of Japanese graves. In one of the few cases to go to trial, four men were accused of attacking the Doi family of Placer County, California, setting off an explosion, and starting a fire on the family's farm in January 1945. Despite a confession from one of the men that implicated the others, the jury accepted their defense attorney's framing of the attack as a justifiable attempt to keep California "a white man's country" and acquitted all four defendants. [218]

To compensate former internees for their property losses, Congress passed the Japanese-American Claims Act on July 2, 1948, allowing Japanese Americans to apply for compensation for property losses which occurred as "a reasonable and natural consequence of the evacuation or exclusion". By the time the Act was passed, the IRS had already destroyed most of the internees' 1939–42 tax records. Due to the time pressure and strict limits on how much they could take to the camps, few were able to preserve detailed tax and financial records during the evacuation process. Therefore, it was extremely difficult for claimants to establish that their claims were valid. Under the Act, Japanese American families filed 26,568 claims totaling $148 million in requests about $37 million was approved and disbursed. [219]

The different placement for the interned had significant consequences for their lifetime outcomes. [220] A 2016 study finds, using the random dispersal of internees into camps in seven different states, that the people assigned to richer locations did better in terms of income, education, socioeconomic status, house prices, and housing quality roughly fifty years later. [220]

Reparations and redress Edit

Beginning in the 1960s, a younger generation of Japanese Americans, inspired by the civil rights movement, began what is known as the "Redress Movement", an effort to obtain an official apology and reparations from the federal government for incarcerating their parents and grandparents during the war. They focused not on documented property losses but on the broader injustice and mental suffering caused by the internment. The movement's first success was in 1976, when President Gerald Ford proclaimed that the internment was "wrong", and a "national mistake" which "shall never again be repeated". [221] President Ford signed a proclamation formally terminating Executive Order 9066 and apologized for the internment, stating: "We now know what we should have known then—not only was that evacuation wrong but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans. On the battlefield and at home the names of Japanese-Americans have been and continue to be written in history for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the well-being and to the security of this, our common Nation." [222] [223]

The campaign for redress was launched by Japanese Americans in 1978. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), which had cooperated with the administration during the war, became part of the movement. It asked for three measures: $25,000 to be awarded to each person who was detained, an apology from Congress acknowledging publicly that the U.S. government had been wrong, and the release of funds to set up an educational foundation for the children of Japanese-American families.

In 1980, Congress established the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to study the matter. On February 24, 1983, the commission issued a report entitled Personal Justice Denied, condemning the internment as unjust and motivated by racism and xenophobic ideas rather than factual military necessity. [224] Internment camp survivors sued the federal government for $24 million in property loss, but lost the case. However, the Commission recommended that $20,000 in reparations be paid to those Japanese Americans who had suffered internment. [225]

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 exemplified the Japanese American redress movement that impacted the large debate about the reparation bill. There was question over whether the bill would pass during the 1980s due to the poor state of the federal budget and the low support of Japanese Americans covering 1% of the United States. However, four powerful Japanese-American Democrats and Republicans who had war experience, with the support of Democratic congressmen Barney Frank, sponsored the bill and pushed for its passage as their top priority. [226]

On August 10, 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which had been sponsored by several representatives including Barney Frank, Norman Mineta, and Bob Matsui in the House and by Spark Matsunaga who got 75 co-sponsors in the Senate, provided financial redress of $20,000 for each former internee who was still alive when the act was passed, totaling $1.2 billion. The question of to whom reparations should be given, how much, and even whether monetary reparations were appropriate were subjects of sometimes contentious debate within the Japanese American community and Congress. [227]

On September 27, 1992, the Civil Liberties Act Amendments of 1992, appropriating an additional $400 million to ensure all remaining internees received their $20,000 redress payments, was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. He issued another formal apology from the U.S. government on December 7, 1991, on the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, saying:

In remembering, it is important to come to grips with the past. No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces of its past. We in the United States acknowledge such an injustice in our history. The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.

Over 81,800 people qualified by 1998 and $1.6 billion was distributed among them. [228]

Under the 2001 budget of the United States, Congress authorized that the ten detention sites are to be preserved as historical landmarks: "places like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, Amache, Jerome, and Rohwer will forever stand as reminders that this nation failed in its most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency". [229]

President Bill Clinton awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, to Korematsu in 1998, saying, "In the long history of our country's constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls: Plessy, Brown, Parks . to that distinguished list, today we add the name of Fred Korematsu." That year, Korematsu served as the Grand Marshal of San Francisco's annual Cherry Blossom Festival parade. [230] On January 30, 2011, California first observed an annual "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution", the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the United States. [231] On June 14, 2011, Peruvian President Alan García apologized for his country's internment of Japanese immigrants during World War II, most of whom were transferred to the U.S. [179]

The misuse of the term "internment" Edit

The legal term "internment" has been used in regards to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. This term, however, derives from international conventions regarding the treatment of enemy nationals during wartime and specifically limits internment to those (noncitizen) enemy nationals who threaten the security of the detaining power. The internment of selected enemy alien belligerents, as opposed to mass incarceration, is legal both under US and international law. [232] UCLA Asian American studies professor Lane Hirabayashi has pointed out that the history of the term internment, to mean the arrest and holding of non-citizens, could only be correctly applied to Issei, Japanese personal who were not legal citizens. These people were a minority during Japanese incarceration and thus Roger Daniels, emeritus professor of history at the University of Cincinnati, has concluded that this terminology is wrongfully used by any government that wishes to include groups other than the Issei. [233]

Which term to use Edit

During World War II, the camps were referred to both as relocation centers and concentration camps by government officials and in the press. [234] Roosevelt himself referred to the camps as concentration camps on different occasions, including at a press conference held in October 20, 1942. [235] [234] In 1943, his attorney general Francis Biddle lamented that "The present practice of keeping loyal American citizens in concentration camps for longer than is necessary is dangerous and repugnant to the principles of our government." [236]

Following World War II, other government officials made statements suggesting that the use of the term "relocation center" had been largely euphemistic. In 1946, former Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes wrote "We gave the fancy name of 'relocation centers' to these dust bowls, but they were concentration camps nonetheless." [237] In a 1961 interview, Harry S. Truman stated "They were concentration camps. They called it relocation but they put them in concentration camps, and I was against it. We were in a period of emergency, but it was still the wrong thing to do." [238]

In subsequent decades, debate has arisen over the terminology used to refer to camps in which Americans of Japanese ancestry and their immigrant parents, were incarcerated by the US government during the war. [239] [240] [241] These camps have been referred to as "war relocation centers", "relocation camps", "relocation centers", "internment camps", and "concentration camps", and the controversy over which term is the most accurate and appropriate continues. [102] [242] [243] [244] [245] [246]

Towards a consensus Edit

In 1998, the use of the term "concentration camps" gained greater credibility prior to the opening of an exhibit about the American camps at Ellis Island. Initially, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the National Park Service, which manages Ellis Island, objected to the use of the term in the exhibit. [247] However, during a subsequent meeting held at the offices of the AJC in New York City, leaders representing Japanese Americans and Jewish Americans reached an understanding about the use of the term. [248] After the meeting, the Japanese American National Museum and the AJC issued a joint statement (which was included in the exhibit) that read in part:

A concentration camp is a place where people are imprisoned not because of any crimes they have committed, but simply because of who they are. Although many groups have been singled out for such persecution throughout history, the term 'concentration camp' was first used at the turn of the [20th] century in the Spanish American and Boer Wars. During World War II, America's concentration camps were clearly distinguishable from Nazi Germany's. Nazi camps were places of torture, barbarous medical experiments and summary executions some were extermination centers with gas chambers. Six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Many others, including Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals and political dissidents were also victims of the Nazi concentration camps. In recent years, concentration camps have existed in the former Soviet Union, Cambodia and Bosnia. Despite differences, all had one thing in common: the people in power removed a minority group from the general population and the rest of society let it happen. [249] [250]

The New York Times published an unsigned editorial supporting the use of "concentration camp" in the exhibit. [251] An article quoted Jonathan Mark, a columnist for The Jewish Week, who wrote, "Can no one else speak of slavery, gas, trains, camps? It's Jewish malpractice to monopolize pain and minimize victims." [252] AJC Executive Director David A. Harris stated during the controversy, "We have not claimed Jewish exclusivity for the term 'concentration camps.'", [253] while also stating "Since the Second World War, these terms have taken on a specificity and a new level of meaning that deserves protection. A certain care needs to be exercised." [254]

Deborah Schiffrin has written that at the opening of the exhibition, entitled 'America's Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese-American experience', 'some Jewish groups' had been offended at the use of the term as after the horrors of the Holocaust some survivors feel an ownership over the semantics. However, Schiffrin also notes that a compromise was reached when an appropriate footnote was added to the exhibit brochure. [255]

On the rejection of euphemisms Edit

On July 7, 2012, at its annual convention, the National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League unanimously ratified the Power of Words Handbook, calling for the use of ". truthful and accurate terms, and retiring the misleading euphemisms created by the government to cover up the denial of Constitutional and human rights, the force, oppressive conditions, and racism against 120,000 innocent people of Japanese ancestry locked up in America's World War II concentration camps." [256]

The internment of Japanese Americans has been compared to the persecutions, expulsions, and dislocations of other ethnic minorities which occurred during World War II, in both Europe and Asia. [257] [258] [259] [260]

    , American actor famed for his role in the cult classic Star Trek, was interned at a camp between the ages of 5 and 8. [261] He reflected these experiences in the 2019 series The Terror: Infamy. [262]

Cultural legacy Edit

Exhibitions and collections Edit

  • The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History has more than 800 artifacts from its "A More Perfect Union" collection available online. Archival photography, publications, original manuscripts, artworks, and handmade objects comprise the collection of items related to the Japanese American experience. [263]
  • On October 1, 1987, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History opened an exhibition called, "A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution". The exhibition examined the Constitutional process by considering the experiences of Americans of Japanese ancestry before, during, and after World War II. On view were more than 1,000 artifacts and photographs relating to the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II. The exhibition closed on January 11, 2004. On November 8, 2011, the National Museum of American History launched an online exhibition of the same name with shared content. [264]
  • Following recognition of the injustices done to Japanese Americans, in 1992 Manzanar camp was designated a National Historic Site to "provide for the protection and interpretation of historic, cultural, and natural resources associated with the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II" (Public Law 102-248). In 2001, the site of the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho was designated the Minidoka National Historic Site. at Poston Camp Unit 1, the only surviving school complex at one of the camps and the only major surviving element of the Poston camp, was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2012. [265]
  • On April 16, 2013, the Japanese American Internment Museum was opened in McGehee, Arkansas regarding the history of two internment camps.
  • In January 2015, the Topaz Museum opened in Delta, Utah. [266] Its stated mission is "to preserve the Topaz site and the history of the internment experience during World War II to interpret its impact on the internees, their families, and the citizens of Millard County and to educate the public in order to prevent a recurrence of a similar denial of American civil rights". [267]
  • On June 29, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois, the Alphawood Gallery, in partnership with the Japanese American Service Committee, opened "Then They Came for Me", the largest exhibition on Japanese American incarceration and postwar resettlement ever to open in the Midwest. This exhibit was scheduled to run until November 19, 2017. [268]
Sculpture Edit

Nina Akamu, a Sansei, created the sculpture entitled Golden Cranes of two red-crowned cranes, which became the center feature of the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II. The U.S. Department of Defense described the November 9, 2000, dedication of the Memorial: "Drizzling rain was mixed with tears streaming down the faces of Japanese American World War II heroes and those who spent the war years imprisoned in isolated internment camps." Akamu's family's connection to the internment camps based on the experience of her maternal grandfather, who was interned and later died in an internment camp in Hawaii—combined with the fact that she grew up in Hawaii for a time, where she fished with her father at Pearl Harbor—and the erection of a Japanese American war memorial near her home in Massa, Italy, inspired a strong connection to the Memorial and its creation.

United States Attorney General Janet Reno also spoke at the dedication of the Memorial, where she shared a letter from President Clinton stating: "We are diminished when any American is targeted unfairly because of his or her heritage. This Memorial and the internment sites are powerful reminders that stereotyping, discrimination, hatred and racism have no place in this country." [269]

According to the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, the memorial:

. is symbolic not only of the Japanese American experience, but of the extrication of anyone from deeply painful and restrictive circumstances. It reminds us of the battles we've fought to overcome our ignorance and prejudice and the meaning of an integrated culture, once pained and torn, now healed and unified. Finally, the monument presents the Japanese American experience as a symbol for all peoples. [270]

Films Edit

Dozens of movies were filmed about and in the internment camps these relate the experiences of interns or were made by former camp interns. Examples follow.

  • The film Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) is about the wartime bias against Japanese Americans. [271]
  • In The Karate Kid (1984), Ralph Macchio's character, Daniel, discovers a box containing references to the deaths of Mr. Miyagi's wife and child in the Manzanar camp, and to Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita's character) being awarded the Medal of Honor while serving with the 442nd Infantry Regiment. [272]
  • The movie Come See The Paradise (1990), written and directed by Alan Parker, tells the story of a European American man who elopes with a Japanese American woman and their subsequent internment following the outbreak of war. [273]
  • The documentary Days of Waiting (1990), by Steven Okazaki, is about a Caucasian artist who went voluntarily to an internment camp, Estelle Ishigo. Inspired by Ishigo's book Lone Heart Mountain, it won an Academy Award for Best Documentary[274][275] and a Peabody Award.
  • The film Looking for Jiro (2011), by visual studies scholar and performance artist Tina Takemoto, explores queerness and homosexual desire in internment camps, focusing on Jiro Onuma, a gay bachelor from San Francisco interned at the Topaz War Relocation Center. [276] The collection of Onuma's photographs and personal belongings is held by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.
  • Greg Chaney's documentary film The Empty Chair (2014) recounts the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from Juneau, Alaska and how the community stood in quiet defiance against such policies. [277]
  • The documentary The Legacy of Heart Mountain (2014) explores the experience of life at the Heart Mountain internment camp in Cody, Wyoming. [278]
  • The documentary film To Be Takei (2014) chronicles the early life of actor George Takei, who spent several years in an internment camp. [279][280]
  • The feature film Under the Blood Red Sun (2014), by Japanese-American director Tim Savage and based on Graham Salisbury's novel of the same name, examines the life of a 13-year-old Japanese-American boy living in Hawaii whose father is interned after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. [281][282]
  • Vivienne Schiffer's documentary film Relocation, Arkansas (2015) explores the aftermath of incarceration in the Rohwer and Jerome internment camps in Arkansas. [283]

Literature Edit

Many books and novels were written by and about Japanese Americans' experience during and after their residence in concentration camps among them can be mentioned the followed:

    's novel The Japanese Lover (2017) presents the lifelong love affair between two immigrants, one of whom is Japanese American and who is sent along with his whole family to an internment camp. [284] 's novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009) tells of a Chinese man's search for an Oscar Holden jazz record bought in his childhood with a Japanese friend in Seattle and left behind during World War II, when she and her family were sent to a Japanese American internment camp. [285] 's novel Snow Falling on Cedars (1994) and its 1999 film adaptation refer to the internment of the Imada family in Manzanar. [286][287] 's historical novel Weedflower (2006) is told from the perspective of the twelve-year-old Japanese-American protagonist, and received many awards and recognition. [288] ' novel The Moved-Outers (1945) centers on a high school senior and her family's treatment during the internment of Japanese Americans. It was a Newbery Honor recipient in 1946. [289] 's novel No-No Boy (1956) features a protagonist from Seattle, who was interned with his family and imprisoned for answering "no" to the last two questions on the loyalty questionnaire. It explores the postwar environment in the Pacific Northwest. [290] 's novel The Buddha in the Attic (2011), winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, tells the story of Japanese female immigrants in California, and ends on the story of the internment camps and the reaction of neighbors left behind. [291]
  • Julie Otsuka's novel When the Emperor was Divine (2002) tells the story of an unnamed Japanese-American family incarcerated at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah. The novel is based on Otsuka's own family's experiences. [292] 's historical novel Allegiance (2015) takes readers inside the US government and Supreme Court to examine the legal and moral debates and the little-known facts surrounding the detention of Japanese Americans. A Harper Lee Prize finalist, the novel is based on a true story. [293]
  • Vivienne Schiffer's novel Camp Nine (2013) is set in and near the Rohwer Japanese American internment camp in Arkansas. [294] wrote about the conflicting allegiances of Japanese Americans during the war in Futatsu no Sokoku (1983). University of Hawai'i Press published an English language translation by V. Dixon Morris under the title Two Homelands in 2007. [295] It was dramatized into a limited series of the same name by TV Tokyo in 2019. [296]
  • George Takei published a graphic novel titled They Called Us Enemy (2019) about his time in internment camps, the plight of Japanese-Americans during the war, and the social & legal ramifications following the closure of the camps. It was co-written by Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott and illustrated by Harmony Becker. The book was awarded the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APLA)-Literature, Eisner Award, [297] and American Book Award in 2020. [298]

Music Edit

    's "Kenji" (2005) tells the story of Mike Shinoda's grandfather and his experience in the camps. 's solo album Peace Love Ukulele (2011) includes the song "Go For Broke" inspired by the World War II all-Japanese American 442nd US Army unit. [299] 's 2019 album Omoiyari uses the internment program as its central theme. [300] 's 2020 song Take What You Can Carry (Scientist Dub One) is about the camp's impact on her mother and grandmother. [301][302] It was released on February 20, 2020 when California lawmakers passed a resolution to formally apologize to Japanese-Americans for the Legislature's role in their incarceration. [303][304]

Spoken word Edit

    , during his monologues on individual rights and criticism towards the American government, spoke about the relocation of Japanese American citizens to the designated camps. [305]

Television Edit

  • Hawaii Five-0Episode 81, "Honor Thy Father" (December 2013), is dedicated to solving a cold case murder at the Honouliuli Internment Camp, some 70 years earlier. [306]
  • Much of The Terror: Infamy (2019) takes place at a fictional WRA camp in Oregon. [307][308] 's Japanese language novel, Futatsu no Sokoku, addressesing the conflicting allegiances of Japanese Americans in the camps, was dramatized into a limited series of the same name by TV Tokyo in 2019. [309]

Theater Edit

  • The musical Allegiance (2013), which premiered in San Diego, California, was inspired by the camp experiences of its star, George Takei. [310]

Legal legacy Edit

Several significant legal decisions arose out of Japanese-American internment, relating to the powers of the government to detain citizens in wartime. Among the cases which reached the US Supreme Court were Ozawa v. United States (1922), Yasui v. United States (1943), Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), ex parte Endo (1944), and Korematsu v. United States (1944). In Ozawa, the court established that peoples defined as 'white' were specifically of Caucasian descent In Yasui and Hirabayashi, the court upheld the constitutionality of curfews based on Japanese ancestry in Korematsu, the court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion order. In Endo, the court accepted a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and ruled that the WRA had no authority to subject a loyal citizen to its procedures.

Korematsu's and Hirabayashi's convictions were vacated in a series of coram nobis cases in the early 1980s. [311] In the coram nobis cases, federal district and appellate courts ruled that newly uncovered evidence revealed an unfairness which, had it been known at the time, would likely have changed the Supreme Court's decisions in the Yasui, Hirabayashi, and Korematsu cases. [25] [312]

These new court decisions rested on a series of documents recovered from the National Archives showing that the government had altered, suppressed, and withheld important and relevant information from the Supreme Court, including the Final Report by General DeWitt justifying the internment program. [311] The Army had destroyed documents in an effort to hide alterations that had been made to the report to reduce their racist content. [312] The coram nobis cases vacated the convictions of Korematsu and Hirabayashi (Yasui died before his case was heard, rendering it moot), and are regarded as part of the impetus to gain passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. [311]

The rulings of the US Supreme Court in the Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases were criticized in Dictum in the 2018 majority opinion of Trump v. Hawaii upholding a ban on immigration of nationals from several Muslim majority countries but not overruled as it fell outside the case-law applicable to the lawsuit. [313] Regarding the Korematsu case, Chief Justice Roberts wrote: "The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority." [314] : 38 [315] [316]

Former Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, who represented the US Department of Justice in the "relocation", writes in the epilogue to the book Executive Order 9066: The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans (1992): [317]

The truth is—as this deplorable experience proves—that constitutions and laws are not sufficient of themselves. Despite the unequivocal language of the Constitution of the United States that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, and despite the Fifth Amendment's command that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, both of these constitutional safeguards were denied by military action under Executive Order 9066. [318]

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  • Nevers, Nacy Clark de (2004). The Colonel and the Pacifist: Karl Bendetsen, Perry Saito, and the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Salty Lake City: University of Utah Press. ISBN978-0-87480-789-9 .
  • Drinnon, Richard. Keeper of Concentration Camps: Dillon S. Meyer and American Racism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
  • Elleman, Bruce (2006). Japanese-American civilian prisoner exchanges and detention camps, 1941–45 . Routledge. p. 179. ISBN978-0-415-33188-3 . Retrieved September 14, 2009 .
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  • Gordon, Linda and Gary Y. Okihiro, ed. (2006). Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Harth, Erica. (2001). Last Witnesses: Reflections on the Wartime Internment of Japanese Americans. Palgrave, New York. ISBN0-312-22199-1 .
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  • Higashide, Seiichi (2000). Adios to Tears: The Memoirs of a Japanese-Peruvian Internee in U.S. Concentration Camps. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN978-0-295-97914-4 .
  • Hirabayashi, Lane Ryo (1999). The Politics of Fieldwork: Research in an American Concentration Camp. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.
  • Inada, Lawson Fusao: Legends from camp : poems, Minneapolis : Coffee House Press, 1993, 978-1-56689-004-5
  • Inada, Lawson Fusao (ed.) (2000). Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience . Heyday Books and the California Historical Society. ISBN978-1-890771-30-0 . CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Inouye, Karen M. (2016). The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN9781503600560 .
  • Lyon, Chertin M. (2012). Prisons and Patriots: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Mike Mackey, ed. (1998). Remembering Heart Mountain: Essays on Japanese American Internment in Wyoming. Wyoming: Western History Publications. ISBN9780966155617 .
  • Oishi, Gene: In search of Hiroshi, Rutland Vermont Tokyo, Japan : Charles E. Tuttle, [1988], 0-8048-1533-X
  • Okada, John: No-no Boy, with a new foreword by Ruth Ozeki introduction by Lawrence Fusao Inada afterword by Frank Chin, Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2014 (Original: 1957), 978-0-295-99404-8
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  • Robinson, Greg (2001). By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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  • Weglyn, Michi. (1996) [1976]. Years Of Infamy: The Untold Story Of America's Concentration Camps. University of Washington Press. ISBN0-295-97484-2 .
  • Civil Liberties Public Education Fund. (1997). Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and University of Washington Press. ISBN0-295-97558-X .

Archival sources of documents, photos, and other materials Edit

    – Lesson plans and photographs at U.S. Library of Congress. – at the University of Washington Library consisting of historical images from Washington State available at the National Archives and Records Administration , Free digital archive containing hundreds of video oral histories and 10,000 historical photographs and documents , National Park Service, stories, photographs and documents. , University of California, contains personal & official photographs, letters, diaries, transcribed oral histories, etc. – Official documents, including official court opinions on the Yasui, Hirabayashi, and Korematsu Supreme Court cases , American Memory Collection, Library of Congress , Correspondence between librarian Clara Breed and young internees, Smithsonian Institution , film produced by the INS about Crystal City Alien Enemy Detention Facility, c. 1943 – World War II Japanese Relocation Camp Internee Records index , Japanese American Relocation Collection, and Inventory of the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records, 1930–1974 (bulk 1942–1946) at The Bancroft Library . Housed at the University of Oregon Libraries, the collection includes correspondence, newsletters, speeches, minutes of meetings, and ephemera. housed at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University.
  • Japanese-American Redress Collection, transcripts, recordings, Northeastern Illinois University, University Archives. . Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. available at Holt-Atherton Special Collections.

Other sources Edit

    , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library from the Handbook of Texas Online Online exhibition from the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution [dead link] , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library , The Bancroft Library
  • The short film "Japanese Relocation with Milton Eisenhower" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • The short film "Challenge to Democracy (Japanese Internment) (1942)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • The short film "Barriers And Passes, ca. 1939 – ca. 1945" is available for free download at the Internet Archive program "Japanese Americans During World War II" with George Takei, moderated by Kermit Roosevelt. , The Bancroft Library , 4-page lesson plan for high school students, 2004, Zinn Education Project/Rethinking Schools
  • The National Constitution Center presents "Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis: Japanese American Internment and America Today" with Karen Korematsu and Kermit Roosevelt, moderated by Jess Bravin. , The Bancroft Library
  • Prejudice, War, and the Constitution, by Jacobus tenBroek, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd W. Matsen 1954 University of California Press. A must read for anyone seeking insight to the treatment of those who should have been, but were not, protected by our Constitution. , The Bancroft Library

This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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The Dark Side of the New Deal: FDR and the Japanese-Americans

Ever since the election of Barack Obama, there has been a tendency for some on the left to hearken back to the New Deal as some kind of Golden Age. Early hopes placed in Obama becoming the reincarnation of FDR were soon dashed after he put the needs of “too big to fail” banks over that of distressed homeowners whose mortgages these banks treated as chips in a gambling casino.

The next FDR waiting in the wings was Bernie Sanders who swept millennials off their feet with calls to rein in the “billionaire class”. In 2015, he set the tone: “Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty, and restored our faith in government.”

In reality, the New Deal did very little to put people back to work outside of the WPA that consisted mostly of make-work projects at low pay. Instead, it was WWII that put millions back to work—and at a terrible cost. It is fair to say that Sanders is consistent with FDR at least on one basis. If military Keynesianism put America back to work starting in 1941, Sanders is ready to adopt the same approach as indicated by his vote to continue funding the F-35, a fighter jet that will cost $1.5 trillion over its service to American imperialism. Since they will be based in Burlington, Vermont, there is an element of pork barrel at work but that’s to be expected from a politician who values being re-elected more than reining in the Pentagon.

The latest homage paid to the New Deal comes in the form of a “Green New Deal” that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a wide swath of the left see as a combination of saving the planet and putting people to work building windmills, etc. Showing a poor grasp of how the Roosevelt and Truman administrations exploited the war and its aftermath to ensure American military and economic hegemony, Ocasio-Cortez told Huffington Post that “The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan.” Since WWII and the Marshall Plan represent imperialist ambitions at their pinnacle, it strikes me as folly to invoke them on behalf of “democratic socialism” but who am I to advise such a successful politician?

For the DSA, the Sandernistas, and liberal opinion in general, FDR is likely the greatest president in American history for the past century just as Donald Trump is the worst. Since the 1930s was an era in which fascism took root and eventually precipitated a World War, it is natural to see FDR as the quintessential anti-fascist who would serve as a template for the kind of Democrat we need to replace Trump in the next election. Whether it is Bernie Sanders or some other candidate eager to invoke the New Deal legacy, how could anybody resist his or her appeal? With immigrant children herded into concentration camps, don’t we need a new anti-fascist government before it is too late?

Not long ago, I had lunch with Arn Kawano, a friend and Marxmail subscriber whose parents had been interned during WWII for no other reason than being Japanese-Americans living in California. I was anxious to discuss a film with him that I had reviewed recently titled “Resistance at Tule Lake”, which described how Japanese-Americans stood up for their rights as citizens against FDR’s fascist-like Executive Order 9066 that gave the green light to the camps.

Arn, who has a law degree, told me that despite liberal obsessions with constitutional rights, there is very little to protect such citizens when a government acts in the name of a national emergency. If anything, FDR’s willingness to shred the constitution should alert those invoking the New Deal as some kind of golden era for democracy and human rights to look more closely and objectively at American history. To give you an idea of the inability of American liberals to comprehend the depravity of FDR’s internment camps, Herbert Wechsler, an attorney who was part of the Nuremberg prosecution team, was also the government’s lawyer in a case defending the legality of Executive Order 9066. Later on, when Wechsler was teaching at the Columbia University law school, a student named Arn Kawano asked him if he had to do it all over again, would he have defended 9066? When he answered yes, Arn gathered up his books and walked out of the classroom.

A superficial understanding of the crime against Japanese-Americans might lead to the conclusion that Pearl Harbor was of such a profound blow to national security that internment was necessary. Keep in mind that even the Communist Party accepted the need to support Executive Order 9066 mandating the concentration camps. Through a front group called the Japanese American Committee for Democracy, it opposed Norman Thomas’s call for hearings on 9066 and endorsed army claims that an “evacuation” was necessary in the face of a potential Japanese invasion. As it happens, Japanese-Americans could avoid the camps if they agreed to evacuate California but the logistics of selling their homes and finding a new place to live elsewhere made this impossible.

In the course of our conversation, Arn recommended a book by Greg Robinson titled “By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans” that makes clear that 9066 was not only decades in the making but an Executive Order that FDR would have rejoiced in signing since his racist views on the Japanese dated back to his earlier years serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy between 1913 and 1919.

There were two powerful dynamics at work in American society in the years leading up to his appointment that helped to foment anti-Japanese hysteria. The first was social Darwinism that helped to view all immigrants as inimical to the preservation of the white race but Asians in particular. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882, something you might be aware of if you have seen references to Ric Burns’s truly excellent documentary that can be seen online but there was also a “Gentleman’s Agreement” between Japan and the USA in 1907 that formally allowed immigration to the USA while simultaneously making the Japanese government place a ban on emigration. So, in effect, it was an exclusion act.

In 1923, FDR wrote an article for Asia magazine titled “Shall We Trust Japan” that sounds like it could have been written by Ann Coulter:

So far as Americans are concerned, it must be admitted that, as a whole, they honestly believe—and in this belief they are at one with the people of Australasia and Canada—that the mingling of white with oriental blood on an extensive scale is harmful to our future citizenship . . . As a corollary of this conviction, Americans object to the holding of large amounts of real property, of land, by aliens or those descended from mixed marriages. Frankly, they do not want non-assimilable immigrants as citizens, nor do they desire any extensive proprietorship of land without citizenship.

It should be understood that the hatred and fear of the Japanese was not like that directed toward African-Americans or Native Americans who were regarded as racially inferior. It was the prowess of the Japanese who had begun building a vibrant economy and a naval juggernaut that was a nightmare for FDR.

Among those who also feared the Japanese was Alfred Thayer Mahan, the Naval officer and historian, who extolled sea power as a way to build an empire. FDR considered Mahan as an expert on international relations. In a letter to a British journalist named Sir Valentine Chirol, who had deplored anti-Japanese riots in 1913, Mahan wrote:

While recognizing what I clearly see to be the great superiority of the Japanese as of the white over the negro, it appears to me as reasonable that a great number of my fellow-citizens, knowing the problem we have in the colored race among us, should dread the introduction of what they believe will constitute another race problem, and one much more difficult because the virile qualities of the Japanese will still more successfully withstand assimilation, constituting a homogenous foreign mass, naturally acting together, irrespective of national welfare, and so will be the perennial cause of a friction with Japan even more dangerous than at present.

Once he became President, FDR continued to view Japan warily. He also began to worry about Japanese-Americans constituting a threat to national security by virtue of their presence in Hawaii and California as a “fifth column”. With Japan beginning to colonize Manchuria and constitute a threat to American economic interests in East Asia, it was easy to anticipate an imperialist war between the two powers over who would control the oil, tin, rubber and other resources in the region.

As he began planning for war with Japan that included an expansion of the navy, FDR turned his attention to what he saw as Japanese assets in our hemisphere, especially in Hawaii. He commissioned a report on the Defense of Oahu that would impose martial law in Hawaii, suspend the writ of habeas corpus, register Japanese as “enemy aliens,” and selectively intern those believed to be dangerous. So if he was ready to resort to such measures before Pearl Harbor, should it be of any surprise that they would apply to California as well once the war started?

In 1940, tensions had risen to such an extent that FDR began laying the groundwork for the concentrations camps that would ensue. He transferred the INS from Labor to the Justice Department and required all aliens to register with the government. By now, he saw Japanese-Americans not only as aliens but as Japan’s fifth column. In October 1940 Navy Secretary Knox sent FDR a memo proposing fifteen steps to be taken “to impress the Japanese with the seriousness of our preparations” for war. They included the establishment of defensive areas by presidential proclamation, the transfer of the coast guard to the navy, and the seizure of Japanese and German ships in or near American ports. The most significant recommendation was Number 12 that read: “Prepare plans for concentration camps (Army-Justice).”

After Pearl Harbor, the wheels were put in motion to do to the Japanese living in the USA what Hitler had done to the left after the Reichstag fire and eventually what he would do to the Jews. To give the appearance of fair play, he asked John Franklin Carter, a former State Department Official and later on a prominent journalist, to prepare a report on the loyalty of Japanese-Americans in California. Carter urged him to issue a statement characterizing them as loyal and to eschew the “evacuation” that would condemn them to concentration camps and expropriate their property. FDR ignored Carter’s recommendations even if J. Edgar Hoover found them sensible.

In mid-1942 FDR commissioned Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution, to prepare a report on various ethnic groups on how to assimilate them to American values after the war had ended. The esteemed anthropologist reminded him that their warlike character could be attributed to their less developed skulls. Greg Robinson reports that in a conversation with journalist Quentin Reynolds, FDR characterized the Japanese as a “treacherous people,” and “hissed through his teeth while quoting Japanese leaders in imitation of stereotypical Japanese speech patterns.” Robinson also reported:

FDR’s assistant, William Hassett, recounted in August 1942 that “the President related an old Chinese myth about the origin of the Japanese. A wayward daughter of an ancient Chinese emperor left her native land in a sampan and finally reached Japan, then inhabited by baboons. The inevitable happened and in due course the Japanese made their appearance.”

If this is not enough to cure people of their FDR idealization illness, I don’t know what else will.


FDR orders “enemy aliens” to register - HISTORY

Seventy-six years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, leading thousands of Japanese-Americans to be incarcerated in prison camps. This Executive Order was far from the first anti-Japanese-American law enacted by the United States government. From the Naturalization Act of 1790 to the Immigration Act of 1924,
Japanese immigrants were prohibited from becoming naturalized, owning land, marrying certain people, and eventually immigrating altogether.

In 1936, Roosevelt took his first steps to prepare for incarcerating Japanese-Americans. On August 10, he wrote to his chief of naval operations Admiral William D. Leahy that “every Japanese citizen or non-citizen on the Islands of Oahu who meets these Japanese ships [arriving in Hawaii] or has any connection with their officers or men should be secretly but definitely identified and his or her name be placed on a special list of those who would be the first to be placed in a concentration camp in the event of trouble.”

The Alien Registration Act of 1940, required aliens over 14 to register with the government and be fingerprinted. In 1941, Japanese immigrants were subjected to further restrictions when Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8832 on July 26, freezing their assets. In November, he ordered that a list of the names and addresses of all Japanese-Americans, citizens and non-citizens be compiled.

On December 7, 1941, after Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese-American community leaders were arrested and detained. Within forty-eight hours, nearly 1,300 community leaders, including priests, Japanese language teachers, newspaper publishers, and heads of organizations. Most were men who would be incarcerated for the entire war.

Three weeks later, all enemy aliens in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Nevada were ordered to surrender contraband, including short-wave radios, cameras, binoculars, and some weapons. Many Japanese-Americans hid or destroyed family heirlooms and Japanese books to prevent them from being confiscated.

Restrictions did not just apply to civilians. On January 5, 1942, Japanese-American selective service registrants were re-classified as IV-C, or “enemy aliens” and many were discharged or reassigned to menial labor, their weapons confiscated. Some states went further than the American government. Later that month, the California State Personnel Board voted to bar “descendants of natives with whom the United States [is] at war” from all civil service positions. However, this was only enforced against Japanese Americans. The following day, January 29, Attorney General Francis Biddle established prohibited zones that barred German, Italian, and Japanese immigrants, beginning with the San Francisco waterfront.

The Army established 12 “restricted areas” on February 4. Enemy aliens were subjected to a curfew and travel restrictions limited to work and locations no more than 5 miles from their homes. Soon, Japanese-Americans would be excluded from these areas completely.

On February 19, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, leading 120,000 Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast to be incarcerated. Over the next few weeks, Japanese-Americans were given days to leave their homes. Some “voluntarily” moved outside the restricted areas, but most stayed. A few weeks later, the
government ended the “voluntary” relocation program and began removing citizens from their homes with only a few days’ notice. Families lost business, homes, and most of their possessions, much of which they would never recover. The property loss is estimated at about $400 million.

During the summer of 2016, I had the privilege of interning for the National
Museum of American History, working on the “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II” exhibit” exhibit, which opened on February 17, 2017 to commemorate the 75 th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. I researched and wrote about donated objects and their owners, most of which were from the three years of incarceration. They ranged from journals to report cards, letters, and hand-made crafts and clothes. There were also programs for pilgrimages and high school reunions for former inmates and their families. I also cataloged objects into the Smithsonian’s database.

One of the most poignant objects was a letter written by a mother to her thirteen-year-old son’s teacher, asking for his records as the family would be removed from their home in the next few days. The letter dated April 27, 1942, reads:

Because of the recent evacua-tion orders, we will have to leave Berkeley on May 1 therefore, I would like to have Harold Hayashi, adv. #205, leave school to help me pack from today.

I would also like to ask for a transfer for Harold so he may enter a school at the camp.

Harold beside a copy of the letter

This was a unique object among the three hundred or so that I worked with for several reasons. First, it was one of the few handwritten objects. Second, the ink, unlike any other example I saw was blue instead of black. And, three, it was the only object that was written on behalf of someone else.

According to National Archive Records, Harold and his family were sent to the Tanforan temporary detention center and then to the Topaz incarceration camp.

Thirty-four years later, President Gerald Ford formally rescinded Executive Order 9066 by Proclamation 4417.


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