Internment Camps

FDR’s Worst Domestic Mistake: 72nd Anniversary Of Japanese American Internment Order

Franklin D. Roosevelt is rated in most polls of scholars as our second greatest President, right behind Abraham Lincoln, or if placed third, behind George Washington as well.

FDR did so much good for us in the years of the Great Depression, with his wide variety of New Deal programs, and he also took us through the travails of World War II.

But he made a horrible mistake, when he issued Executive Order 9066 on this day in 1942, 72 years ago, allowing the building of prison camps, specifically for Japanese Americans, but also for some German Americans and Italian Americans, on the basis that they might be a “Fifth Column” working for the nation of their family’s origin.

About 110,000 mostly Japanese Americans were locked up in internment camps, and if they tried to escape, were shot and killed by guards. They were kept there until the middle of 1945, for no crime other than their ethnicity.

Many of the young Japanese American men went off to fight in Europe in World War II, and won more medals, honors, and awards for their bravery in battle, than any other unit of the war effort.

It took until 1988 for President Ronald Reagan to sign legislation granting compensation to the approximate 50,000 such victims still alive.

On the 31st anniversary of Executive Order 9066, President Gerald Ford signed legislation in 1976, declaring that executive order null and void for the future, with the memory of the miscarriage of justice that had been visited on Japanese Americans.

Never again should any such executive order be issued against any ethnic, racial, or religious group, but one can be sure that there are many right wingers who would love to do the same to our Muslim population, or our Latino population.

This mistake by FDR, giving in to hysteria, was upheld shamelessly by the Supreme Court in Korematsu V. US in December 1944, a low moment for the Court, but not the only one it has done in its long history!

Civil liberties of people should never be breached in the name of hysteria and panic!

Finally, Congressional Gold Medals To Japanese American Veterans Of World War II!

Seventy years ago next December 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, forcing America into World War II.

Among the victims of the Japanese attack were approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans who were placed into internment camps for the duration of the war, because of their ethnicity.

But their sons served honorably in World War II and contributed mightily to the victory over both Japan and Germany, with a segregated unit winning more medals, honors and awards than any other unit of World War II.

Now, Congress has seen fit, as of November 2, to honor the veterans who served and those who died through the awarding of Congressional Gold Medals in a ceremony in the US Capitol Visitor Center, presided over by Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The most touching moment was the speech of Senate President Pro Tem Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who has served longer in the Senate than anyone but the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Wounded seriously in World War II, and recuperating in a hospital alongside former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, Inouye went on to become the most famous Asian American politician in the history of Congress, and if he serves in office until June 29, 2014, he will have become the longest serving senator in US history, surpassing Senator Byrd.

On Veterans Day, it is appropriate that we honor and commemorate those heroic Japanese American soldiers who did their duty despite their families being interned, as they fought for freedom and democracy!

The Changed Image Of Japanese In America From A Century Ago! Is This The Future For Muslims And Latinos In America?

When one considers the horrible mistreatment delivered on Japanese in America in the first half of the 20th century, and how much things have changed, as witnessed after the recent Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant disaster, one has hope that maybe some day, the same change in treatment for Muslims and Latinos in America will be witnessed!

A century ago, newspapers regularly referred to Japanese Americans as “Japs”, particularly the papers published by William Randolph Hearst. California witnessed the segregation of Japanese American school children in San Francisco, until Theodore Roosevelt intervened and asked for the end of the policy because it was affecting US-Japanese relations. The California legislature later passed a law barring ownership of property in California by people of Japanese ancestry. The Japanese were depicted in popular culture, such as cartoons and movies,as inherently inferior, and as an “alien” race which could never be integrated into American society. And, of course, tragically, during World War II, about 110,000 Japanese Americans were interned in prison camps in seven states, while their military age young men were fighting in a segregated unit in Europe, winning more medals and honors than any unit of World War II in any theater of the war! When they were released in 1945, they were offered no apology or compensation, although it finally became accomplished for the 50,000 survivors under President Ronald Reagan in 1988!

But now, there is tremendous sympathy for the Japanese, and admiration at their courage and strength in difficult circumstances. Japanese Americans are now treated with dignity and respect by most Americans, and we do not hear any more racist or “alien” denunciations. We, as a society, tend to respect the contributions and accomplishments of Japanese Americans and regard them as “achievers”. We do not complain about their religion of Shintoism, or say they are unable to be assimilated. We salute them and praise them profusely, and prejudicial feelings are extremely rare. We have recovered from our hate of everything Japanese, due to their attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Now Japanese Americans are seen as truly Americans!

Will this happen in the future when,hopefully, we will not constantly remember September 11, 2001 as something to be blamed on all Muslims? Will this occur that we stop being so paranoid about illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America, and consider Latinos to be good Americans as well?
The hope is that this change in attitude will come soon, and that politicians will stop exploiting the issue for their own advantage, much like they did before World War II regarding the Japanese!

Sad Anniversary: FDR Executive Order 9066, The Internment Of Japanese Americans In World War II! :(

Today is the 69th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, requiring the internment of about 110,000 Japanese Americans, just two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, simply because they were seen as a security risk to the nation due to their ethnicity and possible loyalties to their nation of origin.

This happened despite the fact that most of these people had been born in America, while others had become citizens or were applying for it, but simply their face and appearance was enough to put them into internment camps behind barbed wire and under military guard until early in 1945, they were ordered released, without any recompense for three lost years in what was basically a prison due to their national origins, not anything they did to deserve incarceration! 🙁

An all Japanese American military unit in Europe won more honors and recognition than any other unit in World War II, while their families were being mistreated in this terrible manner!

Only in 1988, the American government and President Ronald Reagan apologized formally for the forced internment, and arranged for the 50,000 survivors a lump sum payment of $20,000.

This horrible event ended just a day after the Supreme Court ruled that their internment was justifiable in war time, in the case of Korematsu V. US on December 16, 1944. The next day, the order went out to release them on January 2, 1945, even with the war not over, and many months left until the US utilized the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war in August 1945.

The memory of this injustice and violation of civil liberties should not be forgotten at a time when we have so many Islamic haters who wish to deny all Muslims in this country what all American are entitled to–basic freedoms, without any denial unless it can be proved that they are, as individuals, involved in terrorist or other criminal activity.

The Bill of Rights must be preserved, or our democracy is a mockery!