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Japanese "relocation", not internment.

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters

Submitted by Wallace Edward Brand (United States), Apr 17, 2009 at 16:43

Japanese aliens were interned during WWII, but American citizens of Japanese ethnicity were asked to move away from the West Coast, and if they could not find a place to go they were housed in "relocation camps" from which they could come and go at will. Many young people from those camps attended colleges and universities.

The real reason for the relocation could not be revealed during WWII at the time of the Executive Order requiring relocation and did not become known until many years later. It was never widely publicized. It was because the reason became known to the US from cracking the Japanese Purple Code and its Diplomatic Code. Cracking these codes gave the US an immeasurable advantage during WWII, particularly at one of the great naval battles, Battle of Midway, which we won decisively. Letting it be known that there was a plan to recruit nisei and sansei Japanese (2nd and 3rd generation who were citizens of the US) to engage in a large scale spying operation on the West Coast, knowledge of which had been gained from Japanese code intercepts, would have lost the US the advantages it gained from being able to know in advance Japanese war plans. The Japanese would have adopted new codes.

"The Battle of Midway, fought over and near the tiny U.S. mid-Pacific base at Midway atoll, represents the strategic high water mark of Japan's Pacific Ocean war. Prior to this action, Japan possessed general naval superiority over the United States and could usually choose where and when to attack. After Midway, the two opposing fleets were essentially equals, and the United States soon took the offensive." "Japanese Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto moved on Midway in an effort to draw out and destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet's aircraft carrier striking forces, which had embarassed the Japanese Navy in the mid-April Doolittle Raid on Japan's home islands and at the Battle of Coral Sea in early May. He planned to quickly knock down Midway's defenses, follow up with an invasion of the atoll's two small islands and establish a Japanese air base there. He expected the U.S. carriers to come out and fight, but to arrive too late to save Midway and in insufficient strength to avoid defeat by his own well-tested carrier air power." "Yamamoto's intended surprise was thwarted by superior American communications intelligence, which deduced his scheme well before battle was joined. This allowed Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, to establish an ambush by having his carriers ready and waiting for the Japanese. On 4 June 1942, in the second of the Pacific War's great carrier battles, the trap was sprung.

The perserverance, sacrifice and skill of U.S. Navy aviators, plus a great deal of good luck on the American side, cost Japan four irreplaceable fleet carriers, while only one of the three U.S. carriers present was lost. The base at Midway, though damaged by Japanese air attack, remained operational and later became a vital component in the American trans-Pacific offensive." For a discussion of this as well as some of the intercepts showing this plan, see: David D. Lowman, Former Special Assistant to the Director, National Security Agency, "MAGIC: The Untold Story of U.S. Intelligence and the Evacuation of Japanese Residents from the West Coast during WW II", Athena Press http://www.athenapressinc.com/ "A year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a select group of cryptanalysts working in the Army's Signal Intelligence Service broke Japan's highest-level diplomatic code. The messages they recovered from this effort, cover-named MAGIC, revealed the existence of widespread Japanese espionage networks along the West Coast of the United States."

"Using reproductions of the MAGIC messages, David Lowman paints a compelling picture of the wartime situation which led President Roosevelt to order the unfortunate evacuation of all residents of Japanese ancestry from America's vital and vulnerable West Coast." "Forty years after the fact a group of Japanese-Americans, in an effort to obtain punitive damages from the U.S. government, convinced Congress and the American public that the evacuation was not the result of military necessity but that it was the result of "racism, war hysteria and a lack of political will." More than 82,000 former evacuees were paid $20,000 in addition to compensation previously received." "Former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa, a Japanese-American, felt that this "wolf-pack of dissident young Japanese-Americans" was making an unconscionable raid upon the U.S. Treasury.

He, in turn, was called a banana, yellow on the outside and white on the inside." "Lowman reveals in this book for the first time how this group ignored declassified intelligence that supported the governmentĂ­s actions even as they fabricated evidence to support their own cause." "In addition to providing copies of the MAGIC intercepts that first revealed the existence of a widespread domestic Japanese threat, Lowman provides reproductions of declassified reports from three U.S. intelligence organizations that were charged with discovering the true scope of the problem the United States faced." "These reports discuss the use of U.S. based Japanese businesses, societies, churches, language schools, clubs, fishing boats, labor unions and individuals in the Japanese war effort.

Like Germany, Japan believed in total intelligence and, according to one estimate by an intelligence officer sympathetic to Japanese residents, the loyalty to the United States of about a fifth of the Japanese population could not be trusted." "Lowman's book, which is published posthumously, is sure to reopen the debate concerning America's actions during WW II. In doing so, it will inevitably help restore the reputations of our wartime leaders and the honor of our country." "No one is better qualified to tell this story than David D. Lowman, a former high ranking intelligence officer with the National Security Agency, a specialist on World War II signal intelligence and a participant in the congressional hearing and court cases relating to this issue."

I bought a copy. I read it. I was convinced. Daniel Pipes and Michelle Malkin are right when they suggest that the Japanese relocation plan may not have been a terrible mistake.

Submitting....

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