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Internment of American Citizens

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters
in response to reader comment: No racism during Japanese internment?

Submitted by Big Dawg (United States), Mar 6, 2011 at 03:20

There can be no doubt that President Roosevelt was under a considerable amount of pressure to deal with the issue of Japanese Americans during the early years of the war. It appears that he initiated a program of delegation during this period of time which may or may not have been the best option, but with so much going on it made correct political sence. During the course of this delegation of authority it appears that some of the senior military leaders allowed bias opinions and public hysteria to cloud their better judgement resulting in convincing oral arguments to the President as to why 120,000 Japanese Americans should be interned.

The origional blogger is in error when he states that no German or Italian Americans where interned because the truth of the matter is that several thousand did in fact lose their civil liberties but for a much shorter period of time than the Japanese Americans. Furthermore this blogger fails to note as well that the State Department convinced several Latin American Countries to round up Japanese Immigrants and ship them to America whereby they were interned in special camps. This group of internees were in a particularly difficult situation as issues of citizenship came into question after the war and many of the countries from which they came did not welcome them back. We also know from research that President Roosevelt had begun considering internment as far back as August of 1936 refuting an assertion that this was a spur of the moment decision after Pearl Harbor. It is easy now to judge the actions of leaders in the past when we view their decisions from the safety of today but the real question that begs to be asked is if we have truely learned from this tragic aspect of American History? President Roosevelt also based his preliminary decisions based on transcripts of military intercepts of Japanese dilomatic transmissions known as MAGIC beginning in 1940 which clearly indicated the intentions to recruite and formulate fifth colume organizations. While nothing appears to have materialized from these ideals, Germany was much more pro-active in this regard, landing several sabatours on the American East Coast by U-Boats.

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