Today celebrates the 75 th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelts signing of the executive heads ordering that approved the internment of 120, 000 soldiers, women, and children of Japanese descent during World War II. As we contemplate the actions of the Trump administration in matters pertaining to national security, it is imperative that we remember and reflect upon this lesson from the past.
In the immediate the consequences of the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor on December 7, 1941, there was no clamor for the mass internment of persons of Japanese descent. To the contrary, shortly after Pearl harbor, Attorney General Francis Biddle insured the nation that there would be no indiscriminate, large-scale attacks on such people, and Congressman John M. Coffee uttered his fervent said he hoped that residents of the United States of Japanese extraction will not be made the victim of persecutions directed by self-proclaimed patriots.
In the weeks that followed, nonetheless, a is asking for the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestrycitizens and non-citizens alike explosion along the West Coast. The reasons for this abrupt outburst of nervousnes were numerous and complex. In component, this demand was fed by panic-driven fears of a possible Japanese invasion of the mainland. Conspiracy beliefs bristled, and neither government nor military officials did anything to lessen these anxieties.
General John L. DeWitt, the top Army commander on the West Coast, reported as true a fabricated report of an imminent insurgency of 20, 000 Japanese Americans in San Francisco. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover publicly dismissed this hysteria as unfounded, and Attorney General Biddle repeatedly reiterated that no person would be detained on the score of nationality alone.
Public agitation for a mass removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry was inflamed, nonetheless, by a California legislative manifesto that claimed to connect the ethnic Japanese with an alleged fifth column, asserting that even ethnic Japanese born in this country are totally unassimilable and insisting that every American of Japanese ancestry had primary allegiance to his Monarch and to Japan.
General John L. DeWitt, the top Army commander on the West Coast, reported as true a fabricated report of an imminent insurgency of 20, 000 Japanese Americans in San Francisco. blockquote >
On January 4, 1942, newspaper columnist Damon Runyon falsely reported that a radio transmitter had been discovered in a rooming house that catered to Japanese tenants. Who could doubt, Runyon asked, the continued existence of enemy agents among the Japanese population? On January 14, Republican Congressman Leland M. Ford necessitated that everything Japanese, whether citizens or not, be placed in inland concentration camps.
Such challenges were further erupted by the Report of the Commission on Pearl harbor, which was secreted on January 25, 1942. Hastily experimented and written, this report falsely asserted that persons of Japanese ancestry had engaged in espionage and facilitated Japans attack on the United States. Although these declarations were unfounded, the report played a key role in turning Americans against Americans. Shortly after the report was secreted, Henry McLemore wrote a tower in the San Fransisco Examiner calling for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast. He added: Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that exits for all of them.
On February 4, California Governor Culbert Olson declared in a radio address that it was much easier to specify the patriotism of Italian and German aliens than of Japanese Americans, and that all Japanese people, I guess, will recognize this information. Californias Governor, the Mayor of Los Angeles, and most members of the West Coast congressional delegations now demanded that all persons of Japanese ancestry be removed from the West Coast.
California Attorney General( and future Supreme Court Justice) Earl Warren argued that, unlike the situation with respect to Germans and Italians, it was simply too difficult to determine which Americans of Japanese ancestry were loyal, and which were not. General DeWitt added that, you neednt worry about the Italians, except in certain cases and the same for the Germans. But a Japs a Jap.
In early February, Attorney General Biddle, refusing growing pres for internment, acquainted President Roosevelt that J. Edgar Hoover reached the conclusion that the demand for mass removal was based on public hysteria and raging misinformation. Biddle added that the Department of Justice would have nothing to do with any mass removal of Japanese Americans.
The public clamor on the West Coast, nonetheless, continued to build. American patriots began to commit ugly acts of vigilantism and vandalism against Japanese Americans and their belonging. On February 19, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Over the next eight months, 120,000 individual members of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were ordered to leave their homes. They were assigned to temporary detention camps, which had been put together in converted race tracks and fairgrounds. Many families lived in crowded mare stalls, often in unsanitary circumstances. Barbed wire barriers and armed guard towers surrounded the compounds.
From there, the internees were being transferred to one of ten permanent internment camp, which were located in separated areas in wind-swept deserts or immense swamplands. Men, women, and children were placed in overcrowded chambers with no furniture other than cots. And there they remained for three years. Many of these families lost all of their belongings, to say nothing of their liberty and their dignity.
American patriots began to commit ugly acts of vigilantism and vandalism against Japanese Americans and their property.
The public the reasons for government decisions, laid out in the Final Report on the Evacuation of the Japanese from the West Coast, was that time was of the essence and that the government had no reasonable mode to distinguish loyal from disloyal persons of Japanese descent. Their respective reports has rightly been criticized as a travesty. It relied upon unsubstantiated and even made assertions.
Why, then, did Roosevelt sign the executive heads ordering? Certainly, public opinion played a key role in his thinking. Although Roosevelt claimed to explain the order to its implementation of armed necessary, there is doubts about that domestic politics played a role in his thinking. 1942 was an election time. Roosevelt was not prepared to stand up to the growing panic, even though he knew it to be based on false information and public hysteria.
In Korematsu v. United States , take a decision on 1944, the Supreme court of the united states, deferring to the judgment of armed sovereignties, upheld the constitutionality of the Japanese internment. In a memorable differ ruling, Justice Frank Murphy courageously declared that no adequate reason is given for the failure to treat these Japanese Americans on an individual basis, as was done in the case of persons of German and Italian ancestry . . . . I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism.
In a separate differ ruling, Justice Robert Jackson insisted that the Court must not falsify the Constitution to approve all that the military forces may deem expedient, adding that once a judicial ruling rationalizes such an ordering to show that it conforms to the Constitution, . . . the relevant principles then lies about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any sovereignty that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.
On February 19, 1976, as part of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Constitution, President Gerald Ford problem Presidential Proclamation 4417, in which he holds the view that, in the spirit of celebrating our Constitution, we must recognize “the member states national” mistakes as well as “the member states national” accomplishments. February 19 th, he memorandum, is the anniversary of a sad era in American history, for it was on that date in 1942 . . . that Executive Order 9066 was issued.
President Ford observed that we now know what we should have known then that the removal and internment of loyal Japanese American citizens was wrong. Ford concluded by calling upon the American people to corroborate with me this American Promise that we have learned from the tragic events of that long-ago knowledge and resolve that this kind of act shall never again be repeated.
In 1983, Congress appointed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to review Executive Order 9066. The Commission unanimously concluded that the factors that influenced the internment decision were race prejudice, crusade hysteria and a failing of political leadership , not any genuine armed necessary. The Commission considered that Congress legislate a seam resolving, to be signed by the President, which recognizes that a mausoleum injustice was done and offers the justifications of the nation for the acts of exclusion, removal and detention.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially declared that the Japanese internment was a grave injustice that was carried out without adequate security reasons and without any documented acts of espionage or sabotage. The Act offered an official Presidential apology and reparations to each of the Japanese-American internees who had suffered discrimination, loss of autonomy, loss of belonging, and personal mortification because of the actions of the United states government government. Over the years, the Supreme Courts decision in Korematsu has become a constitutional pariah.
As we move forward in the face of a chairpeople call for a Muslim ban and who knows what else in the future, it is imperative that we recollect, reflect upon, and persist eternally vigilant against our capabilities to do evil in the name of national security.