On February 19, 1942, one of America's so-called greatest presidents signed off on an order that may have been America's (and Canada's) most horrible dark, little crimes conveniently swept under the proverbial historical rug.
Yes... there's the shameful treatment of North America's native American and Inuit nations, as well as what was done to Australia's Aboriginal peoples, or Central and South American Aztec, Inca, Mayan.. etc... and heck, let's not forget Japan and it's Ainu people... oops... almost forgot that whole slavery misunderstanding.
To be clear, that was a bit of sarcasm.
But all of the above shameful acts were merely the subjugation of countries and people doing bad stuff to others who were not of their country...
But on February 19, 1942... regardless if you were a full-blown American (or Canadian) citizen... if you were a yellow-skinned nip (Japanese), regardless of how long you had been a citizen... born there... parents born there... you were now an official enemy of the State.
Why? Because the United States was at war after being forced into WWII when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in the still independent country of Hawaii.
I get it - Japan very bad. Let's gett'em back for that cowardly attack. I get it. No argument. I would feel the same if something like that happened in Canada in 2017.
I felt the same way when the U.S. felt the terrorist attacks on 9-11 back in 2001. Go get'em guys!
But get whom? The U.S.... if they really wanted to be correct back after 9-11... well... weren't most of those terrorists from the UAE? No... can't attack them... we need the oil... and besides... these terrorists belonged to a group... not a country. Tough one.
But Japan attacking Pearl Harbor... that's the Japanese attacking... ergo, anyone who is Japanese is our enemy.
That makes sense.
So what the fug is Executive Order 9066?
This order, signed by Unites States president Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the U.S. Secretary of War to name certain areas a military zone... (like say in 2017, we turn Delaware into a military zone)... because we need to create concentration camps to keep an eye on all those enemy Japanese, Germans and Italians... including those who might be citizens of the United States, but have a background - say a father, mother, grandfather, great grandfather et al who was Japanese, German or Italian.
Hmm... internment camps for American citizens of Japanese, German or Italian heritage?
Well... since entering WWII, the U.S. and her allies were fighting against three main antagonists: Japan, Germany, and Italy (hey - who'sa winnin' da war? We're on dat side!" - again, I'm being sarcastic).
Now... as we are all fully aware... German-Americans and Italian-Americans (in the U.S.) and German-Canadians and Italian-Canadians (in Canada) at no time ever were they placed within an internment camp, losing jobs, homes, property... though I imagine they took their fair share of prejudicial abuse from the so-called White America and White Canada.
Stoopid wops! Dirty krauts!
No... for some reason... the Italians and Germans of American descent (and Canadian - I'm not letting Canada off the hook for its disgraceful behavior merely because it was just following the U.S.'s orders) - they were treated differently by White America and Canada...
Which I find interesting, as many Italian friends of mine discuss race as though Italians and their often darker complexion - are not White. Interesting. Do "White" non-Italian people know this?
Then again... that's a few people... and not the majority...
So... why did the United States (and Canada) decide to go through with efforts to place the visible minority Japanese into internment camps?
Racial profiling... yes... but it's as simple as the fact that it was a skin color thing...
But then why not the Chinese?
It would be more difficult to do that to Chinese-Americans only because China was not the enemy of the U.S.
Still... the point the U.S. was making was that since it was at war with Japan... and it was concerned about Americans of Japanese descent acting as spies for Japan (even if they had never been to Japan and were full-blown Babe Ruth-lovin' American citizens)... well... better safe than sorry, right... better to get rid of the entire threat now than suffer consequences afterwards.
Here's what Executive Order 9066 was:
Executive Order No. 9066Right... so fug the U.S. Constitution. Which is fine... the United States had been hypocritical since it dare uttered the words:
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.
I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area here in above authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas here under.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The White House,
February 19, 1942.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
As long as you weren't no Nip or Nigger. Chink. Injun.... Spic... Wop. Kike... the list goes on...
It was only since the Civil Rights movements in the 1960s did the United States even begin to try and achieve anything as "WE THE PEOPLE".
Canada was no better. I don't know if any country was any better.
But to do such things to citizens of your own country?
So... less than one month later, U.S. president Roosevelt signed Public Law 503 to enforce his executive order 9066. It took one whole hour of discussion in the U.S. Senate and whew! 30 minutes in the U.S. House Of Representatives for approval - meaning it's not all on the president... it was on a lot of elected officials meant to represent the voice and opinion of its populace...
Law 503 said that violations of military orders was a misdemeanor and punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and one year in prison.
Similar to what Nazi Germany did in rounding up Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals and others for internment in their camps... Japanese Americans were rounded up and sent to internment camps.
Now... Nazi Germany was ruthless, and tried to exterminate a race... the Americans just took away their right to freedom... their only crime having someone in their family born in a country that was now considered their enemy.
Don't people say that loss of freedom is akin to loss of life?
I dunno... I'm asking.
Here's one I don't get... Hawaii, was a protectorate of the United States... and was still a separate country... but maybe it wasn't... it's like when Miss Puerto Rico wins a Miss Universe contest, the United States likes to claim that victory for itself... all one big happy family... right, hombre?
Anyhow... at the time of WWII's beginnings, the population of Hawaii consisted of 40% Japanese people.... so... what happened re: internment?
Only a few thousand Japanese were interned in camps in Hawaii... the rest were left alone.
Across the U.S... of the 100,000+ people of Japanese ancestry interned... 70,000 were actual full-blown American citizens. Of the rest... many had lived in the U.S. for anywhere up to 50 years... which (I wonder) beggars the question... why the heck didn't those people become citizens? Not that it would have mattered.
Did you know that no Japanese American citizen or Japanese national residing in the United States was ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage - of course...that doesn't mean they weren't sabotaging or spying...
As for what I said about Germans and Italians not being treated the same as Japanese of American decent - it is true... but I did hear that 11,000 people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees
Jews? Sure... The interned Jewish refugees came from Germany, as the U.S. government did not differentiate between ethnic Jews and ethnic Germans (the term "Jewish" was defined as a religious practice, not an ethnicity).
So I was wrong... about the German- and Italian-Americans being interned... except why not all Italian Americans and all German Americans?
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
(Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey)
Sure, Simon & Garfunkel... just not during WWII... in 1942, while Japanese Americans were being put in what was effectively a prison, Joe, an American of Italian decent, hit .305, had 114 RBIs, and 21 HRs for the New York Yankees.
I'm not saying that's DiMaggio's fault... I'm just saying that the same rules did not apply for citizens of the United States, implying some citizens were considered less citizen-like than others.
Okay - that's all for now... oh:
On December 1944, President Roosevelt suspended Executive Order 9066. Internees were released, often to resettlement facilities and temporary housing, and the internment camps were shut down by 1946.
Those who had been interned were released to discover they had lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings.
U. S. President Gerald Ford rescinded Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1976... and U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create a study of Executive Order 9066, related wartime orders, and their impact on Japanese American.
Released in December of 1982, the study said that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity. The report determined that the decision to incarcerate was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership".
So... Ford and Carter were better at protecting the civil rights of American citizens that the great FDR?
Apology letters and reparation payments were finally offered up in the 1990s...
here ya go... welcome to America... start rebuilding your life... nearly 40 years too late...
Hope everyone enjoyed President's Day in the U.S. It was Family Day in most of Canada. Monday for most everyone else.