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Source: (consider it) Thread: Manzanar
Gramps49
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There is so much to say about these pictures.


First of all, there had been an internment camp near where I grew up. It was between Jerome, Idaho and Eden,Idaho called the Mindoka Camp. Nearly 9,000 people were interned there. Many of the people that were interned there were from the Seatle and Portland areas. Growing up the camp was a part of our local history. I have visited the site several times. It is always haunting.

Second, when we lived in California we were near the Manzanar site. We would drive by it every time we traveled between California and Idaho. The first time we went by it, my wife wondered what it was. When I told her it had been a Japanese American Internment Camp, she was scandalized! My wife had grown up on the East Coast so she had never heard of such a thing.

Now that Trump is elected, there are some who want him to set up such camps in particular for undocumented residents. He claims he wants to round up three million people who have committed crimes, but there are 13 million undocumented people in the US--and not all of them are Mexican or South American.

I hope it does not come to this. I wish I could say Never Again

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Pangolin Guerre
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That's a very moving collection. And chilling.

I share your sense of "Dear Lord, not again" foreboding, but I take consolation in my belief that Trump will not finish his four years, either for legal reasons, or he'll leave out of boredom. On the other hand, internment is one of those things that gathers a momentum of its own, so even if Trump is absent, the machinery would chug along. "Well, since we're already doing it...."

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cliffdweller
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My son went on a field trip to Manzanar where they spent the night. They tried to recreate as best as possible in a small way the experience, so they only told the kids they were going to spend the night at school before leaving on a field trip. They woke them up very early in the morning, took all of their most cherished possessions away (of course they got them back afterwards) and drove them into the desert w/o explanation. It was a very very powerful and moving experience for him.

A bit of context for non-Americans: The really scary thing is that one of Trump's staffers actually cited the internment camps positively as a rationale/precedent for "detaining" Muslim immigrants. The huge disconnect and lack of awareness is probably the scariest thing (among so many other scary things) about Trump's presidency. [Tear]

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Kelly Alves

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The little boy in the school bus is headed for Tanforan Internment Center, which had been racetrack stables, and which now is a trendy galleria type mall. It is about 15 minutes away from where I live.

Inside the mall is a photo mural splashed on one wall pretty much celebrating Gold Rush era white people history. Directly outside the Mall Entrance is a huge bronze statue to ( good grief) Seabiscuit. Yes, the damn horse.

No offense to the horse, but that damn chunk of metal has been part of the Mall since it was built in the 50's. Yep, you got it, they skipped right over Tanforan's internment history to celebrate the race track.

It wasn't till the 90's that the mall was remodeled, and former internees used that window of opportunity to demand an historical marker to designate Tanforan as a former internment site. It is a sizable rock garden, some what similar to a Zen garden, and the plaque describing the center is mounted on a large granite rock.

[ 09. December 2016, 21:17: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
A bit of context for non-Americans: The really scary thing is that one of Trump's staffers actually cited the internment camps positively as a rationale/precedent for "detaining" Muslim immigrants. The huge disconnect and lack of awareness is probably the scariest thing (among so many other scary things) about Trump's presidency. [Tear]

Link added.

Why are you so sure that Carl Higbie suffers a "disconnect" or a "lack of awareness"? We should at least entertain the possibility that Trump's supporters actually mean what they say.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
The little boy in the school bus is headed for Tanforan Internment Center, which had been racetrack stables, and which now is a trendy galleria type mall. It is about 15 minutes away from where I live.

Inside the mall is a photo mural splashed on one wall pretty much celebrating Gold Rush era white people history. Directly outside the Mall Entrance is a huge bronze statue to ( good grief) Seabiscuit. Yes, the damn horse.

No offense to the horse, but that damn chunk of metal has been part of the Mall since it was built in the 50's. Yep, you got it, they skipped right over Tanforan's internment history to celebrate the race track.

It wasn't till the 90's that the mall was remodeled, and former internees used that window of opportunity to demand an historical marker to designate Tanforan as a former internment site. It is a sizable rock garden, some what similar to a Zen garden, and the plaque describing the center is mounted on a large granite rock.

Santa Anita racetrack-- 15 min. from my house-- was also an internment site, and similarly has a fancy upscale mall attached. We don't have a Seabiscuit statue-- but we don't have a memorial either. I love this idea. Perhaps time for the San Gabriel valley to follow suit.

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Pangolin Guerre
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As to Kelly Alves's story about the mall, it reminds a bit of (on a very different scale, and intent), of an article that I read many years ago, something like Commerce at Auschwitz. Anything for a buck.

What I don't understand is that if the Republicans are serious about interning and then deporting (to where? the home countries might not take them back) all the undocumented labour, who will pick the strawberries for Trump's morning smoothie, or do the housekeeping in that vulgar palace? He will purchase smaller profit margins at the cost of grossly immoral behaviour. And he's a capitalist? I find the crosscurrents boggling. Not to mention the utterly disgusting behaviour of treating them as politically conveniently disposable.

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Kaplan Corday
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Is it possible to put aside for a moment questions of the likelihood, practicability and morality of internment camps under Trump, and think about definitions?

The OP seems to refer to two different categories.

Those interned during WWII by the US and other Western Allies had not committed any crime.

In practice, the conditions they suffered might have been unacceptable, and the criteria used to select them might have been questionable (in the UK, anti-fascist Jews were interned simply because they were German nationals).

However the principle - that of isolating potential collaborators in the special conditions of war - was unexceptionable, and is not condemned in cases such as that of Oswald Mosley.

Illegal residents are another matter, and whether they should be interned - and if not, what, if anything, should be done about them - is also a separate issue.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
However the principle - that of isolating potential collaborators in the special conditions of war - was unexceptionable, and is not condemned in cases such as that of Oswald Mosley.

Just to clarify - you're not suggesting that interning someone on the basis that they support fascism is equivalent to interning someone on the basis that they were born in Germany (or Japan or wherever)?

[ 10. December 2016, 04:10: Message edited by: mdijon ]

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Kelly Alves

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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Santa Anita racetrack-- 15 min. from my house-- was also an internment site, and similarly has a fancy upscale mall attached. We don't have a Seabiscuit statue-- but we don't have a memorial either. I love this idea. Perhaps time for the San Gabriel valley to follow suit.

I guess that makes sense-- if they built housing on former internment center land, you can bet Japanese ghosts would be lining up to haunt the $@& out of them. It would make Ju-on look like a Hallmark holiday special.

[ 10. December 2016, 04:11: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
In practice, the conditions they suffered might have been unacceptable, and the criteria used to select them might have been questionable

"Might have been"? You're not sure?
quote:
However the principle - that of isolating potential collaborators in the special conditions of war - was unexceptionable, and is not condemned in cases such as that of Oswald Mosley.

The principle was that they were of Japanese ancestry. Was Mosley interned because of his race?
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Gramps49
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The act of being present in the United States in violation of the immigration laws is not, standing alone, a crime. While federal immigration law does criminalize some actions that may be related to undocumented presence in the United States, undocumented presence alone is not a violation of federal criminal law.

It is the Trump people that are saying the United States should intern undocumented people "just like we did in World War II."

Curiously, as states are de-licensing privately run Correctional Institutions, those companies are now turning to the federal government, offering to "intern" undocumented residents--and they see this as a cash cow because our current immigration courts are so overwhelmed, it would take years to out-process them all.

And, like the interning of the Nisei in WWII, the interning of undocumented workers now will be largely on the basis of the color of their skin.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
However the principle - that of isolating potential collaborators in the special conditions of war - was unexceptionable, and is not condemned in cases such as that of Oswald Mosley.

Even if this is true - and I am very dubious - in a nation of immigrants you cannot identify "potential collaborators" based on ancestry.

It was racism, pure and simple. If it hadn't been, all my German-speaking pacifist relatives would have been locked up.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Was Mosley interned because of his race?

Mosley's case is interesting.

He was, of course, an anti-Semitic arsehole, and because of that very few have criticised his internment, but whether or not he was a traitor is another question.

In fact, during the early years of the war there was as much, and possibly more, justification for jailing Stalinists as for jailing Mosley.

I used to know a man, a skilled fitter and turner, who worked in a British aircraft factory during WWII.

He told me that until June 1941, because the shop stewards were communists and obeyed Moscow's orders to accept the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, there was constant disruption of the production process, but that after June 1941 the place ran itself like clockwork.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
It was racism, pure and simple.

As Oscar Wilde said, the truth is rarely pure and never simple.

No doubt there was an element of racism as regards the Japanese in the US, but if Allied internment policy had been based consistently on racial considerations, the anti-fascist Jews I referred to above would have been welcomed into the war effort instead of locked up - and in some cases, shipped out to Australia!

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mdijon
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There's nothing pure and simple about your answer either.

Clarify: locking people up because they are fascists is the same as locking people up because of where they were born?

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Lyda*Rose

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And not just where they were born but where their ancestors were born in the case of the Japanese-American citizens.

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Barnabas62
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The law is a mess in this area. The evolution of combat away from nation states and towards ideologies has left all the historical conventions and practices towards the justification for internment out of date. What is clear is that internment was applied to foreign nationals whose country was at war with the state practising internment. Race and/or religion were not in themselves justification to inter anyone.

What also remains as a bottom line is that a nation state has the right of self defence. The paradox is that it may see the need to reduce civil rights for safety reasons.

I'm not sure where any of this is going, but I'm concerned about the key Trump appointments.

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cliffdweller
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The Japanese internment was about three things: fear (immediately flowed Pearl Harbor), racism (pure and simple) and greed. There were huge agribusiness interests I the San Joaquin valley who quietly pushed for the internment, then profited hugely by buying up properties lost thru unpaid taxes

The scary thing is all 3 conditions are ripe now again

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
What is clear is that internment was applied to foreign nationals whose country was at war with the state practising internment.

62% of the 110,000-120,000 people of Japanese ancestry interned by the US were US citizens
quote:
Race and/or religion were not in themselves justification to inter anyone.
And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?
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Prester John
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?

Also per Wikipedia 36% of the interred were ethnically German and the War Department did consider the same treatment to German and Italian ethnics but realized it was impractical.

Reference here because for some reason I couldn't embed the link in the above paragraph.

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?

Also per Wikipedia 36% of the interred were ethnically German and the War Department did consider the same treatment to German and Italian ethnics but realized it was impractical.

Reference here because for some reason I couldn't embed the link in the above paragraph.

Again - this is wrong. From your reference:
quote:
A total of 11,507 people of German ancestry were interned during the war. They comprised 36.1% of the total internments under the US Justice Department's Enemy Alien Control Program.
That's not the program used for 110,000-120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry; that was Executive Order 9066 :
quote:
Executive Order 9066, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized military commanders to designate "military areas" at their discretion, "from which any or all persons may be excluded." These "exclusion zones," unlike the "alien enemy" roundups, were applicable to anyone that an authorized military commander might choose, whether citizen or non-citizen.
People with Japanese ancestry were treated very differently from those of German ancestry.
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Prester John
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quote:

And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?

This is what you stated in response to Barnabas' quote that interring based upon race was not justification to inter anyone. I pointed out that there were plenty of Germans, including US citizens who were interred. Moreover, according to the link I provided they considered similar treatment to Germans and Italians but couldn't - not because they didn't want to lock up white people - but because it was impractical considering the numbers involved.
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
What is clear is that internment was applied to foreign nationals whose country was at war with the state practising internment.

62% of the 110,000-120,000 people of Japanese ancestry interned by the US were US citizens
Which I did know. The "round up" of "foreign nationals" was more based on national origins than present nationalised status. "Foreign national" was loosely applied in practice, often unjustly. All of that has to be seen in the post-Pearl-Harbour context, the political and public reactions. Internment is not a purist process. It certainly wasn't in the UK. I grew up knowing close family friends of my parents who emigrated to the UK from Germany in between the wars. Heard some internment stories from them. Many were not edifying.

quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Race and/or religion were not in themselves justification to inter anyone.

And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?
Pearl Harbour.

[ 10. December 2016, 16:17: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
quote:
And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?

This is what you stated in response to Barnabas' quote that interring based upon race was not justification to inter anyone. I pointed out that there were plenty of Germans, including US citizens who were interred.
"Plenty"? 11,000, of whom the the overwhelming majority were German nationals, vs. >100,000 (out of a much smaller population), of whom 62% were American citizens.
quote:
Moreover, according to the link I provided they considered similar treatment to Germans and Italians but couldn't - not because they didn't want to lock up white people - but because it was impractical considering the numbers involved.
That's not what your link says - it says they considered it, and that it would have been impractical. I don't believe for an instant that anyone would have considered treating German-Americans in a similar fashion, regardless of practicality.
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
What is clear is that internment was applied to foreign nationals whose country was at war with the state practising internment.

62% of the 110,000-120,000 people of Japanese ancestry interned by the US were US citizens
Which I did know. The "round up" of "foreign nationals" was more based on national origins than present nationalised status. "Foreign national" was loosely applied in practice, often unjustly.
If by "loosely" you mean "in an obviously racist fashion", I wish you'd say so. Otherwise, I have to reject this characterization of US policy. The US is a nation of immigrants; if "foreign nationals" doesn't mean "citizens of a foreign country" but rather "sometimes US citizens too, depending on what they look like" it really doesn't mean anything.

After Pearl Harbor, the US immediately turned towards the European theater; but despite heavy loses there and even actual German espionage attacks in New York and Florida, nothing even remotely close to this treatment was applied to German-Americans.

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Kelly Alves

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quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
quote:

And yet millions of German-Americans went happily about their business during the war. What do you suppose made the difference?

This is what you stated in response to Barnabas' quote that interring based upon race was not justification to inter anyone. I pointed out that there were plenty of Germans, including US citizens who were interred. Moreover, according to the link I provided they considered similar treatment to Germans and Italians but couldn't - not because they didn't want to lock up white people - but because it was impractical considering the numbers involved.
There were some German nationals interred, but there was not nearly the kind of focused campaign to get an entire group of people removed from public life and encarcerated with them as there was with Japanese Americans.

"Practical" or no, xenophobia was at the root of the campaign against the Japanese in the US. Germans had simply been a part of the New England European starter set from the 1700's, and therefore internment of German nationals happened more selectively. (You can see a blond kid or two in Lange's photos, but
note you have to really look for them. )

Most Americans no doubt had a faulty image of Japanese people as recent arrivals in the 1930's.( I certainly did.) This false belief coupled with the alarming activity of the Japanese army meant the European majority in the US could be talked into this idea that Japanese people were strategically immigrating in the service of increasing the Emperor's dominion. I remember arguing down this exact theory with an older relative in my teens.

Like I said, I thought early 20th century immigration was the beginning of Japanese history in America. Then I went to a little town called Pescadero, CA, and found a tiny section in the historic cemetery comprised of Japanese names. I assumed they were late arrival "coolie" workers and let it go. When I actually researched the matter, I discovered that at the time of the internment Pescadero had an established "Japan Town" that had been there since the early 180O's. They had come over on Italian and Portuguese commercial ships as crew mates, had stayed and established farms and businesses right alongside their European counterparts, and by the time of the internment had huge farms established and thriving, along with a one block stretch of downtown that had stores, a cultural society, and even a karate dojo.

Further research reveals a lot of the West Coast was like Pescadero, in terms of having second and third generation Japanese Americans at the time of the internment.

So, "there were too many American nationals among them " and "They were assimilated into the general population" should apply here, too-- only it didn't. The fact that all of the land and businesses left behind by the internees wound up in the hands of people of European descent gives a big hint why that was.

(A couple asides-- one of my peers once tried to convince me that Japanese internees were luckier than people with German names in WW2, because the Germans were unprotected from harassment. Hogwash.Yes, people harassed German Americans in WW2-- heck, my great grandmother hid her origins after she acquired an English surname--but Entemann's bakery still exists today, and I only have to drive 10 minutes to find a German restaurant that has been here since the 1800's. Japanese people had their houses, their livelihoods, and all of their contributions to American culture destroyed. I think the last one is the most shameful.

Also, something occurred to me as I kept typing this or that -American. You hear just about every combination- African American, Chinese American, Scottish, Irish, etc. In my entire life, I have never heard someone describe themselves as English American. Yes, that might be a colonial residue, but that only explains so much. It's like the default setting for American is British. Even when we were actual colonies that wasn't the case. But I think that hierarchy of "real Americans " has impacted a lot more than you might think.)

[ 11. December 2016, 00:11: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Also, something occurred to me as I kept typing this or that -American. You hear just about every combination- African American, Chinese American, Scottish, Irish, etc. In my entire life, I have never heard someone describe themselves as English American.

That reminds me of a quote from that CIA film with Matt Damon - the Good Shepherd.


quote:
Joseph Palmi: Let me ask you something... we Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the niggers, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you have?

Edward Wilson: The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.



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churchgeek

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
And not just where they were born but where their ancestors were born in the case of the Japanese-American citizens.

This quote from the web page in the OP is telling:
quote:


“The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on American soil, possessed of American citizenship, have be come ‘Americanized,’ the racial strains are undiluted.

"…It, therefore, follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity.

"The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.”

— General John L. DeWitt, head of the U.S. Army’s Western Defense Command

That last part is mind-boggling: The fact that they haven't done anything yet is proof that they will?

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Barnabas62
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Of course racism has a component part to play in visceral fear of the "other". And of course racism and antipathy towards folks from other countries are connected.

But I think you are misreading the history. The trigger in the USA was Pearl Harbour. In the UK the intensification of internment occurred after the end of the phony war. There was a response to real objective dangers from foreign powers. Some of that response went down prejudiced roads. That wasn't right.

But we weren't there. There is anachronism in applying the best values which exist today to the behaviour which occurred then and labelling that behaviour as motivated primarily by racism. Fear and self-preservation were in play.

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Prester John
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
[QB] There were some German nationals interred, but there was not nearly the kind of focused campaign to get an entire group of people removed from public life and encarcerated with them as there was with Japanese Americans.

"Practical" or no, xenophobia was at the root of the campaign against the Japanese in the US. Germans had simply been a part of the New England European starter set from the 1700's, and therefore internment of German nationals happened more selectively. (You can see a blond kid or two in Lange's photos, but
note you have to really look for them. )
[QB]

Note: I'm not quoting most of your post because I don't disagree with it, except the last paragraph which covers a topic a bit more complex than what you presented. Not that I'm accusing you of over-simplifying it.

I can tell you from my family's experience they didn't need to as much because that was already accomplished in WWI. My family was among the first settlers in Pennsylvania and had even served in the Continental Army in the Revolution. No matter. They still received backlash as primarily German speakers even though Germany had not even existed as a country when they came over. The country went through a spasm of anti-German fervor with place names being changed and incarcerations solely because of ethnicity. My great grandmother's generation was the last to speak their mother tongue. The government's job was mostly finished by the time WWII came. BTW- German immigration was mostly to the Mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest, not New England.

Sorry- can't get the code just right on your quote.

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Of course racism has a component part to play in visceral fear of the "other". And of course racism and antipathy towards folks from other countries are connected.

Oh FFS. They weren't "folks from other countries" - 62% were American citizens.
quote:
But we weren't there. There is anachronism in applying the best values which exist today to the behaviour which occurred then and labelling that behaviour as motivated primarily by racism. Fear and self-preservation were in play.

"The best values which exist today"? This is wrong on two counts. First, the internment isn't something done in the misty past by strange people whose motives we can't really comprehend; there are people alive now who lived through it. And second, excusing such things because of "fear" simply greases the skids for currently existing racists and bigots who will be more than happy to whip up the same reactions today.
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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
The country went through a spasm of anti-German fervor with place names being changed and incarcerations solely because of ethnicity.

Do you have a reference for incarcerations of German-Americans solely because of ethnicity?
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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But we weren't there. There is anachronism in applying the best values which exist today to the behaviour which occurred then and labelling that behaviour as motivated primarily by racism. Fear and self-preservation were in play.

Those same values existed then, and some were brave enough to say so.

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Also, something occurred to me as I kept typing this or that -American. You hear just about every combination- African American, Chinese American, Scottish, Irish, etc. In my entire life, I have never heard someone describe themselves as English American.

That reminds me of a quote from that CIA film with Matt Damon - the Good Shepherd.


quote:
Joseph Palmi: Let me ask you something... we Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the niggers, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you have?

Edward Wilson: The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.


Holy shit. [Disappointed]

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"Take your broken heart, make it into art"-- Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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Gramps49
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Mu father in law was a coast watcher in New Jersey during WWII. I remember him saying they were quite concerned German nationalists would try to signal German U-boats off the coast.

It is my impression, there was more danger from German nationalists on the East Coast than there was from any Nisei on the West Coast. It is my understanding only about nine Japanese subs were ever stationed along the West Coast with only one land attack from one of the subs near Santa Barbara-

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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This is anecdotal, but it illustrates the difference in how Americans with Japanese ancestry and those with German ancestry were treated. My family is entirely Russian Mennonite of German-Dutch extraction. My paternal grandfather was born here but spoke German at home, and my grandmother, born in Russia, mainly spoke German. During World War II, in California's San Joaquin Valley, they basically babysat a farm for a Japanese-American family who was interred -- they worked the farm, paid the taxes -- and saved enough money so that when the Japanese-American family returned to their farm, my grandparents were able to make the down payment on a farm of their own.

There were lots of German-speaking Mennonites in the San Joaquin Valley, people with their own churches and even their own schools. (Public school was okay for my dad and his sister to a point, but my grandparents scraped together the money for private Mennonite high school.) These were people who not only spoke the language of the enemy as their first language, they were pacifists, so they didn't fight in the war.

I know of just one relative who fought in World War II -- my grandmother's brother, who went from the U.S. to Germany and joined the army of a country he'd never even lived in to fight against Stalin, because he hated Stalin for the suffering the family had undergone in Russia in the 1920s. And yet no one came around to interview my grandmother and find out if she shared his views, never mind to round her up and inter her in a camp for the duration of the war.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
There were some German nationals interred, but there was not nearly the kind of focused campaign to get an entire group of people removed from public life and encarcerated with them as there was with Japanese Americans.

And a few Americans of German ancestry as well. The distinction is that they were all known Nazi sympathizers, active in organizations like the German American Bund. None of them were imprisoned solely because they were a member of "an enemy race" in the words of General DeWitt. (BTW, I'd contend that the concept of "an enemy race" is inherently racist, though others seem to disagree.)

quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
Most Americans no doubt had a faulty image of Japanese people as recent arrivals in the 1930's.( I certainly did.) This false belief coupled with the alarming activity of the Japanese army meant the European majority in the US could be talked into this idea that Japanese people were strategically immigrating in the service of increasing the Emperor's dominion. I remember arguing down this exact theory with an older relative in my teens.

Like I said, I thought early 20th century immigration was the beginning of Japanese history in America. Then I went to a little town called Pescadero, CA, and found a tiny section in the historic cemetery comprised of Japanese names. I assumed they were late arrival "coolie" workers and let it go. When I actually researched the matter, I discovered that at the time of the internment Pescadero had an established "Japan Town" that had been there since the early 1800's.

The Johnson-Reed Act essentially barred immigration from Japan (or anywhere else in Asia) in 1924, so anyone interred had been in the U.S. for at least 17 years.

quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
I pointed out that there were plenty of Germans, including US citizens who were interred. Moreover, according to the link I provided they considered similar treatment to Germans and Italians but couldn't - not because they didn't want to lock up white people - but because it was impractical considering the numbers involved.

Doesn't this buy into the inherent racism of the argument? In practical terms the presence of several million ethnically German and Italian potential saboteurs and spies would seem like a much more serious problem than a hundred thousand or so ethnic Japanese, many of whom were children. The practical implications of letting these potential spies and saboteurs run loose would seem to dwarf any practical problems involved in imprisoning them all. The only reasonable explanation for the difference would be if Japanese-Americans were considered inherently more traitorous than German-Americans or Italian-Americans, which would seem to be a racist position.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Barnabas62
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Dave W

You misunderstand me. I am no apologist for internment, either historically or as a present possibility. Nor do I have any time for cynical playing on visceral fears as a means of driving through repressive policies. Racism and xenophobia do not produce these visceral fears, they are a consequence of them.

And the primary motivation for promoting internment was and is fear of the enemy within. That fear is always given wings by unexpected attacks. To clarify such fears as primarily racist or xenophobic seems to me to misunderstand them. Of course YMMV but I think that is the only real difference between us.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Dave W

You misunderstand me. I am no apologist for internment, either historically or as a present possibility. Nor do I have any time for cynical playing on visceral fears as a means of driving through repressive policies. Racism and xenophobia do not produce these visceral fears, they are a consequence of them.

And the primary motivation for promoting internment was and is fear of the enemy within. That fear is always given wings by unexpected attacks. To clarify such fears as primarily racist or xenophobic seems to me to misunderstand them. Of course YMMV but I think that is the only real difference between us.

I disagree strongly with this. Anti-asian racism and xenophobia were not caused by the attack on Pearl Harbor; the US had a long history of these attitudes, and I think the differential treatment of German-Americans and Japanese-Americans is a clear illustration of that.

Recall the quote from General DeWitt:
quote:
The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on American soil, possessed of American citizenship, have be come ‘Americanized,’ the racial strains are undiluted.
I do not believe for a moment that DeWitt suddenly came to this view when he heard about Pearl Harbor.

I appreciate that you condone neither racism nor internment, but I think statements like these:
quote:
What is clear is that internment was applied to foreign nationals[sic] whose country was at war with the state practising internment. Race and/or religion were not in themselves justification to inter anyone.

What also remains as a bottom line is that a nation state has the right of self defence. The paradox is that it may see the need to reduce civil rights for safety reasons.[sic]

quote:
There is anachronism in applying the best values which exist today to the behaviour which occurred then and labelling that behaviour as motivated primarily by racism.
surrender far too much ground to the bigots who somehow never feel existentially threatened except by ethnic minorities, and drastically underestimate the effects of bigotry and racism; this is particularly dangerous at a time when the president-elect is about to name a national security adviser who has claimed that Arabic signs were present along the United States border with Mexico to guide potential state-sponsored terrorists and "radicalized Muslims" into the United States.

It's morally dangerous to say it's anachronistic to decry mid-20th century racism during wartime because people were afraid back then. People are afraid now, and will be afraid in the coming months and years when the next San Bernardino or Orlando happens, as it inevitably will; in such circumstances, why would we hold ourselves to any higher standard than that which we would apply to our parents' generation?

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Barnabas62
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I never said Pearl Harbour was the only trigger. Fear of those who are different and are perceived as threatening is instinctive, atavistic, reaching back into genetic survival selection. It manifests itself as prejudice, basically a pre-judging of a threat, based on surface characteristics. Some of that is appearance based, some relates to perception of aggression. We are born from an ancestry which survived such threats from other species, other tribes. It's part of the human condition.

We are right to say such fears can be met by reason, and therefore the essential irrationality of prejudices can be countered by appeals to reason. We can learn to be fairer in our assessment of threats, better at controlling instinctive fears.

But that becomes harder after traumatic events - Pearl Harbour, 9/11 for example - because the news feeds the fear, gives credence to pre-judging prejudices.

I'm not saying this is the only way to look at prejudices such as racism or xenophobia, nor does it represent a complete analysis of their pathology. Some folks seem to need a superior position in a pecking order in order to feel secure. There is probably instinctive behaviour in play there as well.

But I think it is more constructive to look at the underlying pathology rather than just use the labels. The question 'what are you afraid of' opens up doors for dialogue in a way that assertions of prejudice do not.

That can help a lot in any discussions about either the morality or the pragmatic value of internment. To turn Trump on his head, why don't we figure out what the Hell is going on before we give any serious consideration to restricting or violating the civil rights of those who are perceived as different?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I never said Pearl Harbour was the only trigger.

This is just too cute. I asked why there was a difference between the treatment of German-Americans and Japanese-Americans; your two word answer was "Pearl Harbor".
quote:
But I think it is more constructive to look at the underlying pathology rather than just use the labels. The question 'what are you afraid of' opens up doors for dialogue in a way that assertions of prejudice do not.
To the extent that this thread is about Manzanar, I don't think you're going to be having many constructive dialogues with General DeWitt.
quote:
That can help a lot in any discussions about either the morality or the pragmatic value of internment. To turn Trump on his head, why don't we figure out what the Hell is going on before we give any serious consideration to restricting or violating the civil rights of those who are perceived as different?
I don't believe that discussions of the morality or pragmatic value of internment are well served by inaccurate representations of what actually happened. They weren't "foreign nationals"; there weren't "safety reasons" for imprisoning 100,000 people; criticism of mid 20th century racism isn't an "anachronism".

You speak of wanting to look at the "underlying pathology", but it seems to me that by de-emphasizing the underlying racism you're looking away from it. It's not pathological to be afraid of real threats; it's pathological to be afraid and then say
quote:
The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on American soil, possessed of American citizenship, have be come ‘Americanized,’ the racial strains are undiluted.
This wasn't just the immediate reaction of some frightened powerless citizen; this was, essentially, a statement of US government policy from the general in charge of imprisoning a hundred thousand people. There are people today who look at that action and see behavior to be emulated; I think it's important to be clear and accurate in condemning it.
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Albertus
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I don't know the details of all this, but given that the Japanese had attacked US territory, which the Germans and Italians hadn't, a certain amount of panic by the US authorities- they got half way across the Pacific, maybe California's next- might have been understandable. And if I had been in charge of the US's West Coast defences in 1941-2, I wouldn't have taken any chances about possible collaborators in the possible event of a Japanese landing, any more than I would have taken chances with German and Italian Britons if I had been in charge of UK defences in 1940. The practice of how possible enemy aliens were interned is one thing: the principle of it, in wartime, is I think unexceptionable.

[ 11. December 2016, 16:04: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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The notion that the attack on Pearl Harbor meant that Japanese-Americans presented a greater danger than German-Americans ignores threats such as the Duquesne Nazi spy ring, Operation Pastorius, and the U-boats that ranged up and down the east coast -- here is a map of where U-boats were sunk along the east coast.

Moreover, talking about what Americans did to Japanese-Americans and didn't do to German-Americans without any reference to cultural context guarantees a wrong-headed conclusion.

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Kaplan Corday
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Pedantry alert.

There is a difference between inter/interment and intern/internment, unless the former is being used metaphorically.

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
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Wow, I had to scroll and scroll to find the one typo you were talking about.

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"Take your broken heart, make it into art"-- Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
I don't know the details of all this, but given that the Japanese had attacked US territory, which the Germans and Italians hadn't, a certain amount of panic by the US authorities- they got half way across the Pacific, maybe California's next- might have been understandable. And if I had been in charge of the US's West Coast defences in 1941-2, I wouldn't have taken any chances about possible collaborators in the possible event of a Japanese landing, any more than I would have taken chances with German and Italian Britons if I had been in charge of UK defences in 1940. The practice of how possible enemy aliens were interned is one thing: the principle of it, in wartime, is I think unexceptionable.

Speaking in the most cold blooded terms, the most practical reason for targeting Japanese Americans over German Americans was not that one group was more of a threat than the other, but one group was more easily identified in a crowd.

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"Take your broken heart, make it into art"-- Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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Albertus
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Could be, could well be. After all, who's to say just how German someone called Schmidt was?
Occurs to me there's another practical reason for internment: in the event of an invasion, you, as the defenders, can really do without having to be constantly trying to work out whether people who look and maybe sound like the enemy are on your side or not. Better to have them out of the way. So, not a pleasant thing, but then war's not a pleasant thing.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
The notion that the attack on Pearl Harbor meant that Japanese-Americans presented a greater danger than German-Americans ignores threats such as the Duquesne Nazi spy ring, Operation Pastorius, and the U-boats that ranged up and down the east coast -- here is a map of where U-boats were sunk along the east coast.

Moreover, talking about what Americans did to Japanese-Americans and didn't do to German-Americans without any reference to cultural context guarantees a wrong-headed conclusion.

Yes, OK. So consider the cultural context, but also consider what was believed at the time, don't fall into the trap of thinking that a spy ring and enemy submarines operating off your coast is quite the same kind of threat as the perceived threat of an invasion, and don't go back-plotting early C21 attitudes on the mid-C20.

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
So consider the cultural context, but also consider what was believed at the time,

What was believed at the time was that the Japanese were an entirely different race from us white Americans, and the Germans weren't.

quote:
don't fall into the trap of thinking that a spy ring and enemy submarines operating off your coast is quite the same kind of threat as the perceived threat of an invasion,
A real spy ring and real enemy submarines are less serious than a perceived threat of invasion?

quote:
and don't go back-plotting early C21 attitudes on the mid-C20.
What contemporary attitudes am I projecting back onto the mid-20th century?
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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
The practice of how possible enemy aliens were interned is one thing: the principle of it, in wartime, is I think unexceptionable.

Oh for fucks sake, how many times does it have to be said? Most of them were US citizens.
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