1942. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the four term President who lead the United States deeper into the Great Depression and foisted the Ponzi Scheme known Social Security on the American public put the screws to over 100,000 Japanese-Americans.
He signed Executive Order 9066 which dispossessed the Japanese on the West Coast of the US and ordered them transferred to “Internment Camps”. A smaller number of Americans of German and Italian descent were also interned, but it was the Japanese that bore the brunt of the order. They were transferred far from their homes, many, if not most, lost their homes, businesses, and other property. The were interred until December 1944, when they were released to pick up their lives.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a bill into law which apologized and paid compensation for the losses suffered almost 50 years before.
We can argue that in the hysteria following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese that it was reasonable to think that some of those people might be enemy agents. I’ve never read that there were any prosecutions for that, but I do know that there were active Nazi supporters in the US before the country entered the war. In those cases, the FBI investigated and people were prosecuted. As individuals. For specific crimes.
Keep in mind also, that the majority of immigrants to this country were from Germany. Not from Britain, not from France, not from Italy. From Germany. Which would have made rounding up all Americans of German ancestry impossible.
I won’t delve into all of the allegations of racism, because it’s not necessary. Even if there were not racism, it is distinctly Un American to round people up with no proof of wrong doing. Why, we’re told that about people whose coreligionists have conduct several acts of terrorism here in the US and against US interests abroad.
If it’s wrong now, it was wrong then, right?
Ironically, many young Americans who happened to have ancestors from Japan did the last thing I’d do under similar circumstances. The volunteered to join the US Army and fight against the Axis. The US did not use them in the Pacific Theater, although having fluent Japanese speakers might have been helpful. Instead, after training, the 442nd Infantry Regiment went to Italy to fight there.
From mid 1944 until the end of the war the 14,000 men of the unit suffered 9,486 injuries which resulted in Purple Heart awards. Twenty One members of the regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor. It was one of the most decorated American units in Army history. It was staffed by men deemed untrustworthy by the President of the United States.
Think about that next time someone waxes all nostalgic about FDR.