Sunday, November 18, 2018

Executive Order 9066: Just One More Cause for Shame



Executive Order 9066

The President Authorizes Japanese Relocation

In an atmosphere of World War II hysteria, President Roosevelt, encouraged by officials at all levels of the federal government, authorized the internment of tens of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, dated February 19, 1942, gave the military broad powers to ban any citizen from a fifty- to sixty-mile-wide coastal area stretching from Washington state to California and extending inland into southern Arizona. The order also authorized transporting these citizens to assembly centers hastily set up and governed by the military in California, Arizona, Washington state, and Oregon. Although it is not well known, the same executive order (and other war-time orders and restrictions) were also applied to smaller numbers of residents of the United States who were of Italian or German descent. For example, 3,200 resident aliens of Italian background were arrested and more than 300 of them were interned. About 11,000 German residents—including some naturalized citizens—were arrested and more than 5000 were interned. Yet while these individuals (and others from those groups) suffered grievous violations of their civil liberties, the war-time measures applied to Japanese Americans were worse and more sweeping, uprooting entire communities and targeting citizens as well as resident aliens.



OK, LET'S ADD SOME TEETH TO THIS NEW DEAL*
On March 21, 1942, Roosevelt signed Public Law 503 (approved after only an hour of discussion in the Senate and thirty minutes in the House) in order to provide for the enforcement of his executive order. Authored by War Department official Karl Bendetsen—who would later be promoted to Director of the Wartime Civilian Control Administration and oversee the incarceration of Japanese Americans—the law made violations of military orders a misdemeanor punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and one year in prison.

EXPERTS RECOMMENDED THAT FDR NOT DO THIS* 
The Munson Report, a private study initiated by FDR to determine whether Japanese-Americans were a threat, determined that there was no need to be concerned. A second investigation started in 1940, written by Naval Intelligence officer Kenneth Ringle and submitted in January 1942, likewise found no evidence of fifth column activity and urged against mass incarceration. Both investigations and recommendations were ignored.


Images on this page are from this book by Maise & Richard Conrat.
Not quite the American Dream.

"There's no place like home?"
Over 100,000 were interred to assuage public fears.
Another example of democracy gone awry?  
Or executive authority overstepping?

*SOURCE: History Matters

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