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Japanese American internment during WWII


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I am Native American. My grandmother was chief of our tribe. We have repeatedly sued the US government to force it to live up to its promises. That said, some tribes are doing much better than others. You should visit the Chickasaws in Oklahoma like I did the week before last. Of course, that is all being built on casino money.

 

I wasn't aiming it at you. I've read your posts before, I was just expanding that it's NOT all about Andrew Jackson.

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I cannot claim to know a lot about the Indian removal. I couldn't give you dates. Some of this has also been a part of the class I'm in right now, but I also heard of Indian removal and treaties growing up, and I've heard of the appalling conditions at reservations currently. But I don't understand how this can be improved or rectified now.

 

I think stopping many of the untruths about it would be a good start.

 

What do you mean, though, by "actual" current events? I'm not sure if you're saying, "You need to keep up with the news," (which I do), or if you're saying, "Not the news you see on tv." You can PM me if you'd rather.

 

I am saying to not believe everything that you read or hear. Seek out a variety of sources for information.

 

I have heard of this. I don't know how this could be improved.

 

I think it really depends upon the tribe.

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I wasn't aiming it at you. I've read your posts before, I was just expanding that it's NOT all about Andrew Jackson.

 

Ah, gotcha. I singled out Andrew Jackson because it is the Executive Branch's job to enforce the laws of our land. He completely failed to do so. He gets a big piece of the blame for the Trail of Tears. But, it is true that there is injustice today. Of course, many of the groups designed to fight for social justice are regularly demonized by some.

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I think stopping many of the untruths about it would be a good start.

 

 

 

I am saying to not believe everything that you read or hear. Seek out a variety of sources for information.

 

 

 

I think it really depends upon the tribe.

 

So, some tribes are prospering? Why are they? How do the prospering tribes view the tribes that are impoverished?

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Ah, gotcha. I singled out Andrew Jackson because it is the Executive Branch's job to enforce the laws of our land. He completely failed to do so. He gets a big piece of the blame for the Trail of Tears. But, it is true that there is injustice today. Of course, many of the groups designed to fight for social justice are regularly demonized by some.

 

I'd love to hear your reading recommendations for a mature 9-10 year, on thus subject. She's read a fair bit, but always looking for more.

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I want to highlight again what Tennessee has done. They have preserved part of the buildings and put up a memorial explaining the camp. My daughter has been to the state camp for a 4H conference and they explained what happened there.

 

This is explained in my previous post which was cut short and then fixed. :glare: Yikes...I need more coffee.

 

They did the same with Manzanar in California, but it's way out in a horrible unpleasant middle of nowhere place where no one ever goes (which was kind of the point), and I'm not sure how many people are really aware of it or go there.

 

It happens to be on a route between our house and my mom's, so I hope to go there next year when we're studying WWII (there's actually a really nice campsite a few miles away, too).

 

It shocks me to find out that people don't know about the internment camps. I feel like I was always aware of them. But most of that at the pre-college level was from independent reading, and I was a WWII buff. I'm pretty sure we were taught about it, but it wasn't focused on, so I suppose it's no big surprise that many people don't know about it.

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So, some tribes are prospering? Why are they? How do the prospering tribes view the tribes that are impoverished?

 

The Chickasaws, specifically, are prospering *mostly* because they have built casinos in the middle of the prairie. They have other investments and properties as well. They re-formed their government in 1983 and have been working together to fight for their rights and help their nation prosper since then. You can learn more about it on their website: http://www.chickasaw.net/index.htm.

 

My own tribe is not federally recognized, we have no official lands or anything like that.

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I'd love to hear your reading recommendations for a mature 9-10 year, on thus subject. She's read a fair bit, but always looking for more.

 

On the Trail of Tears? The link that I gave earlier is from the PBS site; it includes a great deal of information, including a teacher's guide. As far as books for kids, Only the Names Remain is a good one.

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I find it so odd that the Japanese internment was/is not taught in school.

 

I learned about it in high school, around 1980. I lived on the East Coast. I'm stunned that some did not learn it in school.

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It is shocking to me that people didn't learn about these events in school. I did. I grew up on the East Coast. I remember in US History class in high school having a Japanese-American gentleman come talk to us about the internment camp, and how his family lost their farm. My rising sixth grader learned about the camps in school this year and the Indian Removal by Jackson. (Of course, he also read Zinn in his spare time.)

 

I do think we need to continue to educate ourselves and our children.

 

I just finished posting that I had learned about it in school too. I remember a man coming to talk to our class in high school. I bet it was the same man!

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I learned about the Japanese American Internment when I was in 8th grade (in the East Coast). It was when we read Farewell to Manzanar in class. However, that was the only time we had any exposure to the subject through middle school and high school.

 

Thanks for the links and book recommendations. I just requested a couple of them from the library for my kids. They read one book about it last school year (TOG year 4). It would be good for them to read more.

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I learned about it in high school, around 1980. I lived on the East Coast. I'm stunned that some did not learn it in school.

 

My history teachers in middle school and high school were all coaches. We watched a lot of movies. I learned of it on my own sometime after high school. Both of my dds already know about it and many other things that are washed over in ps.

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On the Trail of Tears? The link that I gave earlier is from the PBS site; it includes a great deal of information, including a teacher's guide. As far as books for kids, Only the Names Remain is a good one.

 

Thank you! Id love Your favorite recommendations on anything to do with Native American history!

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@OP I grew up in California. Many years ago, I had a friend there, from Hawaii. One of his Uncles was, and I think still is, a U.S. Senator from Hawaii. Daniel Inouye. He is a veteran of WW2 and was badly injured.

 

As I recall, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Americans were not permitted to join the U.S. Military. They begged, for the opportunity to prove their patriotism, and I believe one of their units was the most highly decorated American unit in WW2.

 

Possibly if you look on the web site of Senator Inouye, you will find some interesting information about his background. Certainly, it will be far more accurate than what I am relating from memory.

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I honestly don't remember whether it was taught about in school, because I already knew about it. My mother's family lived at an internment camp where my grandparents taught school to the Japanese children. My mother was 8 at the time. I grew up with stories about the camp.

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I didn't know about this until I was an adult and saw an exhibit in the Smithsonian. I was shocked and appalled that I never learned about it in my college prep American History class, or in the American History class I took in college. My DH knew about it, and was shocked that it was news to me. I felt sick when I learned about it.

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There used to be an outstanding exhibit about the internment in the Smithsonian American History Museum. It made me cry.

 

Baseball Saved Us is an excellent picture book about a Japanese-American family sent to an internment camp.

 

Great book!

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I just finished posting that I had learned about it in school too. I remember a man coming to talk to our class in high school. I bet it was the same man!

 

He probably made the rounds. It would have been 1986 when he talked to my class. He also gave a sermon at my church when we were between pastors one summer. It turns out that he was a former colleague of my mom's best friend (who lived one street over from you.) He helped with the adoption of her second son.

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He probably made the rounds. It would have been 1986 when he talked to my class. He also gave a sermon at my church when we were between pastors one summer. It turns out that he was a former colleague of my mom's best friend (who lived one street over from you.) He helped with the adoption of her second son.

 

I know who your boyfriend was but who was your mom's best friend? I probably know her... Pm me...

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I find it so odd that the Japanese internment was/is not taught in school.

 

It seems like I've always known about it. My father lived in LA during WWII and kids in his class left for the internment and then right after the war was over, his family moved to an area just north of Manzanar. I read the book Farewell to Manzanar in 7th grade. When I was in high school (and beyond) one of my parent's good friends was a child in a camp in Idaho. And now I live near the place where the first people were ordered to leave.

 

:iagree:Living near one of the temporary camps, it was a frequent topic of history in school.

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I knew sometime in my youth but I am thinking it may not have been addressed at school. Certainly not until high school, anyway.

 

But since my parents spent some of WWII suffering harsh deprivations in a Soviet Gulag, I guess I wasn't very surprised.

 

Also please notice that both Mrs. Mungo, an Army officer's wife, and myself, an Air Force Officer's wife, feel that the idea that the military is going to suddenly start illegally taking away guns from citizens is just nonsense. The military is very patriotic and the officers are very well informed about their constitutional duties and responsibilities.

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There were several of those camps here in Utah. Both my MIL and FIL went to school with children from the camps. Neither of them saw anything wrong with it either. :001_huh: They've both said that there is no way we could have understood the level of fear unless we lived through it. Or as my MIL put it. "The whole world was at war, and virtually every other nation on earth was being bombed on a daily basis. We needed to make sure that wasn't going to happen here." I do agree with not judging another time period through our filters, and that hindsight is 20/20, but I still find it hard to believe that I wouldn't have been disturbed by American citizens having virtually every single one of their civil rights stripped away from them.

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Also please notice that both Mrs. Mungo, an Army officer's wife, and myself, an Air Force Officer's wife, feel that the idea that the military is going to suddenly start illegally taking away guns from citizens is just nonsense. The military is very patriotic and the officers are very well informed about their constitutional duties and responsibilities.

 

:iagree:Also, the military is barred from taking part in civil police actions by the Posse Comitatus Act. They can help in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and in drug interdiction, but they can't be used as a national police force as other countries, particularly dictatorships, tend to use their military. And as Chris said military officers are VERY AWARE of their role under the Constitution. All military members take an oath to "support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic." They don't take an oath to a person or position.

 

Mary

Edited by Mary in VA
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There were several of those camps here in Utah. Both my MIL and FIL went to school with children from the camps. Neither of them saw anything wrong with it either. :001_huh: They've both said that there is no way we could have understood the level of fear unless we lived through it. Or as my MIL put it. "The whole world was at war, and virtually every other nation on earth was being bombed on a daily basis. We needed to make sure that wasn't going to happen here." I do agree with not judging another time period through our filters, and that hindsight is 20/20, but I still find it hard to believe that I wouldn't have been disturbed by American citizens having virtually every single one of their civil rights stripped away from them.

 

Well, a great many of them weren't citizens, because restrictive laws prevented them from obtaining citizenship. Then their lack of citizenship was used to argue that they had divided allegiance or were insufficiently American.

 

The other thing about the "level of fear" Americans experienced is that their fear was deliberately stoked by xenophobic propaganda. Soldiers in Japan committed atrocities, and Americans were told that the Japanese race was vicious and subhuman.

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The Chickasaws, specifically, are prospering *mostly* because they have built casinos in the middle of the prairie. They have other investments and properties as well. They re-formed their government in 1983 and have been working together to fight for their rights and help their nation prosper since then. You can learn more about it on their website: http://www.chickasaw.net/index.htm.

 

My own tribe is not federally recognized, we have no official lands or anything like that.

 

Thank you for that info.

 

There were several of those camps here in Utah. Both my MIL and FIL went to school with children from the camps. Neither of them saw anything wrong with it either. :001_huh: They've both said that there is no way we could have understood the level of fear unless we lived through it. Or as my MIL put it. "The whole world was at war, and virtually every other nation on earth was being bombed on a daily basis. We needed to make sure that wasn't going to happen here." I do agree with not judging another time period through our filters, and that hindsight is 20/20, but I still find it hard to believe that I wouldn't have been disturbed by American citizens having virtually every single one of their civil rights stripped away from them.

 

:iagree: It seems to me that 9/11 provoked the same level of fear, and some of those fears are actually justified, but yeah, as you said, I can't imagine I could find this just perfectly fine.

 

:iagree:Also, the military is barred from taking part in civil police actions by the Posse Comitatus Act. They can help in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and in drug interdiction, but they can't be used as a national police force as other countries, particularly dictatorships, tend to use their military. And as Chris said military officers are VERY AWARE of their role under the Constitution. All military members take an oath to "support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic." They don't take an oath to a person or position.

 

Mary

 

I saw a youtube of military being used to disarm the people after Katrina. I tend to not believe this video one bit and I have a friend in Katrina whom I expect would have told me about this, but who knows. I can't be certain because I wasn't there.

 

Well, a great many of them weren't citizens, because restrictive laws prevented them from obtaining citizenship. Then their lack of citizenship was used to argue that they had divided allegiance or were insufficiently American.

 

The other thing about the "level of fear" Americans experienced is that their fear was deliberately stoked by xenophobic propaganda. Soldiers in Japan committed atrocities, and Americans were told that the Japanese race was vicious and subhuman.

 

:iagree:

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There were several of those camps here in Utah. Both my MIL and FIL went to school with children from the camps. Neither of them saw anything wrong with it either. :001_huh: They've both said that there is no way we could have understood the level of fear unless we lived through it. Or as my MIL put it. "The whole world was at war, and virtually every other nation on earth was being bombed on a daily basis. We needed to make sure that wasn't going to happen here." I do agree with not judging another time period through our filters, and that hindsight is 20/20, but I still find it hard to believe that I wouldn't have been disturbed by American citizens having virtually every single one of their civil rights stripped away from them.

 

I'd like to think the same about myself. I said earlier that my grandmother was investigated for writing a letter to the editor protesting the Japanese internment camps. I spoke to her and I was mistaken as to the place. It happened once she moved to Boston to marry my grandfather who was in seminary in the navy chaplaincy program during the war. There were people who believed it was wrong at the time and vocalized it.

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And then I go to class and read about how military officers with AK-47s made people give up their Japanese Bibles and books of poetry and confiscated their gallon-jugs of soy sauce. It kills me. How did the government pass an order that imprisoned non-criminals, 2/3 of whom were actually born in America, because they had Japanese ancestry? I am shocked. :(

 

Not only that, but a few good people cared for and turned property rights back over to the Japanese-American owners when they returned from the camps; many people took over land and did not return it. There are bitter feelings still in some communities over this.

 

Cat

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Not only that, but a few good people cared for and turned property rights back over to the Japanese-American owners when they returned from the camps; many people took over land and did not return it. There are bitter feelings still in some communities over this.

 

Cat

 

I can certainly understand why!

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I do agree with not judging another time period through our filters, and that hindsight is 20/20, but I still find it hard to believe that I wouldn't have been disturbed by American citizens having virtually every single one of their civil rights stripped away from them.

 

This is the way I think as well. Am I naive or self-righteous in believing that *I* would have gone against the flow during these periods of history we are mentioning? It is so foreign to me to think that I would not do what I believe to be the right thing had I lived during any of these times.

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Why were the Japanese rounded up and not the Germans?

 

Some of them were - along with several other ethnic groups. I'm not an expert on this subject, but here's one site I found. http://www.gaic.info/index.php According to that website, it says 11,000 German-American, Italian and Latin American citizens were interned. If you read some of the personal stories on that website, it tells the story of one German-American family that was taken from Ohio to Texas and then basically used as a prisoner exchange with the German government. Then, the dad was imprisoned/beaten by the Gestapo for being a "spy".

 

During WWII, the government had plans to intern a much larger population of German-Americans, but the sheer number of them and the fact that the population was so spread out made it impossible.

 

Also, on a personal note, our Lutheran church in MO has bullet holes on the outside around the entrance. During WWI and WWII people would take shots at the families as they left the Lutheran churches. Our pastor would show people the bullet holes when they visited or toured the church.

 

They never talked about any of the internment camps when I was in school, either. I heard about it from my grandparents (my grandfather is German).

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The other thing about the "level of fear" Americans experienced is that their fear was deliberately stoked by xenophobic propaganda. Soldiers in Japan committed atrocities, and Americans were told that the Japanese race was vicious and subhuman.

 

Yeah...and kind of ironic that Hitler basically did the same in regards to the Jewish race. What a crappy time that was.

 

We can only hope that we have LEARNED from this!

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Germans were not rounded partly due to racial bias, and partly due to the sheer number of them that had immigrated to the US. Many recent German immigrants were put on watch lists.

 

 

Another little known fact because it wasn't wide spread, is that here in Michigan the German immigrant communities of Frankenmuth, Frankenlust, Frankentrust, Frankenhilf (also known as Richville), Reese, Millington, and Munger were watched very carefully and had some rights to communication and travel taken away from them. The Lutheran schools that were set up in this area were still only teaching in German through 6th grade before allowing the children to learn English. To a paranoid population, it made them look suspicious if not downright dangerous. There were checkpoints at the county lines and some people were turned away from heading into Saginaw, Flint, and Bay City to buy supplies. Military stores were set up along the rail lines so that "those bloody Germans" would remain home. They were never confined to a fenced area, nor was anyone shot for resisting or for sneaking out. However, the intimidation was sufficient to keep these communities in line.

 

These little towns were devasted by the thought that they were "American" through and through, but their country thought they would sink to such lows as being Nazi sympathizers. It started a rift of not trusting Non-Germans that is only just now, in 2013, getting better. From 1996 - 2005, we lived in "Frankenhilf"/Richville. We bought a house there because it was a bargain, a reasonable commute to Dh's office, and NOT in the city. We were accosted by numerous neighbors because we didn't have a German last name and "why would a non-German want to live here with us...you know the government says we can't be trusted". Some of the older generation told us about those days, keeping sick relatives home and not taking them to the Lutheran Hospital, St. Luke's, in Saginaw for fear of arrest or worse,of taking care of German POW's (many were sent to those communities to be housed and work on the farms since there weren't enough translators in military facilities), not being paid for the POW"s care, etc. and the whole time having to regularly "entertain" men in suits who came to ask questions such as, "You are German. Just because you were born here, doesn't make you American. Would you go back home if the government paid your expenses?" and "How many of your relatives are Nazi's?" "Are you loyal to the Furher?" "Have you ever sent money to relatives in the Fatherland?" "Why do you still teach your children to speak German?" "You realize that we are watching you and could at any time take your home, your land, your children, everything away from you!" and ......you get the picture. Mail was opened by the military and read before being sent on. They didn't even try to disguise that it had been opened.

 

It's a unknown piece of history because the families that endured this have never really told their story except to neighbors and friends. I asked once if it wouldn't be prudent to try to get a documentary done, to get the word out, to make sure it wasn't forgotten, but no one was interested. I thought that at the very least, filming some interviews as an 8th grade project for the kids in the Lutheran schools would be an excellent assignment for these young teens, but I was met with resistance. So, since they've pretty much clammed up about it, it will likely die out with this generation. The last of the teens, and twenty-somethings that lived on those farms and in those communities are almost gone or getting very infirm.

 

If we don't study history, accurate history, the hideous mistakes of the past are doomed to repetition.

 

Faith

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Another little known fact because it wasn't wide spread, is that here in Michigan the German immigrant communities of Frankenmuth, Frankenlust, Frankentrust, Frankenhilf (also known as Richville), Reese, Millington, and Munger were watched very carefully and had some rights to communication and travel taken away from them. The Lutheran schools that were set up in this area were still only teaching in German through 6th grade before allowing the children to learn English. To a paranoid population, it made them look suspicious if not downright dangerous. There were checkpoints at the county lines and some people were turned away from heading into Saginaw, Flint, and Bay City to buy supplies. Military stores were set up along the rail lines so that "those bloody Germans" would remain home. They were never confined to a fenced area, nor was anyone shot for resisting or for sneaking out. However, the intimidation was sufficient to keep these communities in line.

 

These little towns were devasted by the thought that they were "American" through and through, but their country thought they would sink to such lows as being Nazi sympathizers. It started a rift of not trusting Non-Germans that is only just now, in 2013, getting better. From 1996 - 2005, we lived in "Frankenhilf"/Richville. We bought a house there because it was a bargain, a reasonable commute to Dh's office, and NOT in the city. We were accosted by numerous neighbors because we didn't have a German last name and "why would a non-German want to live here with us...you know the government says we can't be trusted". Some of the older generation told us about those days, keeping sick relatives home and not taking them to the Lutheran Hospital, St. Luke's, in Saginaw for fear of arrest or worse,of taking care of German POW's (many were sent to those communities to be housed and work on the farms since there weren't enough translators in military facilities), not being paid for the POW"s care, etc. and the whole time having to regularly "entertain" men in suits who came to ask questions such as, "You are German. Just because you were born here, doesn't make you American. Would you go back home if the government paid your expenses?" and "How many of your relatives are Nazi's?" "Are you loyal to the Furher?" "Have you ever sent money to relatives in the Fatherland?" "Why do you still teach your children to speak German?" "You realize that we are watching you and could at any time take your home, your land, your children, everything away from you!" and ......you get the picture. Mail was opened by the military and read before being sent on. They didn't even try to disguise that it had been opened.

 

It's a unknown piece of history because the families that endured this have never really told their story except to neighbors and friends. I asked once if it wouldn't be prudent to try to get a documentary done, to get the word out, to make sure it wasn't forgotten, but no one was interested. I thought that at the very least, filming some interviews as an 8th grade project for the kids in the Lutheran schools would be an excellent assignment for these young teens, but I was met with resistance. So, since they've pretty much clammed up about it, it will likely die out with this generation. The last of the teens, and twenty-somethings that lived on those farms and in those communities are almost gone or getting very infirm.

 

If we don't study history, accurate history, the hideous mistakes of the past are doomed to repetition.

 

Faith

 

The stories in this thread are so shocking. Faith I totally agree with you on the bolded part. So important. As an aside, I never knew that Michigan was living in the future. :p ;) hehe

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The stories in this thread are so shocking. Faith I totally agree with you on the bolded part. So important. As an aside, I never knew that Michigan was living in the future. :p ;) hehe

 

 

Well, if it would let me edit, it would say 2012...because I fat finger too much at this time of night. But for whatever reason, the edit button isn't popping up! Stupid computer. :glare:

 

Faith :001_smile:

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Well, a great many of them weren't citizens, because restrictive laws prevented them from obtaining citizenship. Then their lack of citizenship was used to argue that they had divided allegiance or were insufficiently American.

 

The other thing about the "level of fear" Americans experienced is that their fear was deliberately stoked by xenophobic propaganda. Soldiers in Japan committed atrocities, and Americans were told that the Japanese race was vicious and subhuman.

 

Yes, I totally agree. My in-laws and my parents often spoke about how the Axis was portrayed in their schools and how it not only included their dictatorial leaders, but the citizens themselves. My father grew up in Washington, D.C., and air-raid drills in his school were almost a daily occurrence. Blackouts were mandatory at night and a culture of fear was fostered among all the citizens.

 

My mother grew up in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania that had "Japan" as a prefix to its proper name (for what reason, I don't know, as there was not a person of Japanese ancestry around for 100 miles. :lol: ) After Pearl Harbor, "Japan" was immediately dropped from the town's name. My mother and father always spoke about how almost everything was rationed and shortages were personally blamed on the citizens of the Axis countries as well as their leaders.

 

I don't know how I would have felt as a nine year old child (the age of both my parents around 1944) if all the adults had indoctrinated me with that sort of propoganda. I would hope I would feel differently as an adult, but then again....they lost family members. Fathers, brothers, uncles and sons that would never come home. My great uncle was killed on the beaches of Normandy and my husband's great uncle was a POW in Japan from 1942 until the end of the war. Maybe if they had been my husband or my son, my feelings wouldn't be so magnanimous. It's just hard to know.

 

As a P.S., my husband's great uncle who spent the entire war in a POW camp, returned to the US, but was unable to have children because of the severe malnutrition he experienced. He is an active member of the LDS church, and when he was in his 70s, he and his wife were asked to serve a mission. He said that he could go anywhere except Japan. He didn't hate the Japanese at all, but felt it would just be too painful for him to go there again. Guess where he was called? Yep, Japan. He wasn't sure he could do it, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of his life. He said that the Japanese people wept when they heard his story and apologized over and over to the point of embarrassment for him. He told them repeatedly that he never blamed any of the Japanese citizens for what had happened to him and felt that they were just as much victims of the war machine as he was. He feels nothing but love for Japan and its people now, and is so glad he had the opportunity to go back there and face his demons. He just celebrated his 96th birthday. :)

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Well, if it would let me edit, it would say 2012...because I fat finger too much at this time of night. But for whatever reason, the edit button isn't popping up! Stupid computer. :glare:

 

Faith :001_smile:

 

hehehehe no worries. We know what you meant. ;) :p

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These little towns were devasted by the thought that they were "American" through and through, but their country thought they would sink to such lows as being Nazi sympathizers. It started a rift of not trusting Non-Germans that is only just now, in 2013, getting better. From 1996 - 2005, we lived in "Frankenhilf"/Richville. We bought a house there because it was a bargain, a reasonable commute to Dh's office, and NOT in the city. We were accosted by numerous neighbors because we didn't have a German last name and "why would a non-German want to live here with us...you know the government says we can't be trusted". Some of the older generation told us about those days, keeping sick relatives home and not taking them to the Lutheran Hospital, St. Luke's, in Saginaw for fear of arrest or worse,of taking care of German POW's (many were sent to those communities to be housed and work on the farms since there weren't enough translators in military facilities), not being paid for the POW"s care, etc. and the whole time having to regularly "entertain" men in suits who came to ask questions such as, "You are German. Just because you were born here, doesn't make you American. Would you go back home if the government paid your expenses?" and "How many of your relatives are Nazi's?" "Are you loyal to the Furher?" "Have you ever sent money to relatives in the Fatherland?" "Why do you still teach your children to speak German?" "You realize that we are watching you and could at any time take your home, your land, your children, everything away from you!" and ......you get the picture. Mail was opened by the military and read before being sent on. They didn't even try to disguise that it had been opened.

 

:( Didn't know that story. :(

 

As a P.S., my husband's great uncle who spent the entire war in a POW camp, returned to the US, but was unable to have children because of the severe malnutrition he experienced. He is an active member of the LDS church, and when he was in his 70s, he and his wife were asked to serve a mission. He said that he could go anywhere except Japan. He didn't hate the Japanese at all, but felt it would just be too painful for him to go there again. Guess where he was called? Yep, Japan. He wasn't sure he could do it, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of his life. He said that the Japanese people wept when they heard his story and apologized over and over to the point of embarrassment for him. He told them repeatedly that he never blamed any of the Japanese citizens for what had happened to him and felt that they were just as much victims of the war machine as he was. He feels nothing but love for Japan and its people now, and is so glad he had the opportunity to go back there and face his demons. He just celebrated his 96th birthday.

 

What a beautiful story!

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"War is Hell", as was famously said.

 

I met a doc and a dentist who were interned as teens and both joined the service out of the camp (their families were still there, they upped), and both went to the European theater. They told me none of their buddies were sent to Asia.

 

I knew a woman who went as a girl, and she told me she didn't mind. She said she was happy to be alive, that if she'd been an American in Japan, she would have been dead.

 

Also, some Germans were rounded up on the coasts. My GF was interned in WW1, even though he was a naturalized American. My GM was preggers and didn't want to go. She was hidden by Irish Americans (who hated the Brits) who did her shopping so no one would here her accent. Otherwise, my mother would have been born in a containment camp.

 

In WW2, my GP were told to move away from their home very near a huge naval/shipyard installation. They ended up in a camp, in the end. One neighbor came over and told them another neighbor had informed the FBI they were home. My GM very cleverly ran out and put all her property in my mother's name. My sister remembers the FBI coming to get them. The terrier bit them and they shot him with a huge service revolver in the front hall, and took my GP away that night. The property was seized, but my mother went to an attorney and got it back. That property is why my parents retirement was comfortable, and will pay for my son's college!

 

I once saw my mother spit on an FBI car, and she HATED Efrem Zimbalist Junior

 

"War is Hell", as was famously said.

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Not only that, but a few good people cared for and turned property rights back over to the Japanese-American owners when they returned from the camps

 

 

This happened to the doc I knew. And, he set up a private practice in the 50s in a VERY white little town and was the pillar of the community. His dad came back to the truck garden after the war and worked for many more years. (I love this story, so I can't refrain). He was killed when he was 99. He was deeef as a stone, and crossing a railroad track to go fishing and never knew what hit him. We should all be so lucky.

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It's knowing about this that makes me irritated whenever I hear the WWII generation called "the greatest generation". How can they be the greatest when they imprisoned 100,000 simply over race? Many of them did very brave, very selfless things, but eugenics programs and internment were products of that generation.

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I remember reading Farewell to Manzanar when I was in elementary school and asking my teacher about internment camps. I wondered why it was okay in the US, but wrong for the Nazis to force people into camps. My teacher told me it wasn't in the history book, so we didn't need to learn about it. I was never satisfied with that answer.

 

My sons have had a long-lasting interest in WWII, so we spent many months studying it, then when I forced us to move to a different history topic, my sons spent a couple years reading on their own. One topic we studying was the use of propaganda by the US government during the war. Germans and Japanese were portrayed as monsters, and depicted as such on posters, in ads, etc. The constant propaganda served its purpose to make Americans dislike the Germans and Japanese.

 

My mil was interned, so my dc have grown up knowing that perspective as well. Strange as it may seem, she and the rest of her family are not angry towards the US for what it did to them. They lost their farm, house, and all their belongings except for what they were allowed to carry with them to camp. They were taken to another state to live, then when they were finally released, they didn't have any money to get back home (which had been stolen from them while they were gone). It took them years to get back. My mil's brothers were decorated for heroism after fighting in the 442nd. One reason was that they enlisted was they wanted to fight for the US, where they had been born. They were Americans.

 

One ds was on duty at a gym where he worked and ended up chatting with a member, an older woman who started telling ds stories about her life during WWII. She was young at the time, and believed the propaganda about Germans being monsters and thought they really looked like the posters. Her father was a guard at a POW camp, so sometimes he would take her there to see that the German prisoners were just men. But as a child, she struggled between what she saw - men - and how the government portrayed them as literal monsters. My ds said it was one of the most interesting conversations he has had, and that she was surprised he wanted to hear about it and that he knew so much. Of course, that same ds's favorite lecture ever was an opportunity he had to hear a veteran speak about his experiences on Iwo Jima when the famous flag photo was taken.

 

We were at a military open house once and there was a tent with memorabilia from WWII, and a table where a man was sitting with some items displayed. We went over to talk to him and see what he was showing. He couldn't believe that my dc wanted to hear his story. He had enlisted when he was underage because he wanted to fight, and became a pilot. He was shot down over Europe and spent almost two years hiding from the Nazis. Residents in a town in France found him after seeing his parachute and hid him by passing him from family to family. The town held a celebration of V-Day and invited him back, where he met some of the people who had hid him. One of the families still had part of his plane in their barn, and another gave him part of his parachute that they had stored (after using most of it to make undergarments for the women in the family because of the silk). Anyway, he was flabbergasted that anyone would want to know his story. I told him the truth - that our children need to hear these stories, and he is one of the few who can tell them. It is important.

 

It is vital that our dc learn about this part of history, and sadly, most schools don't teach it or simply skim the surface. Yes, the internment history of the US is sad, but it is necessary that we remember it because it could happen again. Our dc need to know what happened and work through the ethical and political questions so they have background to form their own views about government acts in the future.

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There are many dark episodes in US History. Indian Removal by Andrew Jackson, Japanese internment by FDR and more. It does regularly surprise me how many Americans are ignorant of our history.

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h1567.html

 

http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/index.html

 

That said, I don't think we are barreling toward some dystopian fantasyland at ALL.

 

Exactly. Well said.

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Slight tangent, but I thought Barbara Kingsolver's book The Lacuna was relevant to this discussion.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/books/review/Schillinger-t.html?pagewanted=all

 

"But the fuller value of Kingsolver’s novel lies in its call to conscience and connection. She has mined Shepherd’s richly imagined history to create a tableau vivant of epochs and people that time has transformed almost past recognition. Yet it’s a tableau vivant whose story line resonates in the present day, albeit with different players. Through Shepherd’s resurrected notebooks, Kingsolver gives voice to truths whose teller could express them only in silence."

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We just went to Manzanar last weekend. According to the information we got there, 2/3 of the internees were American citizens, so most did have their citizenship. It is out in the middle of nowhere, but quite powerful, for me mostly in how much the people interred there made of their lives despite the horrible conditions (it's not that far from Death Valley to give people a sense of living conditions); I was surprised to actually find it uplifting.

 

We read Farewell to Manzanar and at the end, in the section from the author, it talks about the camps by the Japanese and points out that their camps (although the conditions were worse by far) were Japanese imprisoning Americans, not Japanese imprisoning their own citizens, as we did.

 

No No Boy is another book, more for high school or adult age, that is about the Japanese internment. I believe, like Farewell to Manzanar, it is autobiographical. Meet Me at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is definitely fiction (but I loved it - it's just a different flavor).

 

And another aside, someone said something about the Japanese-Americans fighting in Europe but not knowing anyone who had fought in the Pacific - they weren't sent to the Pacific, only to Europe as a policy at the time. Sorry, I'm obviously new at this replying thing, I have no idea how to go way back and see who it was and get quotes :001_smile: .

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Approximately 1/3 of my high school's class of 1942 did not graduate because they had been interned. Many returned after the war went on to UCLA or other colleges and went on to {continue} being the solidest of citizens.

 

Knowing this always reminds me: It can happen here. (It already did!)

 

I don't see "dystopian fantasyland" in our future, but people (collectively) do make grave errors.

 

On a related note, my grandmother was from three generations of German-Americans who lived as culturally as Germans in the midwestern United States. They spoke German, they socialized with Germans, their schools were taught in German, etc etc. Then World War I happened, and her parents completely stopped speaking German, even inside the home, so that they wouldn't expose their children to the language and therefore risk exposing them to the prejudice that was commonly held against Germans during that era.

Edited by kubiac
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