Takaki_R.003-01

Takaki_R.003-01 - 1 2 THE MYTH OF "MILITARY....

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Unformatted text preview: 1 2 THE MYTH OF "MILITARY. NECESSITY” FOR JAPANESE-'AMERECAN lNTERNMENT ' 7 r 1‘ Ronald Takalri “One morning—I think it was a Sunday—while I was working at Palax'na'Shoe Face ‘ tory_I heard, 'Ponlponl Ponlponl‘” recalled Seichin Nagayama. He was only a few miles away from the navy base at Pearl‘I-larbor. f‘I_.was coffee and I thought, ‘Stmnge. Are they having military practice?’ At the corner of Liliha and Kualcini streets, a bomb fell in the back ofla cement plant. We felt like going to see what happened, the noisekwas so loud. We found out that the war had started." The reverberations of the bombs filling . near the Palama Shoe Factory and on Pearl Harbor were heard across the Ocean; in a . smallJapanese famiing-‘connnunity in California, Mary Tsukamoto was in church when ' she also suddenly felt the shocks of the explosions. “I do remember Pearl Harbor," she said years later as if it had happened that morning. “It was a December Sunday, so we were getting readyfor our Christmas program. We were rehearsing and having Sunday school class; and I always played the piano for the adult Issei service. . . .IAfier the ser- ‘vice started, my husband ran in. He had been home that day and heard [the ‘ announcement] 011' the radio. We just couldn’t believe it, but he told us that Japan 7 attacked Pearl-Harbor. I remember how stunned we were. And suddenly the whole - ' world-turned dark”. . ' ‘ ,_ .. '7 ' As it turned out, Nagayama and Tsukamoto ficed very different fistures during World "War II. Nagayama quit his job at the Palama Shoe Factory because the pay was too low and started work at Primo Beer. His life, like the lives of most of the 158,000 5593335“ infllerlslanfisflptfiscntjngfilpercent__gf_ljiawaii’s population, was not dramat— ' "allyl-integ1;u_pted .bythe wan Infut Tsukamoto and 94,000 fellowjapanese in California, '_ mWWmmfi£nl=fihfi .. .._ r. I. ":54... ..» presenting only one percent of the state’s population, had their lives severely dis; 'rupted: along' with some 25,000 Japanese from “fishington and Oregon, they were 1 forcefially placed in internment by the US. government. Everyone was given short notice for removal. f‘Signs had been nailed to the telephonepoles saying that We 3 had to report to various spots," Tsukamoto recalled. “They told us to register as flamilies. lO‘l 102 _ Reader for Race and Ethnicity . ' We had to report to the Elk Grove Masonic Building where we were given our Earnin number. No. 2076.” While theJapanese in the islands had become “locals,” members of the community in Hawaii, their brethren on the mainland had been forced to rennin “strangers. 'é Different histories were coming home to roost in HaWaii and in California. _ Shortly after inspecting the still-smoking ruins at Pearl Harbor, Navy Secretary , Frank Knox issued a statement to the press: ‘V‘I think the most effective fifth column work of the entire war was done in Havvaii, with the possible exception of Norway.” Knox's assessment turned out to be inaccurate, for investigations by naval intelligence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation agreed mat in fact no sabotage had occurred. , But Knox’s alarming annOuncement fiieled. rumors of sabotage committed by Japanese Americans in the islands—Japanese plantation laborers on Oahu had cut swaths inth '_ sugar cane and pineapple fields to guidethe Japanese bombers to the military installa-r if?“ " dons, Japanese had parked cars across'highways to block‘the trafl‘ic, and Japanese had .given signals to enemy planes. At a cabinet meeting on December 19,- Knox recom—' ’ _mended the internment ofallJapanese aliens on an outer island. . I ‘ ' I But in a radio address aired two days late; General Delos Emmons, as gov- ernor of declared: “There is‘no intention or desire on the part of the federal authorities to operate mass concentration camps. No person, be he citizen or alien, need worry, provided he is. not connected .with subversive elements. . . . While we have been A subjected to a serious attack by a ruthless and treacherous ene , we must remember that this is Anaerica and We must do things the American Way. We must distinguish between loyalty and disloyalty among our people.” _ ' A schism in policy was developing betvveen Washington and Honolulu. Pursuant to Secretary Knox’s recommendation, the War Department sent General Emmons a letter I. onJanuary 10, 1942, asking for his. view on the question ofcvacuating theJapanese from Oahu. Emu-ions replied that the proposed program would be dangerous and impractical. Such evacuation would require badly needed construction materials and shipping space, and would also tie up troop resources needed to guard the islands. Moreover, the I ' evacuationofjapanese would severely disrupt both the economy and defense operations? I prQahu‘, for theJapanese represented over 90 percent of the carpenters; nearly all of the " gtt‘lgansportationworkers, and a significant proportion-of the agriculturalfllaborers. Japanese - V-‘labor was"‘absolutely essential" for the rebuilding ofthe defensesdestroyed at : xlggt-“A shrewd-bureaucrat, General Emmons probably realized analysisjwould'fall on 7 _ " 'deafiears in washinan and Concluded his. report by offering an alternatiue policy: if the 7 WirDep'artment should decide to evacuate the Japanese from Oahu, it should remove themito the mainland. , ' ' In early February, Emmons informed Washington that he did not want to evacuate. - more than a few hundred Japanese until some 20,000 White—civilian women and chil—- ' The Myth of “Military Necessity" For Japanese-American Internment 303 General Emmons to suspend allJapanese workerslemployed by the army. But the order was rescinded after Er'mnons‘ argued that the Japanese workers were indispensable and that the “Japanese question” should be handled “by those in direct contact with the . situation.” 1 ‘ _ . - I ' '1 General Emmons was hoping his 7 bureaucratic foot—dragging and his resistance against ordersfio‘i'n- Washington would wear down the War Department. His strategy seemed to be'paying 0&3 W5hington agreed to scale down the number to be'evaeuated. On March 13, President Franklin Roosevelt, acting on'the advice ef'his Joint Chieis of Sufi; approved 3a recommendation for the evacuation of 20,000 “dangerous” Japanese fi-om Hawaii to the mainland. Tvgo weeks later; General Emmons reduced the number 7: _ to only'l,550 Japanese ifth constituted a potential threat. But, on April-20, _ ‘J’Siiecretaryrlfiiox insisted that “all of the Japs” should be taken out of Oahu.’I‘he “far Depart'r'nentrthen- circulated a report received from the Justice Department of ' dangerous corrditions in In a letter to Assistant Secretary ofwarJolin J. McCloy, - -_ Emmons angrily dismissed'the report as "so fantastic it hardly needs refiiting” then ‘ directly ‘ attacked the credibility of the ‘War Department and the Justice Department: “The feeling that an invasion is imminent is not the belief of "most of the responsible -{ people. . . . There have been no knovvn acts of sabotage committed inl-Iawaii." - The bureaucratic pushing and shoving betvveen the W'Depamnent in Washing— ‘ ton and the Hawaiian Department under the command of General Enimons continued. On October 29, Secretary of WI Henry L. Stimson informed President Roosevelt that General Enunons intended to remove approximately 5,000 Japanese firorn Hawaii dur— ing the next six months as shipping facilities became available. “This, General Emmons believes, will greatlysimp‘lify his problem, and-considering the labor needs in the islands, is about all that he has indicated any desire to move although he has been given author— : iityto mave up to fifteen thousand" Irritated by Emmons'President Roosevelt Wrote to Stinison four‘days lateri “‘I‘ think that General Emmons should be told that the only 1;: considerationis that of the safety Oftlle Islands and that the-labor situation is 'not only a w ' secondarytmatter'but should. not be given any consideration Whatsoevec” ‘ ' In the end, General Emmons had his way. He had, seen no necessity for mass '. " evacuation and ordered the internment of only 12444 Japanese (979: aliens and 525 citi— ‘ zens). Emmons saw that martial law had given the government the authority to control Japanese population. ButEmrnons’s success pressures Washington depeiided not only 'on his administrative savvy and his ability to wage a wait- ing War of bureaucracy but also on widespreadlocal opposition tomass'internment. ' In an article on “Hawaii’s 150,000 Japanese” published in flhe Nation inJuly 1942, _ . journalist Albert Honings questioned whether the military authorities-in Hawaii made ' I their decision against mass internment‘based'on their trust for the Japanese. He suspected “pressure” had been brought on the warning that the economic life of the I : would collapse Without the Japanese. Horlings argued that businessmen appeared to favor , I .“a liberal policy’.’ toward the Japanese simply because they favored “business as usual.” ’ ‘ '104 - ' Reader for Race and Ethnicity ! ‘ - - ‘ Indeed, economic pressure groups in Hawaii Were advising General Enunons to i resist relocation. A few isolated local-businessmen flavored mass interment. “At least E ' 100,000 Japanese should be moved to inland mainlandfarming states,”john A. Balch of * ' the Hawaiian Telephone Company wrote to Admiral Chester Nimitz in August 1942. - “If such a step as this was taken i . . not-only the danger of internal trouble could be avoided, but the {finite of Hawaii would be secured against the sure political and eco— nomic domination by the Japanese within the next decade.” But most of Hawaii’s‘lead— ing businessmen and. kamaaina hauler (old—timer whites) opposed the proposal for mass 7' internment. The president of the Honolulu Chamber ofCommerCe called for just treat- ment of the Japanese in Hawaii: “There are 160,000 of these people who want to live here because they like the country and like the American way of life. . . . The citizens of japanese blood would fight as loyally for America as any other citizen. I have read or " heard nothing in statements given out by the military, local police or FBI since-Decem— ber 7 to change my opinion. And I have gone out of my way to ask for the facts.” The . kamaaina elite, possessing a sense of'genteei- paternalism and a long history of interae—' tion with the Japanese in the islands, were unwilling-to permit their mass uprooting They also knew the evacuation of over one third of Hawaii’s population would deci— mate their labor force and desnoy the economy of the islands. ‘ Politicians and public officials also urged restraint and reason. Hawaii’s congressional delegate, Sam King, advised the military that nothing should be done beyond appre—i bending known spies, Honolulu Police Captain John A. Burns refuted minors ofjapa- ' nese snipers firing on American soldiers-during the attack on Pearl Harbor: “In spite of what. . . anyone . . . may haVe said about the fifth column activity in Hawaii,” stated Robert L, Shivers, head of the '_FBI iii-Hawaii, “I want to emphasize that there was no such activity in Hawaii before, during or after the attack‘on Pearl Harbor. . . . I' was in a . position to know this fact. . . . Nowhere under the-sun could there have been a more intelligent response to the needs of the hour than was given by the entire population of ' these islands.” When schools were reopened in January 1942., the Superintendent of 7 Public Instruction sent a directive to all teachers: ' ' flfifiwfifi'fl%aa.fitfijral_'é __._=I._ 1 "up. ; .Let us be perfectly frank in recognizing the fact that the most helpless victims, emotionally and psychologically, of the present situation in will-be chil- dren of Japanese ancestry and their parents. The position of loyal American cit— izens ofjapaneseiancestry and of aliens who are unable to become naturalized, but ,who are nonetheless loyal to the land of their adoptibn, is certainly not enviable. Teachers must do everything to help the morale of these people. Let us keep constantly 'in mind that America is not making war on citizens of the United States or on law—abiding aliens within America. The press in Hawaii behaved responsiny Newspaper editors like Riley Allen of the Honolulu Star Bulletin and Mrs. Clarence Taylor of the Kauai Garden Island expressed The Myth of "Military Necessity" for Japanese-American internment 105 confidence in the loyalty of the local Japanese and criticized the federal government's treatment of the Japanese on the mainland. “It was an invasion of the rights of the Japa— nese citizens on thePacific coast to be picked up and shipped to the interior,” editori— alized the Garden Island. Newspapers also cautioned their readers not to spread or be influenced by rumors generated by the war situation. Within days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Honolulu Star Bulletin dismissed reports of Japanese subversion in the islands as “weird, amazing, and damaging untruths.” “Beware of rumors always.” urged the Paradise qf the Pattfic magazine in February 1942, “avoid them like a plague and, when possible, kill them as you would a reptile. Don’t repeat for a fact anything you do i not know is a fict.” . a (—3 The reasons behind Hawaii’s refiisal to intern the Japanese were complex and did 7 include the self—serving economic concern of the business community for the uninter- rupted maintenance of its labor force. Still, in this moment of crisis an image of what Hawaii represented began to take a more definite formand content, drawing from the particular history of the islands and defining more sharply Hawaiifs identity as a multi— ethnic community. Political and economic circumstances had provided an occasion for cultural development. In his radio message broadcast two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, General Emmons declared: “Hawaii has always been an American outpost of , friendliness and good will and now has calmly accepted its responsibility as an Ameri— can outpost ofwar. In accepting these responsibilities, it is important that Hawaii prove that her traditional confidence in her cosmopolitan population has not been misplaced.” I While what Emmonsdescribed was a myth, it nonetheless also contained within it the possibility of an ideological counterpoint to the reality of racial hierarchy in the islands. The actions of the Japanese gave concreteness to the idea 'of Hawaii as a cosmopol— _ itan community. During the morning of the attack, two thousand Nisei serving in the US. Army stationed in Hawaii fought to defend Pearl Harbor against enemy planes. Everywhere Japanese civilians participated in the island’s defense. They rushed to their posts as volunteer truck drivers for Oahu’s Citizens’ Defense Committee. They stood in long lines in front of Queen’s Hospital, waiting to give their blood to the wounded. :;:, Many of these civilians were I'ssei. “Most of us have lived longer in Hawaii than in 19.7., Japan. We have an obligatibn to this country," they declared. “We are yoshi [adopted . sons] of America. We want to do ourparc for America.” | — Then that night, as the people of the islands tenser waited in the darkness for the expected invasion, thousands of Nisei members of the Hawaii Territorial Guard—— 7 Youngsters from the high schools and the University of Hawaii ROTC program— ? guarded the pOWer plants, reservoirs, and important waterfi'onts. For them, there was Simply no doubt how they viewed the event: Japan had attacked their country. “As 31116}! as we would hate to see a war between the United States and Japan,” Nisei Shi— 360 Yoshida had explained in 1937' during the hearings on statehood-for Hawaii; “and as much as we would hate to see the day come when we would have to participate in such a conflict, it would be much easier; for us I think, if such an emergency should 106 I _ Reader for Race and Ethnicity M come. to face the enemy than to stand some of the suspicion and criticism, unjust in most cases, leveled against us. It is extremely difficult to beat up under the gafi' of suspi- cion and expressions of doubt which have been leveled at us. It would be easier for me to pack a gun and flee the enemy." Four years later, on December 7, that day did come I and thousands of Nisei stood tall in defense of their country. ' '- “Japan’s dastardly attack leaves us grim and resolute," declared Shunzo Sakamalti of _ the Oahu Citizens Committee for Home Defense on December 11. “There is no turn—- ing back now, no compromise with the enemy Japan has chosen to fight us and we’ll fight.“ The Japanese of Hawaii fought wholeheartedly. On June 5,1942, more than Sev- enteen hundred Japanese presented a check to the federal government for “bombs on Tokyo." In January 1943 General Emmons issued a call for fifteen hundred Niseivol— unteers for the US. Army. “OK Tojo—you asked for it,” announced a newspaper adver— tisement published in the Honolulu Star Bulletin on January 23 and signed by Akagi, Fukushima. Hiyama, Is'oshima, Kanda, Kataoka, Kawashima, Konaenaka, Musashiya, Ogata, Nagao, and Yamamoto. “You dished it out with a head start by treachery—now we’re going to see how you can take it." In response to Emmons’s call, 9,507 Nisei men volunteered for service. Many of them were sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. where they became members of the -442nd Regimental Combat Team and gave their unit the slogan, “Go for Broke,’ ’ a pidgin—English phrase from the plantation experi- ence. “I wanted to show something, to contribute to America.” explained Minoru Hinahara, who served as aJapaneserlanguage interpreter in-the U.S. 27th Army Division and participated in the invasion of Okinawa. “My parents could not betomecitizens but they told me, ‘You fight for your country.’ " _ ' If the Japanese in Hawaii were not interned, why were their brethren on the main- land evacuated and imprisoned in internment camps? Why did the mainland do “things the American Way” differently? ' ‘ On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Representative John M. Cofi'ee declared in Congress: “it is my fervent hope and prayer that residents of the United States of Japanese extraction will not be made the victim of pogroms directed by self- proclaimed patriots and by hysterical self-anointed heroes. . . . Let us not make a mock—_ cry of our Bill of Rights by mistreating these folks. Let us rather regard them with understanding,‘ remembering they are the victims of a Japanese war machine, with the making of the international policies of which they had nothing to do." ‘ Perhaps Coffee was overly hopeful and naive, but there were reasons to thinkJapa- nese Americans would not become victims of hysteria unleashed by the war. A confi« dential- report on the question ofJapanese-American loyalty had already been submitted to President Franklin Roosevelt. The president had secretly arranged to have Chicago businessman Curtis Munson-gather intelligence on the Japanese in the United States and - assess whether-they constituted an internal military threat. After Roosevelt received the Munson'report on November 7, 1941, he asked the we: Department to review it. In his discussion on sabotage and espionage. Munson informed the President that there was ' The Myth of "Military Neceissi-ty” For Japanese-Americaninternment 107 no need to fear or worry about America’s Japanese population: “There will be no armed uprising of Japanese [in this country]. . . .Japan will commit some sabotage largely depending on importedJapan‘ese as they are afi'aid of and do not mist the Nisei. There will be no wholehearted response fiomJapanese inthe United States. . . . For the most .part the local Japanese are loyal to the United States or, at worst, hope that by remain— "ing quiet they can avoid concentration camps or irresponsible mobs. We do not believe that they would be at least any more disloyal than any other racial group in the United ' 7 States withwhom we went to war.” _ ‘ _- A month later the assessment of the Munson report was tested at Pearl Harborrln his investigation of the Japanese in Hawaii and on the mainland, Lieutenant Comnianf - der K. D. Ringle of the Qfiice‘of Naval Intelligence found that the large majority of them were at least passively loyal to the'United States. In late January 1942, Ringle esti- mated that only about 3,500 Japanese could potdntially be threats. and stated there was no need for mass action against the Japanese. Meanwhile, the FBI had also conducted its own investigation of the Japanese. On December“), Director Edgar *Hoover informed Wishing-ton that “practically all” suspected individuals whom he had initially planned to arrest were in custody: 1,291 Japanese (367 in Hawaii, 924 on the mainland), _857 Germans, and 147 Italians. Ina report to the Attorney General submit- ted in-early February, Hoover concluded that the preposed mass evacuation of the Japa— nese could net be justified for security reasons. ' Despite these intelligenCe findings. Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, behaved very diEerendy from his counterpart General Emmons in Hawaii. Within two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor; General DeWitt requested approval to conduct search-and-seizure operations in order to prevent alien ~ Japanese fi'om making radio transmissions to Japanese ships. The Justice Departrnent refused to issue search warrants without probable cause, and the FBI determined the problem Was only a perceived one. In January, the Federal Communications Commis; sion, which had been monitoring all broadcasts, reported that the army's fears were , groundless. But the army continued pursuing plans based on the assugaption of Japanese disloyalty. General DeWitt also wanted to be granted the power t exclude Japanese asflwell as Americansofjapanese ancestryii'omresuticted areas. On January 4, 1942, at“; meeting of federal and state officials in his San Francisco headquarters, DeWitt argued that necessity justified exclusion: “We are atwar and this aream—eight states-has been designated as atheater of operations. . . . [There'areJ approzdmately'288,000 enemy aliens. . . which we have to watch. , . . I have little confidence thatthe enemy aliens are law-abiding or loyal in any sense of the word; Some of them yesgrnan , no. Particularly theJapanese. I have no confidence in their loyalty whatsoever. I speakingrnow of the native born Japanese—4117,de 42,000 in Califomia alone." 3 - ' " ' The Western Defense Command ignored the Munson report as well as the information from the FCC and shunned Lieutenant Commander Ringle. Serving under 7 DeWitt, Major General Joseph W Stilwell had an insider’s view of the situation ‘at the l08 _ Render for Race and Ethnicity Command’s headquarters in San Francisco. In his diary, StiIWell described how DeWitt was responding irrationally to rumors: “Common sense is thrown to the winds and any absurdity is believed." But Stilwell did not understand the reasons for DeWitt’s conduct. FBI director Hoover was more perceptive: while he also saw that the WDC’s intelli— gence information reflected “hysteria and lack ofjudgment,” he noticed that the claim of military necessity for mass evacuation was based “primarily upon public and politiral pressure rather than on fictual data.” Immediately after the press had been told by Navy Secretary Knox about Japanese subversive activity at Pearl Harbor, West Coast newspapers gave his claim headline attention: “Fifth Column Treachery Told” and “Secretaryof Navy Blames 5th Column for Raid.” Nonetheless, newspapers were initially'restrained, advising readers to remain calm and considerate toward the Japanese. But in early January, press sentiments began shifting suddenly. On January 5, John B. Hughes of the Mutual Broadcasting Company began firing a month-long salvo against the Japanese in California; The Japanese were engaged in espionage, he charged, and their dominance in produce production- and control of the food supply were part of a master war plan. On January 19, Time reported Japanese fifth-column activities in Hawaii in an article entitled: “The Stranger ' Our Gates.” The next day, the San Diego Union stirred anti—Japanese hysteria: “In Hawaii . . . treachery by residents, who although of Japanese ancestry had been regarded ‘ as loyal, has played an important part in the success of Japanese attacks. . . . Every Japa- nese . . . should be moved out of the coastal area and to a point of safety far enough inland to nullify any inclination they may have to tamper with our safety here.” Mean— while the Los Angela: Times editorialized: “Aviper is nonetheless a viper wherevegthe egg is hatched—no a Japanese American, bomnfjapanese parents—grows up to' bee , Japanese, not anAmerican.” On January 29, Henry McLemore blasted the Japanese hhgnficated column for the Hearst newspapers: “I am for immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don’t mean a nice part of the interior either. Herd ’em up, pack 'em off and give ’em the inside room in the bad- lands.” TWO weeks later; in a Washington Post article entitled “The Fifth Column On the Coast," prominent columnist Whiter Lippmann called for the mass removal of Japanese Americans: “The Pacific Coast is in imminent danger of a combined attack from within and Without. . . . The Pacific Coast is oflicially a combat zone. .- . . And nobody ought to be on a battlefield who has no good reason for being there. There is plenty of room elsewhere for to exercise his rights.” _ ' As the press mounted its campaign for Japanese removal, it was joined by patriotic organizations. In January the California Department of theAmerican Legion began to demand that allJapanese known to possess dual citizenship be placed in “concentration camps." Shortly afterward Arnerican Legion posts in Vfashington and Oregon passed resolutions urging the evacuation of all Japanese. In the January issue of their publica— tion, I The Grizzly Beat; the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West told their felf low Californians: “We told you so. Had the warnings been heeded—had the federal and The Myth of "Military Necessity" For Japanese-American lnternmem‘ 109 state authorities been ‘on the alert,’ and rigidly enforced the Exclusion Law and the Alien Land Law . . . had the legislation been enacted denying citizenship to 'oflipring of all aliens ineligible to citizenship . . . had Japan been denied the privilege of using Cali— fornia as a breeding ground for dual-citizens (Nisei);—the treacherous Japs probably would not have attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and this country would not today be at war WithJapan.” . . Beginning injanuary and early February, the anti-Japanese chorus included voices fiom farming interests such as the Grower-Shipper Vegetable Association, the Western Growers Protective Association, and the California 'Farm Bureau Federation. “We've been charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish reasons,” the Grower Ship- ' per Vegetablefissociation stated in the Saturday Evening Post in May; “We might as well . be honest. We do. It’s a question of whether the white man lives on the Pacific Coast or brown man. They caine into this valley to work, and they stayed to take over. . . . If all the Japs were removed tomorrow, we’d never miss them in two weeks, because the white fanners can take over and produce everything the Jap grows"- I . ' Meanwhile, local and state politicians were already leading the movement for Japa:-- nese removal. The boards of supervisors of sixteen California counties, including Los Angeles County, passed resolutions urging removal. California Attorney General Earl Warren. pressed federal authorities to remove Japanese from sensitive areas on the West ' Coast. The Japanese in California, he warned, “may Well be the Achilles heel of the entire civilian defense effort. Unless something is done it may bring about a repetition of Pearl Harbor." OnJanuary 16, Congressman Leland Ford of Los Angeles wrote to the secretaries of the departments of Win and the Navy and the P131 Director that “all Japanese, whether citizens or not, be placed in concentration camps." Two weeks later; several House members from the Pacific Coast states asked President Roosevelt to ‘ grant the War Department “immediate and complete control over all alien enemies, as well as United States citizens holding dual citizenship in any enemy country, with firll power and authority” to evacuate and intern them. ' The Western Defense Command operated within the context of this clamor for Japanese removal. The situation ms very different from Hawaii‘s. Economic interests in California did not needjapanese labor, md_m_ag,wmte.mmem viewedJapanese farmers ascompelitgrs, Representing a small, rather than numgrically‘s‘i‘gnificant racial minority, the Japanese were more vulnerable to xenophobic attacks. Furthermore a mythology of California as a “cosmopolitan” society did not exist to protect its Japanese residents. In fact, the state’s image as protected by politicians in the 1920 vote on the alien land law Was “Keep California White.” On February 1, in a telephone conversation with Provost Marshal General Allen Gullion, General DeWitt said he had “travelled up and down the - West Coast," talked to “all the Governors and other local civil authorities,” and decided to press for mass evacuation. Protection against sabotage, he said, “only can be made positive by removing those people who are aliens and who are Japs’ of American citi— zenship." On February 5, after he had received DeWitt's views in writing, Gullion l 10 ' Reader for Race and Ethnicity W drafted a War Department proposal for the exclusion of “all persons, whether aliens or citizens . . . deemed dangerous as potential saboteurs” from designated “military areas”?5 _ But a decision on evacuation still had not been made in W'ashington'. During lunch with President Roosevelt 'on February 7, Attorney General Francis Biddle said “there were no reasons for mass evacuation.” In his diary on February 10, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson wrote: “The second generationJapanese can only be evacuated either as part ofa total evacuation . . . or by frankly trying to put them out on the ground that their racial characteristics are such that We cannot understand or trust even the citizen Japanese. This latteris the fict but I am afraid it will make a tremendous hole- in our con- _. stitutional system to apply it.” ' ' President Roosevelt was willing to make such a tremendous hole in the Constitu— _ tion. In fiact, he had been considering the internment of Japanese Americans for a long time. On August 10, 1936, President Roosevelt had written a memorandum to the - Chief Naval Operation; “One obvious thought occurs to me—that every Japanese cit— izen or non-citizen on the island of Oahu who-meets these Japanese ships orhas any connection with their oEicers or men-should be secretly but definitely identified and his or her name placed on a special list of those who would be the first to be placed in a concentration camp in the event of trouble.” Thus, five years before the attack on Pearl Harbor; Roosevelt was already devising the imprisonment ofJapanese aliens and citizens in a “concentration camp” without due process of law. On February 11, 1942, Roosevelt met with Stimson, and shortly after the meeting, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy telephoned the Provost Marshal General’s oflice in San Francisco. “We talked to the President,” McCloy said to Karl Bendetsen, chief of the Aliens Division, “and the President, in substancesays go ahead and do any~— thing you think necessary. He says there will probably be some reperCussions, but it has got to be dictated by military necessity. . . .” Three days after he had received his signal fiom Wilmington, General DeWitt sent Stimson his formal recommendation for _ removal, buttressing it with a racial justification: “In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, pos— _ sessed of United States citizenship, have become ‘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.” Three days later, Attorney General Biddle wrote a memorandum to President Roo-. seVelt, opposing DeWitt’s reconnnendation for evacuation: “My last advice fiom the War Department is that there is no evidence of imminent attack and from the FBI that there is no evidence of planned sabotage.” Biddle tried to exercise reason and restraint, - and his efforts to derail DeWitt’s recommendation angered Congressman John Ford. “I phoned the Attorney General’s office,” said Ford, “and told them to stop fucking around. I gave them twenty—four hours notice that unless they would issue a mass evac— 4 ___. _ fl _ __.‘_,._m.__.. _...P—:——W _ The Myth of "Military Necessity" for Japanese-American Intetnment l l l nation notice I would drag the whole matter on the floor of the House and of the Sen~ ate and give the bastards everything we could with both barrels.” The next day, February 18, Secretary of War Stimson met with Attorney General ' Biddle and several others from the Department of Justice and the War Department. In his autobiography, Biddle described the meeting: “The decision [for evacuation] had been made by the President. It was, he said, a matter of military judgment. I did not think I should oppose it any further." The following morning. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which directed the Secretary ofWhr to prescribe military areas “with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of Wino: the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion." The order did not specify the Japanese as - ' _ the group to be excluded. But they were the target: a few months later, when President Roosevelt learned about discussions in the War Department to apply the order to Ger— mans and'ltalians on the East Coast, he wrote to informStimson that he considered " enemy alien control to be “primarily a civilian matter except in the case of the japanese - mass evacuation on the Pacific Coast.” Unlike the Germans and Italians, the Japanese were “strangers from a different shore.” _ President Roosevelt had signed a blank check, giving full authority to General DeWitt to evacuate the Japanese and place them in assembly centers and eventually in internment camps. And so it happened, tragically for the Japanese and for the US. Con- stitution, for there was actually no “military necessity. ” ' Under General DeWitt’s command, the military ordered a curfew for all enemy aliens . and all persons of japanese ancestry and posted orders for evacuation:-“Pursuant to the provisions of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 27, this Headquarters, dated April 30, 1942, all persons ofjapanese ancestry, both alien and non—alien, will be evacuated {rent the above area by 12 o’clock noon, R WT, Thursday May 7, 1942.” The evacuees were instructed to bring their bedding, toilet articles, extra clothing, and utensils. “No pets of any kind will be permitted." Japanese stood in silent numbness before the notices. Years later; Congress- man Robert Matsui, who was a baby in 1942, asked: “How could I as ab-month—old child born in this country be declared by my own Government to be an enemy alien?" But the order applied to everyone, including children. An American birthrightmade absolutely no difl'erence. “Doesn’t my citizenship mean a single blessed thing to anyone?” asked Monica Sone’s brother in distress. “Several weeks before May, soldiers came around and posted notices on telephone poles,” said Takae 'Washizu. “It was sad for me to leave the place where I had been living for such a long time. Staring at the ceiling in bed at night, I wondered who would take care of my cherry tree and my house after we-moved out.” Notice 9f evacuation One spring‘night The image quy wrfi Holding the hands quy mother“ E i :l 1'12 Render For Race and Elbnlcily M Believing the military Orders were unconstitutional, Minoru Yasui of Portland refused to obey the curfew order: “It was my belief that no military authority has the right to subject any United States citizen to any requirement that does not equally apply to all other US. citizens. If we believe in America, if we believe in equality and democ~ racy, if we believe in law and justice, then each of us, when we see or believe errors are being made, has an obligation to make every effort to correct them.” Meanwhile Fred Korematsu in California and Gordon Hirabayashi in ‘Washington refused to report to the - evacuation center “As an American citizen,” Hirabayashi explained, “I wanted to uphold the principles of the Constitution, and the curfew and evacuation orders which singled out a group on the basis of ethnicity violated them. It was not. acceptable to me to be less than a filll citizen in a white man’s country.” The three men were arrested and convicted; sent to prison, they took their cases to the Supreme Court, which upheld their convictions, saying the government’s policies were based on military necessity. Most Japanese howeven felt they had no choice but to comply with the evacuation orders$2 ' Instructed they would be allowed to take only what they could carryLevacuees had to sell most of their possessions—their refrigerators, cars, furniture, radios, pianos, and houses. “I remember how agonizing was my despair,” recounted Tom Hayase, “to be given only about six days in which to dispose of our property.” “It is difficult to describe the feeling of despair and humiliation experienced by all of us." said another evacuee, “as we watched the Caucasians coming to look over our possessions and offering such nominal amounts knowing we had no recourse but to accept whatever they were offer— ing because we did not know what the future held for us." - At the control centers, the evacuees were registered and each was given a number. _“Henry went to the Control Station to register the Emily,” remembered Mon- ica Sone. “He came home with twenty tags, all numbered ‘10710,’ tags to be attached to each piece of baggage, and one to hang from our coat lapels. From then on, We were ' known as Family #10710.” When they reported at the stations, they found them- selves surrounded by soldiers with rifles and bayOnetsf Like a dog I am commanded ._ At a bayonet point. My heart. is irgflamed With burning anguish. From there they were taken to the assembly centers. “I looked at Santa Clara’s streets from the train over the subway," wrote Norman Mineta’s Either in a letter to friends in San jose. “I thought this might be the last look at my loved home city. My heart almost broke, and suddenly hot tears just came pouring out. . . ." They knew that more than their homes and possessions had been taken from them; “On May 16. 1942, .. _ 31:3: imam. The Myth of “Military Necessity" for Japanese-American internment l 13 my mother, two sisters, niece, nephew, and I left. . . by train,” said Teru Watanabe. “Farher joined us later Brother left earlier by bus. We took whatever we could carry. So much we left behind, but the most valuable thing I lost was my freedom.” When they arrived, the evacuees were shocked to discover that they were to be I housed at Stockyards, firirgrounds, and race tracks. “The assembly center was filthy, smelly, and There were roughly two thousand people packed in one large build— ing, No beds were provided, so they gave us gunny sacks to fill with straw, that was our bed.” Stables served as housing “Where a horse or cow had been kept, a japanese' American was moved in. ” “Suddenly you realized that human beings were being put behind fences just like on the farm where we had horses and pigs in corrals.” lfyou live in a Horse stable The winds rftities Blow through. Conditions were crowded and noisy. “There was a constant buzzing—conversa— tions, talk. Then, as the evening wore on, during the'still of the night. things would get quiet, except for the occasional coughing, snoring, giggles. Then someone would get up to go to the bathroom. It was like a family‘of three thousand people camped out in a barn." Everywhere there were lines. “We lined up for mail, for checks, for meals, for shoWers,_for washrooms, for laundry tubs, for toilets, for clinic service, for movies.” There Were curfews and roll calls, and “day and night camp police walked their beats within the center” - 'After a brief stay in the assembly centers, the evacuees were herded into 171 special trains, five hundred in each Snow in mountain pass Unable to sleep The prison train. They had no idea where theywere going. In their pockets, some carried photo- graphs of themselves and the homes they had left behind, and they occasionally turned their gaze away fi-om'the landscape whizzing by them and pulled out their pictures. _ ___+__..mmmuuumw~ua.e-fit . .. -. M'WWWW _. d-fieiinumm...m..-.r_MF—_-ui Afi-.__.u ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2009 for the course ES 252 taught by Professor Nadiaraza during the Spring '08 term at Oregon.

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Takaki_R.003-01 - 1 2 THE MYTH OF "MILITARY....

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