Ray Hollmann’s letter, seemed to equate the internment of the Japanese on the West Coast, with Germany’s imprisonment of Jews.
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Pacific Fleet lay in ruins at the bottom of the harbor. The location of Japanese ships was unknown. The whole West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego, lay unprotected.
About 40 percent of the internees were non-citizens. Japanese agents were among the population and could have easily aided Japan’s navy.
It was determined that agents in Hawaii had sent radio aid to Japanese forces — aground observer can furnish devastating aid to bombers. Weeding out Japanese agents would take time. Relocation would negate any radio aid an agent could furnish.
Never miss a local story.
I agree that the forced relocation trampled on the rights of many loyal citizens, but the action was akin to declaring martial law and suspending Habeas corpus.
In 1954, my assistant, a Civil Service employee, was a Japanese-American who had been a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit in American history. Sam (nickname) had been interned in 1942. He told me there were Japanese agents among the internees. Most internees knew who they were but did not turn them in.
The real bad people of that situation were the fine, white Californians, who seized the opportunity to steal their neighbor’s land.