Read Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World War II (Berkshire studies in history. Berkshire studies in minority history) by Roger Daniels Online


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Title : Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World War II (Berkshire studies in history. Berkshire studies in minority history)
Author :
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ISBN : 9780030818691
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 188 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World War II (Berkshire studies in history. Berkshire studies in minority history) Reviews

  • Sarah Crawford
    2018-10-24 09:46

    "...the legal atrocity which was committed against the Japanese Americans was the logical outgrowth of over three centuries of American experience, an experience which taught Americans to regard the United States as a white man's country in which nonwhites ‘had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.'" The quote-within-a-quote portion was from Chief Justice Roger B. Taney 1857 in Dred Scot v. Sanford.The book then goes into the history of discrimination against Orientals in California, starting with the Chinese. It notes how this arose from economic issues (the Chinese worked for lower wages than the whites), and led to racial issues (whites were considering themselves superior to Orientals. We see the same type of thing today in people arguing about Hispanics coming into the country from Mexico, etc, and in earlier decades it was the Irish, the Poles and so forth.)It then recounts the history of Japanese farmers in the U.S. and how they were extremely successful at farming, eliciting envy and, again, hatred. It also points out that one reason the Japanese did not get into other jobs was that trade unions generally barred Orientals from membership, thus blocking them from getting jobs in manufacturing, building trades, etc. The book further notes:"The Issei subeconomy neither lowered wages nor put white men out of work. Its majore efftc, in fact, was a lowering of the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables for the general population, and Issei agriculture was one of the bases which allowed California's population to expand as rapidly as it did..."The book then goes into the early anti-Japanese movement in California, starting in the late 1880's. This protest became violent around 1906, targeting Japanese businesses and even white customers of those businesses. The author then talks about the San Francisco movement to remove Japanese students from public schools and put them in Oriental schools, and Tokyo's response when it found out.A California congressman- Ralph Newman- complained about white women having babies by Japanese men. The book notes "...Newman's image-the Japanese possessing the white woman-could be interpreted as the sexualization of a different kind of usurpation, the yellow man's taking of what the white man conceived to be his rightful place in society." (This was, of course, the same type of reasoning that many white men used against white woman having relations with black men. Some things never change, just the targets.The 1920 Alien Land Act is discussed which barred leasing, sharecropping and land purchase by Japanese. The Oriental Exclusion League got going in 1919 and one of the things they wanted to do was end the practice of "picture brides" by which male Japanese living in California could choose a potential bride from a picture book, have relatives living in Japan arrange things, and then have her come to the U.S. to become his wife. The book notes: "but to many Californians this age-old method of mate selection seemed just another aspect of a massive and diabolical plot to submerge California under a tide of yellow babies."The book has a lot of detail on the growing racial prejudice in California and other western states and how people's attitudes were influenced by Japan's victory over Russia in their war of 1905 and what they saw as Japanese aggression in other areas. There were even people who wanted a Constitutional amendment that would strip any of the Japanese-Americans who were citizens of their U.S. citizenship.The author then writes about the growing differences between the Issei generation (which was gradually getting smaller and older) and the Nisei generation (which were still children but would come of age in the early 40's.). The Japanese American Citizens League was formed in 1930 and it represented the Nisei generation, setting it in direct conflict with other organizations representing the Issei generation. The Nisei were focused on America and American culture; the Issei were still focused on Japan and Japanese culture.Thus, the population of Japanese ancestry was itself split into two separate groups and at the same time both groups were the object of racial hatred and prejudice from white society.In August of 1941 Japanese assets were frozen in the U.S. One congressman called for holding the Japanese and Japanese-Americans in Hawaii and the U.S. as hostages to ensure "good behavior" on the part of Japan. The author discusses the origin of the "yellow peril" term and how that influenced American thinking.As an effect of various fiction novels published plus the anti-Japanese publications and statements of various groups and the distorted articles found in newspapers the Western U.S. was almost obsessed with the possibility of a Japanese invasion of the west coast and the reaction of the Japanese-Americans living there.After Pearl Harbor newspapers got even more vicious towards those of Japanese ancestry in the U.S. as did the radio programs of the time. (TV had not yet become a reality so people had to depend on the papers, radio and newsreels in theaters for their news.)FDR's Secretary of State fanned the flames by claiming Pearl Harbor was aided by Japanese saboteurs when, in reality, it was caused by incompetency in planning by military commanders in the area and by the U.S. government itself.DeWitt is mentioned in numerous other books as the person who headed the Western Defense Command), and his racial hatred of the Japanese was well known. This book points out he didn't care for blacks any more than he cared for Japanese. His headquarters, the author points out, was really one of confusion and belief in things that were simply not true such as one report of an air raid on San Francisco. The author notes that even military officials did not believe that Japan had the military ability to launch an actual invasion of the west coast; they could do hit-and-run attacks, but their main forces were thousands of miles away from the U.S.The author notes that some of the growing hatred of the Japanese Americans in late 1941/early 1942 was linked to the string of Japanese successes in their fighting in Asia as they overran country after country, seemingly without any trouble. It was obvious Pearl Harbor wasn't going to be avenged any time soon and that also did not sit well with the non-Asian population of the west coast.The author then discusses the growing influence of DeWitt and the military over the Justice Department and the plans for internment camps on what is almost a day-by-day basis.The author points out FDR's prejudice against Japanese and his bending towards political expediency as two reasons why he did not stop the internment project. The author then discusses voices raised for and against the evacuation of the Japanese Americans form the west coast.Something raised in this book is most interesting. One of the reasons for not relocating German and Italian non-citizens, much less anyone of German or Italian ancestry, was the fact that the German and Italian vote block was large and important in any election. The Japanese vote block wasn't. The next chapter briefly examines the tenure of Milton Eisenhower as head of the WRA and the fact that he did not support the evacuation of the Japanese-Americans as being necessary. The author discusses how some schools were willing to accept Japanese-American students from the relocation and some schools refused to accept them. 4300 students eventually went from assembly centers and camps to college. Although the book is entitled "Concentration Camps U.S.A.", the author points out that the camps were more like Indian reservations, but surrounded by barbed wire and armed soldiers. The author says that resistance within the assembly centers and camps was more widespread than commonly assumed. On Aug. 4, 1942, trouble broke out at the Santa Anita racetrack after searches by overzealous security police. One evacuee, suspected of being a collaborator, was beaten by other evacuees. The Kibei, those born in the U.S. but educated in Japan and then returned to the U.S., were the group most in opposition to what was happening with many supporting Japan in its war effort. The main source of trouble was between the Nisei and the Kibei, though, not between the Kibei and the Americans.The next thing discussed is the U.S. military desire to have volunteers from the Nisei for the Army, and the infamous loyalty questionnaire. The segregation of "trouble makers" at the Tule Lake center is talked about, along with the desire of some to be repatriated to Japan.Next discussed are the various court cases related to the evacuation. Something which is truly scary relates to the "Emergency Detention Act of 1950. It states that the Attorney General and the President are given the right to set up camps for "The detention of persons who there is reasonable grounds to believe will commit or conspire to commit espionage or sabotage..." In other words, internment camps could be set up again. (Fortunately, though, the act was repealed in 1971, apparently after the book actually went to press.)After that the author discusses the growing desire on the part of some individuals in the government to start using some of the internees in the American military. specifically mentioned is the 100th Battalion, composed mainly of Hawaiian Nisei, and the 422nd Regimental Combat Team, formed of Nisei from the internment camps. Both units fought in Italy, and then the 100th Battalion became integrated into the 422nd and then the group fought in France for the rest of the war.The author later points out that one of the reasons for allowing Japanese-American to start resettling back on the west coast was an expected Supreme Court decision that would be against their continued confinement. There was concern that some trouble from whites could be expected and some Congressmen from California had already made it well known they did not want any Japanese ancestry people allowed to return to California. On January 2, 1945, the order excluding loyal Japanese Americans from living on the west coast was rescinded.Japanese Americans returning to regular cities had much less trouble from whites than did those trying to return to rural areas where even law enforcement officials were against them. (Some specific incidents of violence are recounted).. Mass protests were held in some places, and hostility arose in other states. Not all whites were against the return of the Japanese Americans, though, and some actively helped them upon their return to the state. 4724 Japanese Americans left the United States for Japan during this time. Further, before the war 88.5% of Japanese Americans lived on the west coast; after the war only 55% lived there, this largely due to earlier resettlement to eastern states and reluctance on the part of some Japanese Americans to return to a west coast where they would be greeted by hostility.This is one of the best books on the subject, absolutely filled with valuable and interesting information.

  • sdw
    2018-11-17 05:58

    If you know little about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Roger Daniels’s Concentration Camps USAis a good place to start. Even if you are familiar with the literature, Daniels work is frequently enough cited that it is worth reading the original. Daniels book manages to touch on the majority of important themes within the history of internment, from the question of responsibility (why did internment happen? Whose fault was it?) to the draft resistance at Heart Mountain, and legal histories of relevant court cases. Daniels overall argument is that the history of American racism is to blame for the internment, and as such America as a whole deserves some of the blame. He states, “The evacuation of 1942 did not occur in a vacuum, but was based on almost a century of anti-Oriental fear, prejudice, and misunderstanding” (2). Overall it is a fairly short readable book that covers a lot of ground and remains historically relevant.

  • Lisa
    2018-11-09 03:43

    A fairly thorough account of the causes of the interment and its execution. He gives cursory treatment to the court cases, but spends lots of time to the explanation for internment and loyalty questionnaire.

  • Ram
    2018-10-27 09:03

    I mean, it was a'ite, but "concentration camp" is ahistorical and just plain incorrect. Sorry, Rog.

  • Selena
    2018-11-10 03:09

    Re-reading this as research for my writing.