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Question from the memoir "Farewell to Manzanar".

Why were majority of Japanese-Americans forced to move? Why didn't the German-Americans share the same fate?

marked as duplicate by congusbongus, SMS von der Tann, Pieter Geerkens, CGCampbell, ihtkwot Sep 2 '16 at 4:13

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    Can you provide evidence to back the claim that German Americans were killing people? – Mark C. Wallace Aug 30 '16 at 22:27
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    Can you provide one single reference to any mixed-nationality citizen or landed-immigrant, Japanese, Italian or German, killing people during the Second World War other than as part of normal criminal activity? – Pieter Geerkens Aug 30 '16 at 22:29
  • I've removed the phrase because it doesn't seem to contribute to the question. I hope I haven't diminished OP's question. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 30 '16 at 22:31
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    I think the author meant "why did the Supreme Court find the Japanese internment camps Constitutional?" A good question as much of that property would later have ENORMOUS value. I don't recall the property ever being returned but I might be wrong on that. – Doctor Zhivago Aug 31 '16 at 2:12
  • I have not looked at the previous versions of this question, but in its present form ("....not generally....") it is impeccable. – fdb Aug 31 '16 at 10:42
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Why were majority of Japanese-Americans forced to move? Why didn't the German-Americans share the same fate?

About 13,000 German nationals, Italian nationals, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans were interned under Executive Order 9066. This number however represented a tiny, tiny fraction of the tens of millions of such peoples in the US at that time, and most of those detained Europeans were foreign nationals.

This pales in comparison to the internment of Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans during World War II. The US interned 110,000 to 120,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans, almost all on the mainland. This represented about 80 to 90% of the Japanese population on the mainland. To make matters worse, while native-born Germans and Italians could receive citizenship, native-born Japanese could not. (This would remain the case until 1952, when the Supreme Court ruled the various alien land laws to be unconstitutional.) To make matters even worse, almost all native-born Japanese had been in the US for 20 years or more.

The only explanation for this is "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." This was the conclusion of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, which was established by Congress in 1980 to investigate World War II internment by the US and which issued its final report entitled "Personal Justice Denied" in 1982, forty years after the internment began.


References:

CWRIC, Personal justice denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, University of Washington Press, 2011.

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    The only explanation for this is "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." - Now hold your horses. Japan initiated a massive attack on Pearl Harbor and declared war. Japanese were also clearly distinct from their appearance from Caucasians. How do you want to know what loyalties people have who lived for ~20 years in your country? Maybe they could sabotage or subvert war efforts of the US in order to help their home country, or straight go to arms as terrorists. During war times you don't know what to count with. It was not just bigotry and racism. – Battle Jul 29 at 12:51
  • @Battle - It was just bigotry and racism. Those quoted words were not mine; that is why I put them in quotes. Those were the words of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Those words were the key reason why the US government eventually paid reparations to the interned people of Japanese descent -- but not to the interned people of German or Italian descent. The German and Italian internment numbers were small and were based on individual risk assessment, while that of the Japanese was solely based on how they looked. – David Hammen Jul 29 at 22:54
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Wikipedia (for what it is worth) has articles on Internment of Americans of both Japanese and German heritage.

From these, it emerges that out of “nearly 130,000 mainland Japanese Americans” some 110,000 to 120,000 were “forcibly relocated”. In other words: virtually all of them.

On the other hand, out of 1.2 million persons born in Germany and 5 million persons with two native-German parents, a mere 11,000 were detained.

These figures speak for themselves. You asked “why”. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the US authorities were not motivated by military considerations, but by pure racism.

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    Relevant: Anti Japanese sentiment in USA – NSNoob Aug 31 '16 at 11:51
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    The US also interned a few Italian aliens and Italian-Americans. The Italians were quickly dismissed as not constituting a problem, being "harmless opera singers" (in the words of FDR). It's hard to imagine how rampant racism was back then. I hope that people will have a hard time imagining how rampant racism is now, fifty years into the future. – David Hammen Aug 31 '16 at 17:54

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