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US Internment Camps

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by KodiakBeer, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    FDR differed from previous presidents in that he wasn't afraid to push the envelope in usurping powers normally held by congress or even prohibited by the Constitution. Everyone is aware of the concentration camps that many American citizens ended up in, but there was also the TVA where tens of thousands of people had their land seized by the government. Some of his actions might be argued under the "common good" rationale, but the expansion of government powers is a double edged sword.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I was in a "concentration camp" once. It was called Great Lakes Naval Training Center.
     
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  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Did they drag your wife and children and parents in also, then leave them there for four years? There is no rational or moral defense for Roosevelt's concentration camps. Many of those people lost everything - their homes, their businesses, their farms. Prior to the war, Roosevelt blocked almost all European Jewish emigration to the US even after it became clear that these people were being rounded up and relocated to concentration camps. The man had a racist streak a mile wide.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Calling them concentration camps is an insult to the people who survived the Holocaust. Your other aspersions don't hunt.
     
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  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    They were indeed concentration camps, which is quite a different thing than the death camps the Germans built, despite the nomenclature. You can call them internment camps if you like, but that doesn't change the reality of what they were.

    I think, in modern terms, concentration camps date back to the Boer War when Afrikaans families were rounded up and put in camps. I won't argue whether it was wise or just expedient for the British to do so, but at a minimum these weren't British citizens. Roosevelt rounded up over 100,000 people (mostly US citizens) and locked them up in camps in their own country. It's not defensible.
     
  6. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Most Americans were racist and he was not an actual hater ,his mistake was allowing an irrational fear to take hold
     
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    His mistake was not recognizing the rights of American citizens. He could hold any private racist thoughts he liked, but once you start rounding up people and locking them in camps you've gone beyond the pale. The same could be said for his barring refugee European Jews in the late 30's - he didn't bar other Germans or Austrians or Czechs, he only barred Jews. In what way is that consistent with Constitutional Rights that prohibit religious discrimination?
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Concentration camps were around in the American Spanish war were they not?
     
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  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Off topic...Concentration camps....But when someone opens a can of worms. The story of what is and what is not a concentration camp is debatable...In my own view, if you round up your own citizens and encamp them in a place they don't want to be as well as in other nations, then you have a camp. They all differ in their moral reasons for forming them but if your basically imprisoning large numbers without trial then thats good enough for me...We did it with internment..But for others to cry out as if they have never indulged...

    http://cherokeenational.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/carlisle-indian-concentration-camp-ciis.html

    But then this is not my history.
     
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  10. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    There was quite a lot of Jewish immigration to the U.S. before and during the war. I can name a list of composers as long as my arm, and I suspect the list of physicists is even longer. Now, to be fair, the U.S. has always had an easier immigration system for the wealthy and educated than for the poor or disadvantaged, but the only would be immigrants I know as fact he directly impacted were those off the HAPAG liner MS St. Louis. I would that he'd played that one differently, but I'm not sure how obvious it really was in 1939 that things would go the way they ultimately did and the immigrants denied admittance had no either no visas for entry into the U.S. or tourist visas. Most or all had tourist visas to visit Cuba, and Roosevelt and his administration apparently tried to persuade Cuba to accept them, but ultimately they were refused entry due to new legislation that retroactively invalidated the overwhelming majority of their landing permissions. (If you haven't traveled internationally customs can be a very nervy thing indeed. Landing permissions, visas on arrival, and all manner of customs regulations vary considerably from country to country and region to region and it can be a long wait in the airport to get things sorted out. Even now.)

    As to the restrictions on Eastern European (and by extension Eastern European Jewish) immigrants, these largely date from well before Roosevelt's administration, most notably the 1921 Emergency Quota Act and Immigration Act of 1924. With due respect, I really feel like you're reaching when you try to cast the Roosevelt administration in this way. Eleanore Roosevelt was instrumental in some early civil rights movements, famously helping to organize Marian Anderson's concert on the mall, a concert which King was remembering when he gave his "I have a dream" speech from precisely the same location. In fact, Anderson was introduced by Roosevelt's secretary of the interior. (Anderson was initially to have performed at Constitution Hall, which belongs to the Daughter's of the American Revolution. When the DAR refused to allow the concert Mrs. Roosevelt very publicly resigned.)

    I also find it quite interesting that Roosevelt's loudest and angriest detractors in the contemporary Republican partry are precisely the same Republican's who are most staunchly opposed to any kind of immigration reform and favor the strongest and harshest measures to combat illegal immigration. I have no particular idea of Roosevelt's views on race or immigration in his personal life, but his public record stands in rather stark contrast to the picture you paint, which makes your statement seem like little more than polemic bordering on libel.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I never said it was defensible, but it sure as hell wasn't on a par with Auschwitz.
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Indeed! Relating FDR even remotely with a term "concentration camp" is inapropriate. But there are other subjects that belong to the myth of FDR, for example:

    Transatlantic Alliance between the US and GB was the golden age of collaboration. A far-sighted American president was seduced by the bravery and eloquence of a beleaguered Prime Minister and rides to his rescue.

    This is a myth: few years after the war Churchill reflecting on his relationship with the American president stated: No lover ever studied every whim of his mistress as I did those of president Roosevelt.
     
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  13. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    :S! Well said that man. Yes...the special relationship...Its often misunderstood...Still to this day...even more so this day.
     
  14. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    This "barred the Jews" is false, the immigration policy he inherited when he took office was based upon area, not religion or ethnicity. A great many were barred who were not Jewish, people from eastern Europe, people from the USSR territories, people from the Mediterranean locale, and especially Asians, they really needed an "act of God" to be admitted to the US. The quota system couldn't be transferred between areas, and since there were more northern and western Europeans living in the States when each census was taken, their share of open spots was larger and a great many went unfilled.

    This quota system was not a "Roosevelt" policy, nor was it religious discrimination. That was a side effect, and unintended consequence. After the "red Scare", and other upsetting developments in the US post WW1, the nativist group of Americans wished to keep the ratio of ethnic groups the same or as close as possible. There were special "visas", just as there are today for especially talented people, teachers, physicists, scientists, doctors, ect.. That is how the Kissenger family made it in during the thirties, Henry's father was a respected educator, and despite being German, and over-quota for the year, he and his family were allowed to emigrate. You really need to google up the quota system to understand its rigidity.

    If you are referring to the lamentable St. Louis steamship affair, those people boarded that ship knowing the quota for Germans was filled for the time-frame. Their destination was to be Cuba, but at the last minute just before the ship made land-fall, the Germans pulled some diplomatic strings with the Cuban government and then the Cubans wouldn't let them debark in Havana. What the refugees had intended was to wait in Cuba until the new quota ratio was opened, and then move to the US from Cuba.

    It would have been illegal for the US to admit them as over-quota persons, even though a great many groups (Jewish and non-Jewish) urged the State Department to take that step. Sadly a law would have needed to be past to allow them in, and that wasn't going to happen in the isolationist America of the day.

    As to the relocation camps, there were some bad ones, and some very good ones. And it wasn't "all" Japanese either. It only applied to those within four or five hundred miles of the coasts, east or west. Those beyond that range were left alone, and don't forget only the children of the Isei were American citizens, and with the exception of the "no-no" boys a great many of the Nessi served in the armed forces. It was an unfortunate and very much a black eye on the American system, but found fully constitutional by a Supreme Court which wasn't all that FDR sympathetic. There were also Germans and Italians who were "relocated".
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Let me just say this, and I'll leave it behind. The term "concentration camp" was coined in the Boer War when the British rounded up Boer civilians and interned them in camps. That act was decried by the world press, particularly the American press, as inhumane and unprincipled. And so the term predates the even darker meaning it took on after the holocaust.

    Now, neither the American or British camps were anything close to the German version of this idea - but they were indeed concentration camps. People's lives were uprooted, their homes, farms, businesses lost. They were taken away and locked up solely because of their ethnic identity. This was Roosevelt's policy.
     
  16. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    During WWII, over 11,000 Germans were detained and interned, as enemy aliens. Under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act of 1798. Some where German-American citizens, who were also given little due process. US citizens of German decent were interned during WWI as well. Unlike the
    Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II, these internees have never received an apology or reparations.
     
  17. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    Well, the interned Germans and bounced Eastern Europeans are my people, and we don't really need apologies or reparations. We're mostly doing okay and have suffered far less systematic discrimination from the system than, for instance, Japanese Americans before or since. Once we lose the accents we're a little harder to tell apart from all the other more or less identical white folks. I have plenty of bilingual relatives and had some that spoke poor or thickly accented English, but no one walks up to me and asks me what country I'm from in this hemi-demisphere.

    Note: I really shouldn't speak for all caucasion non-WASP immigrants. No one in my family was relocated and all my direct relatives made it in. So maybe relocated Germans are more pissed, which is maybe okay, but I haven't personally met any and I grew up in a darn German town in the mostly Slovac corner of a darn German church. Lots of Ludwigs, Schroeders, Schmalzs, and more than a few Solovics.
     
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    The US also interned many Italian-Americans in what became known as La Storia Segreta. Read more about it at italianhistorical.org.
     
  19. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Alright, I guess were just not going to let this go.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066

    Which also included:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_American_internment

    And these guys:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_American_internment

    It's horrible piece of US History; but, was it in keeping with public opinion of the times?...........yes. In 1941 there were still grandparents who had fought the Indians so rounding up people and putting them in camps wasn't unreasonable.
    Were the number interned by the US even close to those "interned" by the Axis?

    I almost forgot.....the US didn't murder 12,000,000 Japanese, Germans and Italians in gas chambers or conduct un godly experiments on them, neither did the US try to erase them from the planet.
    Another thing to look at would be: How many Japanese were lynched on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor ? I am sure there were some that got a little scuffed up; but, a split lip is a long way from zyklon B showers.
     
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  20. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I respect your intentions to be fair, but the term "concentration camp" including all its variations has dramatically changed its meaning since the Allies have deliberated the death camps and the truth about them became widely known. That term hasn't evolved - publication of the true nature of these facilities has changed fundamentally perception of that term. Or should I say: semantics of that term before and after the world war is completely different.
    Therefore, the use of the term "concentration camp" even remotely with the name of Roosevelt is utterly wrong and unfair because he in fact was one of those who defeated the Nazism. His name is an antithesis of Nazism and everything related to them.
    My 2c.
     
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