Considering what is going on in America today, and i am NOT looking for a discussion on today’s political situation mind you, do you guys agree with what America did 75 years ago with Japanese, German and Italian-Americans at that time?
Without getting into the highly charged question of “Considering what is going on in America today,” which is a subject that pertains to present-day politics rather than history, this should actually say “with what America did 75 years ago with Japanese-Americans at that time” because German-Americans and Italian-Americans were not interned – or to put it more bluntly thrown into concentration camps – during the war. There’s a scene in the movie Midway in which the Charlton Heston character meets with the young Japanese girlfriend of his son, who like his dad is a naval aviator. She and her parents have been interned, and at one point she turns to Heston and says angrily, “Damn it, I’m an American! What makes us different from German-Americans or Italian-Americans”? The Heston character, who has the decency to look embarrased, answers, “Pearl Harbor, I guess.” Yes, that was part of the answer…put another part of the answer is that Japanese-Americans were much more visible as minorities in the U.S. than German-Americans and Italian-Americans, both of those latter groups being European rather than Asian.
It is false to assert that German-Americans and Italian-Americans were not interred. Those who’d immigrated to the U.S. from Italy or Germany were in many cases placed in concentration camps. (I saw a television documentary about this.) But it was apparently felt that assimilation was more possible for Germans and Italians than it was for Japanese. Someone of German or Italian blood who’d been born here would not be interred; whereas someone of Japanese blood who’d been born here might.
Conditions in the concentration camps were bad. The inmates were thin. Not so thin as to be in danger of death. But still clearly malnourished. Given that the U.S. as a whole was not experiencing any sort of food shortage during the war, this failure to adequately feed the concentration camp inmates is a black mark upon our record; quite apart from the justice or injustice of interning these people in the first place.