JF Ptak Science Books Post 2325
Here's an unpopular opinion for 1943: close the Japanese internment camps.
The Roosevelt administration’s Executive Order 9066 was the legal bombshell that gave the War Department the authority to authorize the removal of the Japanese (19 February 1942) and theoretically prevent those people from engaging in sub rosa and fifth column activities as wartime terrorists fighting for Imperial Japan, and which basically authorized a 60-mile swath of the Pacific Coast as a military zone subject to national defense requirements. 100,000 men, women and children were removed to ten different relocation centers, barrack-enclosures located in remote areas, where the great majority of the "dislocated" waited out the war, some two-thirds of them American citizens.
Mostly desolate and occasionally beautiful, with light policing, they were still prisons.
The great majority of the American population saw this as a military and unfortunate necessity, a byproduct of war. Citizenship did not come into play.
So it was a popular unpopular move; the policy occasionally met with resistance in print, like this example from the April 16, 1943 issue of The Nation, which I reprint in full below. "Jap Crow" was a response to the treatment of the Japanese in America, a version of Jim Crow, which was the de facto regulatory discriminatory and racist behavior towards African Americans and other people of color in the U.S.
The life and location of these camps was well documented, sometimes by some of the greatest photographers of the American 20th century. Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, in particular, made a long series of images at Manzanar. One of the great, iconic images made by Adams comes from this period, and as it turns out, its one of those odd sorts of photos that turns in the opposite direction of what the photographer was there "for". Mount Williamson is just a drop-dead shot to be sure--it is also an image of what the Japanese in the camp were looking out at. Adams turns his camera around, around from the disgrace, and makes one of his greatest images.
The pretty image:
[Source, Ansel Adams, from here.]
Which was basically the 180-degree view of this:
[Image source: here.]
The Japanese at the Manzanar relocation center were from the West Coast who were bused away from their homes and lives and businesses with extremely limited notice, and who were forced to sell nearly all possessions (including lands and businesses) at what were less than fire sale prices. They were made to board buses and trains and were shipped to locations (mainly in California) where they were processed and sent further and deeper into the trying hinterlands of the west for their final destinations until the war was won. (One of the processing centers was the Santa Anita racetrack, where thousands of Japanese were sent to live for periods in converted, just-painted horse stalls.) Manzanar itself is well enough out there—removed, trying, desolate, difficult. Beautiful, too , if you weren’t in prison there. It was a high desert plateau with the snow-capped sierras, ringing the place; no grass, barely a tree, with extreme temperatures and a tough wind that was freezing in the winter and blew hot in the summer…tough enough to make it hard to keep the tar paper on the roof and sides of the thinly constructed barracks that held these people. While every other relocation camp had barbed wire and guard towers, Manzanar had none—its location was so remote and difficult that it made the construction of these inferior barriers unnecessary.
As difficult was life was at Manzanar, and having being completely torn off of the American map and their way of life, the Japanese at the camp established irrigation systems and gardens, made their own furniture from bits and scraps, established a newspaper, created a government, schools, police, and so on, making their life as orderly and hospitable as possible.
A government film, insisting that these people are "dislocated", "evacuees", casualties of war, and not "internees":
And the article: