pageok
pageok
pageok
Hirabayashi Hoax:

Was there ever a real threat the Japanese would invade the Pacific coast during World War II? Historians think not, but with the benefit of hindsight. In 1943, however, military attorneys argued otherwise, maintaining the threat was serious and justified a racial curfew on those of Japanese descent (including Japanese Americans). These arguments helped persuade the Supreme Court, which held in Hirahayashi v. United States that the curfew was constitutional given the severity of the threat.

But did the military ever really fear a Japanese invasion? A new paper by Eric Muller suggests not. In "Hirabayashi: The Biggest Lie of the Greatest Generation," Muller presents archival evidence that "military officials foresaw no Japanese invasion and were planning for no such thing at the time they ordered mass action against Japanese Americans." Muller argues national security had little to nothing to do with the racial curfew and (worse) the government attorneys who filed the briefs in Hirabayashi knew it. According to Muller, "the Article demonstrates that the Hirabayashi decision - which has never been repudiated in the way that the more famous Korematsu decision has been, and which remains a potent precedent for race-conscious national security measures - deserves to be installed in the Supreme Court's Hall of Shame, alongside Korematsu, Dred Scott, and the Court's other biggest mistakes." He has more on the paper here.

Parris (mail):
The premise of the film "1941", with John Belushi and Dan Akroyd; it had it's moments, before it went off the tracks.
8.19.2008 10:57am
Gabriel McCall (mail):
WWII era Supreme Court rolls over for authoritarian excess? Hold the presses.

Wickard v Filburn... US v Reynolds... the list of such cases goes on and on.
8.19.2008 11:00am
davod (mail):
It was my understanding that the main agrument by the proponents was that numbers of Japanese spies who could report on US shipping could hide effectively in the Japanese population.

I do recall reading that the head of the FBI did not think the relocation was required because he thought his men had all the spies targetted.
8.19.2008 11:05am
John T. (mail):
Perhaps the more disturbing part of this for some people is the way that Dr. Seuss joined it. (In fairness, he also had some very nice cartoons attacking racism against blacks at home during the war, but the man was a Democratic loyalist through and through, even if that meant supporting internment and attacking all Japanese-Americans as a fifth column.)
8.19.2008 11:05am
Ken Arromdee:
I don't get it. Surely the precedential value isn't affected by whether the government lied, since any future cases that use the precedent will assume that a similar threat actually exists.
8.19.2008 11:09am
AnneS:
Government attorneys were less than candid before the tribunal? Hold the presses.

It's when committing an abhorent act seems most rational and necessary that we have to be most skeptical about the justifications put forth for it.
8.19.2008 11:09am
Adam J:
Ken Arromdee- isn't though? I doubt courts are eager to cite cases favorably that have that kind of historical baggage.
8.19.2008 11:14am
AnneS:
Ken- Bad facts make bad law. At the very least, judges sometimes base their legal reasoning on what they WANT the outcome in the case before them to be, which is usually based on the facts. This is particularly true in times of war, when courts are reluctant to overrule actions taken in the name of national security. If the court had known the true factual situation, their statement of "law" would likely have come out differently.
8.19.2008 11:14am
Adam J:
"Isn't it though." Doh.
8.19.2008 11:15am
Mark Butler (mail):
The Justice Department filed briefs in Hirabayashi in May 1943, nearly a year after the Battle of Midway.

Midway effectively ended the expansion of the Japanese Empire--it ended the very real threat to Hawaii and moved a threat of invasion of the West Coast from the category of "wildly improbable" to "absolute fairy tale." And Justice still filed the brief. And the Solicitor General still made those claims in oral argument.

And the Supreme Court bought it. Damn.
8.19.2008 11:15am
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
I'm about halfway through the paper, and I've noticed that Professor Muller heavily (primarily?) relies on the army's intelligence service (G-2) for his evidence regarding US perceptions of Japanese capabilities.

However, wasn't the Office of Naval Intelligence far more heavily involved in the Pacific Theater? So far, I haven't come across any reference to their work.
8.19.2008 11:24am
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
Okay, now I've reached the point where he relies on the opinions of the Marshall/Ike etc. They say the same thing as the G-2 sources, and I'd assume those generals had access to info aside from G-2.
8.19.2008 11:35am
Per Son:
My only comment - Michelle Malkin says that the concentaration camps for the Japanese were good and justified!
8.19.2008 11:50am
Oren:
I've long advocated for the reversal of Reynolds on these exacts grounds. It is the fruit of nothing less than a deliberate attempt by the Executive to deceive the Court. Why the current Court should view this as anything but an grave insult to their constitutional status is beyond me.
8.19.2008 11:53am
Happyshooter:
Midway effectively ended the expansion of the Japanese Empire--it ended the very real threat to Hawaii and moved a threat of invasion of the West Coast from the category of "wildly improbable" to "absolute fairy tale." And Justice still filed the brief. And the Solicitor General still made those claims in oral argument.

Wow, you have really great hindsight. Oh, wait, you don't.

In the battle for Alaska Japan withdrew its troops intact in July of 43 and they were capable of landing again.

Two very long and hard years of war were still ahead of the US, and the landings themselves promised to kill the flower of American youth in a way worse than WWI.
8.19.2008 12:12pm
GV:
Thanks for the link. The paper looks really interesting.

As a small whiney aside, I wish people who put their stuff on SSRN would not double space their papers. It makes them twice as long (which wastes twice as much paper) for no reason. Professor Muller, since I know you read these comments, any chance you could post a single-spaced version of your paper? :)
8.19.2008 12:25pm
Anderson (mail):
it ended the very real threat to Hawaii

There was never any "very real threat to Hawaii." Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully's great book on Midway, Shattered Sword, is persuasive that the Japanese couldn't even have taken &held Midway Island. Hawaii would have been beyond their ability to take, hold, &supply.

Any nonhysterical military planner in 1942 could have figured out the same thing.
8.19.2008 12:26pm
Eric Muller (www):
GV, email me (isthatlegal-at-bellsouth-dot-net) and I'll send you the paper in Word; that way you can set any spacing you like.

I aim to please!
8.19.2008 12:28pm
Eric Muller (www):
Anderson is right; indeed, in the spring of '42, at the same time that General DeWitt was marching Japanese Americans out of California, army and navy intelligence were telling the War Plans Division that they did not anticipate an invasion of Oahu (let alone the West Coast).
8.19.2008 12:30pm
Adam J:
Happyshooter- what battle for alaska are you referring to? Are you referring to the two Aleutian islands that were occupied ... islands that were 2/3 of the way across the Bering Sea to Russia(quite literally in the middle of nowhere to be exact)? You can't seriously be referring to those islands as the West Coast.
8.19.2008 12:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I suppose the question is whether this is a straw man argument.
Was the government's claim based--really, actually, literally and not as a matter of revisionist PCness--on the threat of a conventional invasion of the West Coast?

After we won the war, it was clear that we won the war.
Stephen Vincent Benet and John Steinbeck both wrote as if we'd been successfully invaded. Steinbeck wrote "The Moon is Down" about the Japanese doing it and Benet wrote--iirc-- "Judgment of the Mountains" as if the Germans had done it. So it was not until things got settled down some that it was pretty clear we'd win.

We should also remember that, perhaps with exaggeration by the aggressors, ethnically distinct subgroups had been used as "fifth columns" in several of the pre-Pearl Harbor wars in Europe. In fact, the term itself came from the Spanish Civil War when one general said he had four columns advancing on a city and a fifth working within it. It would have been irresponsible for the US to ignore the possibility.

So, to claim that the feds knew there was no chance of conventional invasion is not necessarily to claim that was what the feds were concerned with.

When I see US=bad stories, I usually presume that there is some misrepresentation within them. And that's why I suspect there is more to the feds' case than the supposed fear of a conventional invasion.
8.19.2008 12:47pm
Anderson (mail):
Stephen Vincent Benet and John Steinbeck both wrote as if we'd been successfully invaded.

If the military expertise of Benet and Steinbeck is what you've got to go on, then you got nothin'.
8.19.2008 12:53pm
Happyshooter:
Happyshooter- what battle for alaska are you referring to? Are you referring to the two Aleutian islands that were occupied ... islands that were 2/3 of the way across the Bering Sea to Russia(quite literally in the middle of nowhere to be exact)? You can't seriously be referring to those islands as the West Coast.

I just read the paper, and he spun the invasion the same way you did. They were two islands way out in the middle of the ocean.

We had just barely won Midway, losing another carrier in the process. Japan was bombarding the west coast, we had lost all our battleships in the pacific and were relying on some new fangled airplane ships to try to hold the japanese back while we rebuilt our fleet, they had invaded Alaska, we lost the PI (losing an entire field army there), we lost China, we were about to lose the last ring before australia, people from Japan worshiped the head of government as a god.

I think there were darn good reasons to take precautions.

I know we have to spin what was going on then to make sure the evil bussssh can't take precautions now, but spinning and lying are fairly close together in the arguments.
8.19.2008 12:56pm
Anderson (mail):
When I see US=bad stories, I usually presume that there is some misrepresentation within them.

Hate to double-up, but that is an amazing statement. The U.S. gets a presumption that it can't have done anything bad? Exactly what does it take to rebut this "presumption" -- a choir of reproaching angels?
8.19.2008 12:56pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I hope Muller doesn't slur Michelle Malkin in the book.
8.19.2008 1:00pm
Anderson (mail):
We had just barely won Midway, losing another carrier in the process.

"Just barely" is a bit of a myth (see Parshall &Tully, supra). We had several advantages going in, and the Japanese had handicapped themselves with a complex and contradictory strategy. As it ended up, we destroyed 4 of their 6 fleet carriers at the cost of only one.

Panic by civilians was perhaps to be expected, for the parade of horribles recited by Happyshooter; but it was the job of the military leaders to know better, and the civilians could and should have listened. Instead, they lied.
8.19.2008 1:05pm
Eric Muller (www):
Richard Aubrey, what the paper does is to document the vast difference between the basis for the curfew that government lawyers offered the Supreme Court, on the one hand, and the reality of what military officials in the historical moment were actually expecting and preparing for, on the other.

Lawyers told the Court in Hirabayashi that the principal danger against which military officials were preparing was a Japanese invasion of the West Coast. But the record is clear that military officials were not preparing against an invasion of the West Coast.

Perhaps military officials secretly anticipated a Japanese invasion but nobody in Army G-2, Naval Intelligence, the War Plans Division, or Chief of Staff George Marshall's office took the time to write it down. I doubt it, though.

And perhaps those officials had some other military-based reason for a racial curfew than invasion. But if so, that's not the reason that the government presented to the Supreme Court, and that's not the reason the Supreme Court rested its decision on in Hirabayashi.
8.19.2008 1:09pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):

The U.S. gets a presumption that it can't have done anything bad?


When compared to conspiracy theorists and people with a political agenda to push? Yes.

But nice job conflating a mere presumption with requiring divine proof in your next sentence. Sarcastro would be proud.
8.19.2008 1:11pm
David Duff (mail) (www):
"the Japanese couldn't even have taken &held Midway Island."

Forgive this foreign invasion but my reading of the Midway battle was that as both sides were punching (virtually) blind it was a matter of sheer luck as to who would win. If the Japs had spotted the American carriers first, who knows what would have been the outcome, and part of the reason that they did not is because the recce plane scheduled to fly a route that would have taken it over Spruance's carriers was delayed 30 mins for engine trouble.

The Midway battle was never just about capturing Midway, as seen from the Jap point of view. Yamamoto only insisted on it, following the shock of the Doolittle raid, because he knew its importance to the Americans and that a thrust in that direction would surely draw out the American carriers which were, first, last and always, his prime target.

Even so, there was never any doubt as to who would win in the long run, as dear old Winnie's celebratory exultation indicated on news of Pearl Harbour. Poor old Pat Buchanan is still choking on his Jack Daniels at the awfulness of it all - damn Brits!
8.19.2008 1:11pm
egrim (mail):

When I see US=bad stories, I usually presume that there is some misrepresentation within them.

Hate to double-up, but that is an amazing statement. The U.S. gets a presumption that it can't have done anything bad?



There's nothing amazing about that statement. There is a lot of "US=bad" revisionism, by writers who misrepresent history. That doesn't mean the US has never been bad, only that most writers who assert "US=bad" have an agenda and are not above misrepresentation.

Your astonishment seems insincere. You pretend that happyshooter said something he didn't and then attack the thing he didn't say.
8.19.2008 1:12pm
Mad Max:
Are you referring to the two Aleutian islands that were occupied ... islands that were 2/3 of the way across the Bering Sea to Russia(quite literally in the middle of nowhere to be exact)? You can't seriously be referring to those islands as the West Coast.

Attu and Kiska are in fact west of Oahu, and would be west of the international date line if the line didn't bend around them.

There was never any "very real threat to Hawaii." Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully's great book on Midway, Shattered Sword, is persuasive that the Japanese couldn't even have taken &held Midway Island. Hawaii would have been beyond their ability to take, hold, &supply.

John J. Stephan's Hawaii under the Rising Sun: Japan's Plans for Conquest after Pearl Harbor contends that the Japanese seriously intended to try to take the islands, and "well into 1943 [Japanese] civilians prepared scenarios of Hawaii's political administration, economic reconstruction, and social transformation under Japanese occupation." Stephan contends that the threat of invasion was real, not a "bogey" used to frighten the civilian population. He also notes that occupation of Hawaii was extensively discussed in the Japanese media before Midway (and one wonders whether the US government was aware of this).
8.19.2008 1:14pm
Mark Butler (mail):
Since when were Attu and Atka part of the West Coast, Happyshooter? The taking by the Japanese of two uninhabited and strategically meaningless islands in the Aleutians is hardly the same as an invasion of California or Oregon or Washington.

And, I didn't say the war was over in 1943. But the expansion of the Japanese Empire ended with Midway and Guadalcanal--both in 1942. By the beginning of 1943 that would have been clear to the military commanders on both sides (and any attack on the West Coast would have been relegated to the level of weather balloons carrying simple incendiaries).
8.19.2008 1:15pm
Anderson (mail):
John J. Stephan's Hawaii under the Rising Sun: Japan's Plans for Conquest after Pearl Harbor contends that the Japanese seriously intended to try to take the islands, and "well into 1943 [Japanese] civilians prepared scenarios of Hawaii's political administration, economic reconstruction, and social transformation under Japanese occupation."

Right, and didn't Hitler have a table set up in his bunker, showing how he was going to rebuild Linz after the war?

But nice job conflating a mere presumption with requiring divine proof in your next sentence.

Mr. Waxx, I am under the impression that you're an attorney or in law school, but perhaps not:

The types of presumption includes a rebuttable discretionary presumption, a rebuttable mandatory presumption, and an irrebutable or conclusive presumption.

My insinuation was that, for Mr. Aubrey's purposes (not Happyshooter's, as Egrim misread), the presumption of American virtue was in the third category.
8.19.2008 1:21pm
Eric Muller (www):
Happyshooter, Japan was not "bombarding the West Coast." There was a single shelling of an oil refinery near Santa Barbara in February '42.

Six battleships survived the Pearl Harbor attack.

Many naval vessels in the Pacific were at sea or docked on the West Coast at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Attu and Kiska are across about 3,000 miles of water from Seattle.

(For comparison's sake, Omaha Beach is across about 100 miles of water from the British coast.)

War Planners in the spring of 1942 were beginning to plan for what would become the Normandy invasion. They well understood the logistics of landing an invading force across 100 miles of water, and therefore also would have understood the logistics of landing an invading force across 3,000 miles of water, or 5,000.

In the end, though, whether you are right or wrong that "there were darn good reasons to take precautions," the reason that the government presented to the Supreme Court to uphold those precuations was the threat of an invasion of California. That reason was false.
8.19.2008 1:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson:
Snide becomes you. Hardly anything else does. The point about Steinbeck and Benet is that there was no popular certainty--they were not alone--that we'd win until well into the war.
As to Midway, "just barely" is accurate as a matter of the prospects before our shattering good luck and the incredible bravery of the pilots. Afterwards, of course, we had won a good deal. But that wasn't the way to bet in advance. Not hardly. Counting on luck is a mook's game in war. It turned out, afterwards, that that was the Japanese high water mark, or the day before it was, anyway. Which we knew afterwards. There was no reason to expect the Japanese wouldn't get lucky themselves sometime, someplace, as at Pearl Harbor or Savo Island, and cut the new advantage back to even-up.

Eric Muller. That's interesting. I suppose the opposition wasn't in a position to query the Pentagon on their views of the situation. Had I, with my hindsight intact, been involved in the situation back then, I'd have been concerned about acts of sabotage in war plants and transportation. Ever see the famed Route Sixty-Six? I did, a couple of years ago, in Arizona. Not much to it to keep the country together. It was railroads, to a much greater extent than now (with Ike's National Defense freeways running everywhere). More choke points. The Japanese at the time must have been concerned about not losing, rather than winning, and invading wouldn't have suited them. But slowing down the US efforts by sabotage would have seemed like a good idea, if they could pull it off. And I would not, at the time, have seen a good reason why they couldn't. At any event, they didn't, and, I am assured, the internment had nothing to do with it.
8.19.2008 1:23pm
Adam J:
Happyshooter- I love how you refer to my stating the factual location of the islands as "spin", yet you are referring to the invasion of the islands as the "Battle for Alaska."
8.19.2008 1:25pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
Professor Muller,

Did the Office of Naval Intelligence have any pertinent information on your topic? If not, did the ONI mostly focus on intelligence gathering and other matters not directly on point to your article?
8.19.2008 1:27pm
Anderson (mail):
The point about Steinbeck and Benet is that there was no popular certainty--they were not alone--that we'd win until well into the war.

Why is "popular certainty" the yardstick here?

As to Midway, "just barely" is accurate as a matter of the prospects before our shattering good luck and the incredible bravery of the pilots.

If you are really interested in why "just barely" is inaccurate, I recommend Parshall &Tully's excellent book. There's too much luck in war, as Napoleon III complained, but we were on remarkably even ground at Midway, due to Japanese errors and American effort.
8.19.2008 1:29pm
Eric Muller (www):
HLS, ONI's periodic assessments during this period were the same as G-2's; this is why when Admiral Stark testified before a congressional committee about the threat to the coast in early February of '42, his testimony aligned with that of General Clark's. (Clark attended and spoke for his boss George Marshall.)
8.19.2008 1:31pm
Adam J:
Ryan Waxx- "When compared to conspiracy theorists and people with a political agenda to push?" Of course those two labels have no real content other than "someone with views I disagree with", so you can simply stick them to whoever you want to without having to actually make a real argument.
8.19.2008 1:31pm
egrim (mail):
Anderson, you're right about my misreading. You did quote Aubrey, not happyshooter as I wrongly wrote.

Still, why assume Aubrey thinks American virtue is an irrebutable presumption? He wrote


When I see US=bad stories, I usually presume that there is some misrepresentation within them.


There's still nothing amazing about about the simple observation that revisionists frequently misrepresent history to promote an unstated agenda.
8.19.2008 1:39pm
Anderson (mail):
I think America suffers from the presumption that we do no evil -- time and again, this turns out merely to facilitate further evildoing. Recent examples suggest themselves.

I am particularly puzzled why the same set of people who profess to think that the federal government couldn't find its way out of a paper bag, nonetheless also profess to presume that the government doesn't do wicked things.
8.19.2008 1:43pm
Sarcastro (www):
When I see stories I disagree with, I usually presume there is some misrepresentation within them.

There are just so many revisionists out there, you can never be too sure!
8.19.2008 1:49pm
Anderson (mail):
When I see stories I disagree with, I usually presume there is some misrepresentation within them.

A rebarbative presumption, I suppose?
8.19.2008 1:50pm
Ken Arromdee:
At the very least, judges sometimes base their legal reasoning on what they WANT the outcome in the case before them to be, which is usually based on the facts. This is particularly true in times of war, when courts are reluctant to overrule actions taken in the name of national security. If the court had known the true factual situation, their statement of "law" would likely have come out differently.

But the court wouldn't need to state the law differently if they knew the true facts. They ruled that a big enough threat can justify a racially-based curfew. If they knew the threat wasn't real, they would be able to rule exactly the same way and just apply it differently--a big enough threat still does justify a curfew, but this wasn't a big enough threat. As precedent, it would still mean that a big threat justifies a curfew.

Besides, the law is full of examples where the legal ruling is obviously based on a desired outcome, but is used for precedent in cases that have nothing to do with that.
8.19.2008 1:51pm
Melancton Smith:
Is it just me or does the title imply that the "Greatest Generation" is responsible for the decisions made during the war?

Isn't the "Greatest Generation" more the young men who served in the war and not the old men that made policy and led the war?
8.19.2008 1:55pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"There was never any "very real threat to Hawaii." Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully's great book on Midway, Shattered Sword, is persuasive that the Japanese couldn't even have taken &held Midway Island. Hawaii would have been beyond their ability to take, hold, &supply. "

But for an unbelievable codebreaking effort, and some incredible luck before and after, the Japanese plan would have succeeded. Hit Midway by surprise, US fleet still in Pearl, sub reports when fleet sails, and they're out there, waiting with 4 carriers to 2.5 (Yorktown badly damaged and still under repair) and a powerful battleship fleet as well (while all ours are still not floated). Not to mention great advantages in cruisers and destroyers and fighter aircraft quality. Even as it was, our torpedo bombers were annihilated, and the two dive bomber units located the Japanese fleet by luck and guesswork. And at that they sunk one of our carriers.

If their plan had gone off, they'd have bagged all three of our carriers. Now they have seven (three were off attacking Attu and Kiska as a diversion from the Midway operation) and we have none, plus their battleship fleet. Sounds to me as if Midway would be easy to hold, and grabbing Hawaii not impossible.

They couldn't hold them forever -- as Yamamoto said, he could run wild for six months or a year, but that was it -- but it'd fit nicely with a strategy that called for grabbing a big perimeter, making us fight for each outpost one by one over thousands of miles of ocean, and hoping we'd be willing to negotiate rather than fight for six or eight bloody years.
8.19.2008 1:56pm
Ken Arromdee:
It's when committing an abhorent act seems most rational and necessary that we have to be most skeptical about the justifications put forth for it.

You don't want to go this way. Consider that homosexual activity is considered by many people to be an abhorrent act.
8.19.2008 1:57pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
Professor Muller,

Thanks for the info.
8.19.2008 2:02pm
Sarcastro (www):
Ken Arromdee you, uh, stepped in a little moral relativism there.
8.19.2008 2:06pm
loki13 (mail):

You don't want to go this way. Consider that homosexual activity is considered by many people to be an abhorrent act.


O RLY? In a post about WW2 arguments before the Supreme Court, you bring in TEH GAYZ? I guess this means DangerMouse will be equating the curfew with abortion within the hour.

Prof. Muller- excellent article, and timely. A court (and the Court) is only as good as the information provided by the litigants; given the nature of the adversarial system, it makes cases involving state secrets or 'trusting the government' particularly pernicious and suspect.
8.19.2008 2:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson.
Midway was a losing fight except for luck and daring and bravery. The comparative combat power grossly favored the Japanese. We were damned lucky to win that one. The incident of the recon airplane being a half hour late is only one instance of good luck, unanticipated good luck.

We were only on even ground if you take your cardboard pieces of Battleship and add forty percent to each American one IN ADVANCE for good luck, and another forty percent for incredible bravery. What the case was afterwards does not affect what the case was beforehand. See, before comes before, and not after after. Tricky concept, I know.
8.19.2008 2:12pm
MnZ:

I am particularly puzzled why the same set of people who profess to think that the federal government couldn't find its way out of a paper bag, nonetheless also profess to presume that the government doesn't do wicked things.


Incompetence and sincerity are mutually exclusive. If only life was so simple!


I think America suffers from the presumption that we do no evil -- time and again, this turns out merely to facilitate further evildoing. Recent examples suggest themselves.


From whom, I can think of more than a few counter-examples.
8.19.2008 2:19pm
AnneS:

But the court wouldn't need to state the law differently if they knew the true facts.


But they most likely would have. Take the rule as stated by yourself. Do you think that the rule would have come out the same if the case of first impression on the issue had been, say, a curfew against all white people in Birmingham in the fall of 1963?


Besides, the law is full of examples where the legal ruling is obviously based on a desired outcome, but is used for precedent in cases that have nothing to do with that.


My point exactly.


Consider that homosexual activity is considered by many people to be an abhorrent act.


Well, this is a pretty meaningless statement. OF course my statement assumed that the "abhorrence" of the act derived from the violation of some rational morality. However, if you prefer, you can substitute "disgusting and unjust violation of human and civil rights". Because, of course, that is exactly what the punishment and imprisonment of American citizens based on their ethnic background is.
8.19.2008 2:21pm
deathsinger:
Dave,

If their plan had gone off, they'd have bagged all three of our carriers. Now they have seven (three were off attacking Attu and Kiska as a diversion from the Midway operation) and we have none

Ranger, Wasp, Saratoga?
8.19.2008 2:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I do think some people think America can do no good. Those are the revisionists, when they discover some good deed needing a smear job.

The discussion of internment in WW II leads to a don't-go-there place to not go. "They didn't do anything against the US!" repeated endlessly as a reason that the internment was unjust and unnecessary leads to a presumption: That "not doing" something against the US means internment by demographic is wrong. It puts the weight of the question on whether "not doing" is what's happening. If that's the case, what if they--some ethnically-distinct group or another--are, in fact, "doing something."? Or, as might have been the case going on seventy years ago, a few of them.
8.19.2008 2:26pm
Happyshooter:
But the expansion of the Japanese Empire ended with Midway and Guadalcanal--both in 1942.

Guadalcanal was almost the end of the allies in the western pacific. The Marines were left hanging when the fleet was forced to withdraw, and reduced to eating captured food and using captured equipment. The Navy lost two major battles in the area. It was only by pure guts, really good fighter pilots, and excellent battlion level tactics that the Corps held on longer than the japanese forces did.

The correct lesson from the battle was that empire needed to attack at regimental strength with combined arms, and it was only because of their lack of willingness to change that they didn't learn the lesson and throw the allies back to the west coast.
8.19.2008 2:26pm
Lovernios:
Regardless of the military's assessment of the risk of invasion, wasn't it still unconstitutional to incarcerate American citizens without due process? I can see in time of war rounding up non-citizens of an enemy power, but citizens?
8.19.2008 2:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Happy. Methinks the revisionism in these matters at hand is designed to discredit the guys who actually did the work. If it was easy, if it was foregone, if that was the way it was going to go, what's the big deal?
The four destroyers who went in with South Dakota and Washington were all sunk. One Marine, all that was left, with one Browning watercooled thirty cal, held a ridge against at least a Japanese battalion. All that the jarheads had for a counterattack was seventeen cooks, clerks, jerks, and wounded. They started at hand grenade range. And prevailed.

But that would be one those good things America isn't allowed to do. So we see, among others, Anderson pretending that what happened at Midway was the way it was bound to go and what's the big deal. Being in a public space at this point, I am not in a position to spit. Arrgh.
8.19.2008 2:32pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Lovernios. We had a whole civil rights movement to establish equality before the law. You're right.

But the question is what were they thinking at the time. And what was the context that would make supposedly intelligent men make such a decision.
8.19.2008 2:35pm
AnneS:
Well, Richard, there's also the 5th and 14th amendments. We don't deprive citizens of life, liberty, or property because of their ethnicity. We don't punish an entire group of citizens because of the activities of some people who share their ethnicity. Is that sufficient n for calling the American action abhorrent? Really, the innocence of the vast majority of people who lost their liberty and property and, in some cases, their lives in that shameful episode is just the icing on the cake - proof that the fears were unjustified and evidence of bad faith on the part of their persecutors.

(Or would you have supported the internment of German Americans during the war? After all, some Germans within the U.S. were collaborating with Nazi Germany.)
8.19.2008 2:36pm
Adam J:
"Methinks the revisionism in these matters at hand is designed to discredit the guys who actually did the work." Seriously, what an pathetic smear job. If someone does some historical research and analysis that determines the US overstated the threat in WWII, they must be doing so because they hate veterans.
8.19.2008 2:47pm
AnneS:

But the question is what were they thinking at the time.

No, that's a question, one of many. The answer to that question can inform, but does not determine, the answer to the other question we are discussing - whether the actions they took were right. I, for one, understand why intelligent men would take the actions they did. I even understand why otherwise good and moral men would take those actions. That understanding does not change my opinion that those actions were wrong, that they were driven in large part by irrational fear and racial animosity, and that they set forth justifications for those actions that they knew were false at the time.

Good, intelligent people sometimes behave in evil and irrational ways. That their actions are understandable does not, in any way, relieve them of moral responsibility for those actions.
8.19.2008 2:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Adam J. Wrong again. Or maybe it's your first time this morning. Hang in there.


You'll note that Anderson's r&a is a matter of presuming that what did happen at Midway as a matter of unpredicable luck and bravery was bound to happen and so it wasn't such a big deal.

I don't know that there are that few people who hate veterans, or others better than themselves.

Anne. I'm not supporting anything. Just pointing some things out. But the libs' tactic is to insist that someone who points out the inconvenient must necessarily support it. That way, maybe he'll stop pointing out the inconvenient. And I wasn't aware the question was what label to put on the whole thing.

And I do caution against putting the "they didn't do anything" out front. 'cause there are some who are doing something right now. And if the whole thing stands or falls on doing or not doing, you have a problem.
8.19.2008 2:58pm
Anderson (mail):
Guadalcanal was almost the end of the allies in the western pacific.

Um, Australia?

I don't think that the valor and determination of American troops and sailors requires such exaggeration.

Arguing back &forth on Midway is a bit silly in the absence of facts. The Japanese had a terrible battle plan, a mediocre carrier commander (Nagumo), and a general lack of clarity as to what they were supposed to be doing. The Americans had an excellent plan (aided by our superb intel), great commanders (Nimitz, Spruance), and a focus on destroying the Japanese fleet. We were facing 4:3 carrier odds, which were not good, but were a helluva lot better than the 6:3 that the Japanese *should* have thrown at us.

Our coordination of air attacks was the glaring defect of the day, but the dive bombers were there when they needed to be, and that was most of the battle right there.
8.19.2008 3:01pm
Ken Arromdee:
OF course my statement assumed that the "abhorrence" of the act derived from the violation of some rational morality.

If so, then you need to rationally figure out if the act is good (in order to decide that abhorrence of it is rational) before you can rationally figure out that the act is good (in order to decide whether to do it). This seems either tautological or circular.

And in any case, everyone thinks their own beliefs are rational, so limiting it to situations where the abhorrence of the act is rational equals no limit at all.
8.19.2008 3:04pm
Anderson (mail):
You'll note that Anderson's r&a is a matter of presuming that what did happen at Midway as a matter of unpredicable luck and bravery was bound to happen

Oh, pooh. Everything's unpredictable and mysterious -- that's a great way to go through life.

Parshall &Tully (at 432): "The most pernicious myth concerning the Battle of Midway ... is the persistent belief that in defeating the Japanese the Americans miraculously triumphed against 'overwhelming odds.'"

As the authors go on to discuss, much of this myth stems from the work of Fuchida, for whom it was very convenient to pretend that the American victory was due to "unpredictable luck" rather than serious Japanese mistakes.
8.19.2008 3:06pm
b (mail):

I am particularly puzzled why the same set of people who profess to think that the federal government couldn't find its way out of a paper bag, nonetheless also profess to presume that the government doesn't do wicked things.


that's funny. i'm constantly puzzled that the same set of people who presume the government is constantly doing wicked things also profess to wanting the government to be in charge of everything. weird.
8.19.2008 3:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anne.
Wrong. Plenty of criminal cases are tried on the basis of what the person knew at the time, or thought at the time.
Morality depends on those, not on what later views of those not under pressure have of the issue.
If they knew they were doing wrong, that's one thing.
If they thought they were doing right, but were wrong, that's another. Completely.


But you do make a point. To "understand" means to follow a thought process and know what the premises are. It doesn't meant to sympathize.

It does seem odd that a number of people with a war on their hands and a million other things to do and who were the least likely in the country to actually encounter Japanese Americans took time out of their busy schedules to indulge racial animosity. IMO, that's a red herring added by current libs for whom discovering instances of racial animosity is better than striking gold. But, outside of moral preening, what's the point? They're all dead and unable to defend themselves--which is a feature--but you don't have the fun of watching them trying to prove a negative.
8.19.2008 3:13pm
Adam J:
Richard Aubrey - So apparently because Anderson said we had an advantage in Midway he therefore discounts the heroism of our soldiers. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Of course, if you use that "logic" consistently, then you discount the heroism of our soldiers in the Gulf and Iraq war... since they had significant advantages over the Iraqis.

The truth is your logic is completely ludicrious, because there's a vast difference between the individual heroism of our soldiers and the likelihood of victory in battle.
8.19.2008 3:16pm
AnneS:
That's not an exclusively liberal tactic. But it is fair to ask why you're challenging someone based on their understanding of the motivations of the historical actors when the main focus is on whether their stated justifications were in fact sufficient (they weren't), whether they were being honest about their justifications (at the very least, it appears that those higher up the chain weren't), and whether their actions were right (they weren't).

And I suspect that you know as well as I do that the reason "they didn't do anything" is often the most loudly stated arguments is not that it is the sole or best argument, but that (a) it's easy to understand; (b) it stokes the moral outrage level in a way "violation of due process" doesn't; and (c) it is in fact true. The fact "some of them" were doing something doesn't change the fact that the vast majority (we're talking 99%+) didn't do anything.
8.19.2008 3:16pm
Mad Max:
War Planners in the spring of 1942 were beginning to plan for what would become the Normandy invasion. They well understood the logistics of landing an invading force across 100 miles of water, and therefore also would have understood the logistics of landing an invading force across 3,000 miles of water, or 5,000.

Well, let's see. The US also invaded North Africa from Norfolk (4,000 miles); invaded Tarawa from Hawaii (2,100 miles); and invaded Saipan from Hawaii (3,200 miles). So it wasn't all "100 miles across the English Channel". The Japanese invasion of Malaya launched from Hainan (1,300 miles); they invaded Java from the Philippines (1,500 miles); Wake Island from Japan (2,000 miles); and the Aleutians from Japan (2,000 miles). So, Japan was more than capable of doing multi-thousand-mile power projection operations, so enough with the jibber-jabber about 100-mile invasions. The Japanese wouldn't exactly have been meeting the Wehrmacht on the other end of their journey, as we were when we were planning Normandy.

would you have supported the internment of German Americans during the war?

Yes! And in fact, it happened - and the Italians, too. But hey, they were white, so no big deal, right?
8.19.2008 3:17pm
mj:
"Muller argues national security had little to nothing to do with the racial curfew and (worse) the government attorneys who filed the briefs in Hirabayashi knew it."

Does he show this in some way? It is not supported by the statement that no invasion was believed to be imminent. The standard support for internment was a fear of sabotage / spying. These are national security issues even if no invasion is imminent.
8.19.2008 3:18pm
Anderson (mail):
that's funny. i'm constantly puzzled that the same set of people who presume the government is constantly doing wicked things also profess to wanting the government to be in charge of everything. weird.

Yeah, now that you mention it ...!
8.19.2008 3:19pm
Mad Max:
they were driven in large part by irrational fear and racial animosity

Irrational fear??? Thousands are dead, the Pacific Fleet is on the bottom of the ocean, the Philippines are doomed, and it's "irrational" to be afraid???
8.19.2008 3:21pm
Adam J:
Mad Max- Fear of Japan was rational, since they were responsible, fear of your fellow citizens for Japan's acts... less so.
8.19.2008 3:26pm
AnneS:
Richard - Nonsense. The criminal character of an act and its moral character are two different things. They are often related, but not always. Even if one grants that the actors had a reasonable belief that they were justified, it doesn't make their actions less evil. And it has no bearing on the constitutionality of the acts. Moreover, our history abounds with people apparently going out of their way to indulge racial animosity.

As for the fairness and utility of discussing - may I say a hearty BULLSHIT. First, they involved our government in their immoral and unconstitutional acts, leaving us with a legacy of really bad law, so it is absolutely still relevant. If only to prevent us from making the same mistakes again. Second, while most are dead now, they were very much alive and kicking when the reexamination of their disgusting actions began and had ample opportunity to respond to the critiques. Some recanted, some didn't, but they had more than ample opporunity to make their case. Third, they were never asked and, if they were here now, would not be asked to prove a negative. They were asked and would be asked to prove they had a reasonable, good faith basis for their vile acts that constitutionally justified the detention of thousands of citizens based on their ethnicity. By contrast, those who would defend these injusticies are asking those of us who condemn them to prove not just that the Japanese weren't a danger as a whole, but that no portion of them were a danger. Which of those burdens involves "proving a negative"?
8.19.2008 3:29pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Jeez, Adam. Get a grip. Anderson isn't playing with a full deck. What we had going for us at Midway was luck--the Japanese commander had changed his plans for arming the aircraft and his flight decks were a chaos of bombs, torpedos and fuel lines--and nobody in Spruance's staff predicted that, nor the huge increase in vulnerability for the Japanese carriers. It would have been worth a court-martial and a quick toss overboard to bring that contingency to a staff meeting. Nobody planned on having the US torpedo bombers get separated from the rest of the strikes and pull the Japanese attention, fighters, and gunners down to sea level, giving the dive bombers a free run. Moreover, it wasn't supposed to happen that way. We trained so it wouldn't. How on earth does getting it wrong translate to some kind of advantage we should have known about? We had their code. Which meant only that we knew where to find the Japanese and that they didn't know we knew. But since they were, supposedly, watching as far as they could, and were on a war footing, it made little practical difference. What did make a difference is the one recon aircraft--which was the one whose search quadrant would have covered the US formation--was half an hour late.

Winston Churchill, in his stint in the Navy admin, said that some people thought battleships were like armored knights belaboring each other with swords, wearing each other out, knocking off pieces of armor here and there and eventually winning by a kind of attrition. Instead, said Churchill, it's like eggs attacking each other with hammers. IOW, first strike might mean win. Since playing blind man's bluff in the Pacific is a matter of luck, not of having some major advantage, it can't be said to be an advantage beforehand.

We were lucky to have found the Japanese before they found us. The bravery of our pilots turned defeat into victory, coupled with luck.

I don't doubt the heroism of our soldiers in Desert Storm, for example, but they do, when I've heard them talking about their forefathers taking the execrable Sherman against the 88, for example.
8.19.2008 3:30pm
Triangle_Man:
Anderson, WRT Midway, you left out the important fact that Nimitz knew the location, time, and battle plan for the attack because the Japanese naval codes had been broken.
8.19.2008 3:33pm
AnneS:
Mad Max - Thanks. I am Italian, so I know. Those detentions were vile, evil, and unconstitutional, too, but the Japanese internment was on a much vaster scale (proportionally AND in absolute numbers) and had other unique features we don't need to go into.

And yeah, it was irrational. We interned 110,000 people of Japanese descent - including all the U.S. citizens of Japanese descent on the West Coast (but not in Hawaii, where they actually made up a third of the population) - based on speculation that some of them might support a Japanese invasion of the West Coast (but not, apparently, Hawaii, where the Japanese originally attacked). But only 4500 Germans and German Americans were interned. Yeah, looks like a rational, racially neutral response to an attack to me. Couldn't POSSIBLY have anything to do with the fact that Japanese people were already the object of racial animosity and much easier to identify? Of course not, just prudent defense.

SPare me.
8.19.2008 3:39pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anne. Their actions may have been evil. That's one issue. Whether the actors were morally evil, based on what they knew, is a separate issue. Cops get a pass from time to time for shooting unarmed people based on the showing of reasonable fear that the guy in question was really going for a weapon. So the act, the result of the act, and the moral responsibility are separate.
Sure, we have bad law following it. But that is separate from the question of what they were thinking, if you're going to be attacking their motivation instead of the actions by themselves.
Well, since they were accused of indulging racial animosity, defending themselves against it would be trying to prove a negative.

And you are still doing the lib thing; pretending that since I am pointing out flaws in your argument I must support the internment. Am I supposed to be concerned or something?

I'm not concerned about the origin of the "didn't do anything argument". I'm concerned about what happens if, having used it to stoke moral outrage among the unwary, we find currently a group which is "doing something". The logic would seem to demand that the latter be locked up. I didn't make the "doing something" argument and I'm not proposing following its logic. I'm suggesting that using it now might put you in a difficult spot. But go ahead if you wish. Sometimes just watching is the most fun.
8.19.2008 3:41pm
neurodoc:
We should also remember that, perhaps with exaggeration by the aggressors, ethnically distinct subgroups had been used as "fifth columns" in several of the pre-Pearl Harbor wars in Europe. In fact, the term itself came from the Spanish Civil War when one general said he had four columns advancing on a city and a fifth working within it.
Right, the Spanish Civil War gave us the now well-established notion of a traitorous "fifth column." But which ethnically distinct subgroup(s) constituted that "fifth column" in the Spanish Civil War? I don't think the general was alluding to Basques, Catalans, or any other "ethnically distinct subgroups." I think that conflict was almost entirely a political/ideological one.
8.19.2008 3:42pm
Adam J:
Aubrey- way to not respond to my argument- my argument had nothing to do with whether or not we had an advantage of Midway, but thanks for spending three long paragraphs extolling how we were lucky &brave. My point is that someone who thinks we did have an advantage at Midway does not therefore think our soldiers were less brave.
8.19.2008 3:44pm
Anderson (mail):
Does he show this in some way? It is not supported by the statement that no invasion was believed to be imminent. The standard support for internment was a fear of sabotage / spying.

As Prof. Muller has said repeatedly above, that "standard support" was NOT what the feds told the Supreme Court their motive was. Think about it.

Mad Max: if you are completely ignorant about Japanese logistical capacities, then okay. But you do I hope understand the difference between surprise landings on undefended coasts, vs. an opposed landing? And the enormous American advantage in materiel?
8.19.2008 3:44pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
neurodoc.
You're right. But the point was help on the inside by an organized group on your side, which happened to be on the outside. Later, Germans in the Sudetenland were both the reason for German attention and, supposedly, a help in the move. Ethnic distinction was a bonus. But the concept of a fifth column was so powerful that the name continues to be the term when no ethnic distinction--but possibly pro-or-anti-church--could be made.
8.19.2008 3:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Adam.
I didn't respond to your so-called argument because it was an insult, not an argument.
Anderson's point, way back, is that we had so many advantages at that point in the war--even GOING INTO--Midway that fear of an invasion or anything else was ludicrous.
My point is that is silly, based on the facts. Anderson et al not so cleverly try to pretend that what happened during the battle was bound to happen because of our overwhelming advantages. And one of the reasons, in my experience, for claiming a near-run thing was pre-ordained is to dismiss the credit due for the guys who did the work. Given Anderson's attitude around here, that was my assumption.

I could as easily be accused of dismissing the credit due the guys who did the work by pointing out our luck, couldn't I? But I haven't been. Why? Because that's not your issue, in reality. The reality is that revising the situation at that point in the war is useful in the internment debate.
8.19.2008 3:54pm
Mad Max:
Mad Max: if you are completely ignorant about Japanese logistical capacities, then okay. But you do I hope understand the difference between surprise landings on undefended coasts, vs. an opposed landing? And the enormous American advantage in materiel?

Hooray, you have correctly understood the point I was making! There is a huge difference between invading Normandy in 1944 with the Wehrmacht waiting for you, and invading any point of the US in early 1942, when essentially nothing is waiting for you. A Japanese landing in the western US in early 1942 would essentially have been unopposed. From the standpoint of the American defenders, there was a vast amount of territory to cover with very little in the way of organized forces.

Oh, and since we are on the subject of ignorance, when the US invaded Tarawa and Saipan, those were hardly "unopposed".
8.19.2008 3:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson. Please name the US landings on undefended coasts.
8.19.2008 3:56pm
Anderson (mail):
Anderson, WRT Midway, you left out the important fact that Nimitz knew the location, time, and battle plan for the attack because the Japanese naval codes had been broken.

I think I mentioned our great intel, but thanks for supplying further detail. Nimitz made a great call -- the intel information was open to interpretation, and another commander might've feared that we were being played by the Japanese.

Get a grip. Anderson isn't playing with a full deck.

Aubrey goes on to recount some of the "myths" that Parshall &Tully wrote Shattered Sword to correct. Really, people, I can't recommend this book highly enough -- I only wish that all military history were written so clearly and with such research and detail.

To correct one of Aubrey's claims: the Japanese planes weren't on the flight decks when our dive bombers showed up; the "chaos" was down in the hangars. It wasn't "luck" that the Japanese couldn't get their act together -- it was the repeated American attacks on June 4, which while failing to hit the Japanese, forced them to take evasive actions and otherwise ruined their morning.

Luck is *always* part of war, but bad luck usually happens to both sides. The side that makes fewer or less grave mistakes, generally handles its luck a lot better.
8.19.2008 3:57pm
Anderson (mail):
Please name the US landings on undefended coasts.

Sigh. That is not the point -- we were addressing the Japanese successes, and why they were unlikely to be repeated.

America was able to make 100% successful landings vs. defended coasts b/c of our HUGE material advantage. (We had brave troops of course, but so did the Japanese.)

Japanese landing in the western US in early 1942 would essentially have been unopposed.

I am shaking my head in disbelief. Okay, so the Japanese land. What, exactly, do you imagine would happen next? They stroll over to Sacramento and accept Earl Warren's surrender of California?
8.19.2008 4:00pm
justaguy (mail):
Oh boy- a bunch of lawyers arguing about WWII Naval history. As a 1980 US Naval Academy graduate (and now a GULC 2007 graduate) who had to learn/memorize in excruciating detail the Battle of Midway and both the strategy and tactics of the Pacific campaigns in the 1970's - the fate of the war looked very different before Midway than after it, and early 1942 looked much much worse than January 1943. The Marines were almost run into the sea at Guadalcanal and Midway was a desperate attempt to use every advantage we had against a vastly superior foe. The code breaking only placed the inferior force of the U.S.carriers in the path of the split but vastly superior Japanese forces. Luck, divine providence, and/or the absolute fanatical bravery of the forces allowed the U.S. to hang on and eventually triumph at Guadalcanal and Midway. Regardless of if the US enjoyed phenomenal luck or the Japanese simply made empire-destroying mistakes- the view in 1942 was very very bleak but by 1943- it was obvious the US would win in the Pacific- only at what cost. There is a reason that the U.S. Navy celebrates the Battle of Midway much like the British celebrate Trafalgar. It turned the war around.

Back to the real question- should the court have looked at the 1942 situation or the 1943 decision and which one was the Justice Department briefing?

It was not even imaginable that the Japanese would be able to turn the war around by early 1943- our industrial capacity was pouring out equipment, we were pouring out trained men- and Japan was not keeping up and even the lose of a few Midway like battles could have stopped us- Admiral Yamamoto's time to run free was up.

Did the Justice Department know the truth to put it into the brief- Was the truth of the situation even known to the public? Lots of ethical decisions had to be made in the administration for the Supreme Court brief and it looks like they made the wrong ones.
8.19.2008 4:09pm
Adam J:
Aubrey- I'm not certain what you find insulting... could you enlighten me? Also, I never made comment on whether you or Anderson were right regarding Midway, but its nice that you keep bringing it up.

Once again, it's completely preposterous to equate individual heroism with the likelihood of winning. And therefore its completely illogical to think that Anderson is attempting to discredit our soldiers simply by stating we were likely to win Midway. Of course, why would you let a little loose logic and reasoning stop you from smearing your opponent and stating he wants to "discredit our soldiers".
8.19.2008 4:12pm
Mark Butler (mail):
Warren wouldn't have been the surrenderer. He was the AG, not the Governor. That would have been Culbert Olson.

By the time Warren became the Governor, in January 1943, the threat of invasion, if there had ever been one, was gone.
8.19.2008 4:12pm
Anderson (mail):
By the time Warren became the Governor, in January 1943, the threat of invasion, if there had ever been one, was gone.

Got me. But did the Justice Dep't flash on that fact?

The code breaking only placed the inferior force of the U.S.carriers in the path of the split but vastly superior Japanese forces.

Oh goodness. If that's what they were teaching at Annapolis in 1980, then my appreciation for Parshall &Tully is only that much greater.

"Vastly superior" does not help much if your forces are "split" so that only part of them are actually in contact with the enemy.
8.19.2008 4:15pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

Are you referring to the two Aleutian islands that were occupied ... islands that were 2/3 of the way across the Bering Sea to Russia(quite literally in the middle of nowhere to be exact)? You can't seriously be referring to those islands as the West Coast.


The father of one of my high school friends was one of the soldiers who retook the Aleutians from the Japanese. He had a great time: a brief period of combat followed by an extended period of cross-country skiing.
8.19.2008 4:16pm
Mad Max:
I am shaking my head in disbelief. Okay, so the Japanese land. What, exactly, do you imagine would happen next? They stroll over to Sacramento and accept Earl Warren's surrender of California?

I am shaking my head in disbelief at you. Just because they couldn't march inland, we should have been completely indifferent to the prospect of a raid on the coast? There were many valuable facilities on the coast, and if they occupied even a square foot of totally worthless US soil, it would have been a propaganda and domestic political black eye of tremendous proportions (not to mention it would have driven the public crazy). We exerted ourselves mightily to get Attu and Kiska back, even though that was an invasion that had even less places to go than a raid on the west coast.
8.19.2008 4:18pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Adam J.

Anderson is trying to influence the internment argument by insisting we were in far better shape at that point in the war than we actually were. To the extent we were in better shape, the internment decision is less rational. Making the internment decision less rational is the objective, hence the necessity to "improve" our situation at the time.

There is another reason for this, and that is to dismiss the credit due the guys who did the work. IMO, Anderson is guilty of both. He'd do the latter whenever he got the chance, and the former in discussions of internment.
8.19.2008 4:20pm
Mad Max:
Nope, nothing to see here. It's all hysteria and racism.

1941 CABLES BOASTED OF JAPANESE-AMERICAN SPYING
By CHARLES MOHR, Special to the New York Times
22 May 1983
The New York Times

WASHINGTON, May 20 -- Before interning 120,000 Japanese-American citizens and alien residents in World War II, President Roosevelt and some of his top advisers may have seen decoded Japanese diplomatic cables boasting that ethnic Japanese had been ''utilized'' for espionage, according to a former intelligence official...

Only a few messages among the many hundreds reprinted in the Defense Department Magic study deal directly with the question of Japanese Government efforts to mobilize ethnic Japanese within the United States for intelligence purposes. However, hundreds of the cables contain espionage reports without citing the identity of the persons who furnished the information.

A cable from the Tokyo Government to its Washington embassy, dated Jan. 30, 1941, asked the embassy and Japanese consulates to arrange for ''utilization of our 'second generations' and our resident nationals.'' But it added, in parentheses, ''in view of the fact that if there is any slip in this phase, our people in the U.S. will be subjected to considerable persecution, the utmost caution must be exercised.''

On May 9, 1941, the Los Angeles consulate sent Tokyo a message marked ''strictly secret'' that seemed to assert that cooperation was being obtained from some ethnic Japanese.

The cable said strong efforts were being made to recruit white and black agents ''through Japanese persons whom we can trust completely.''

''We have already established contacts with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area, who will keep a close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war materials, and report the amounts and destinations of such shipments,'' the message said. ''We shall maintain connection with our second generations who are in the army, to keep us informed of various developments in the army. We also have connections with our second generations working in airplane plants for intelligence purposes.''

A cable from the Seattle consulate dated May 11 told Tokyo that intelligence would be collected on United States naval ships in the Bremerton, Wash., Naval shipyard; on mercantile shipping; on aircraft manufacturing, and on troop and ship movements.

It added, ''For the future we have made arrangements to collect intelligence from second-generation Japanese draftees on matters dealing with the troops as well as troop speech and behavior.''


Racism, I say. Damn those people who won WW2 were evil!

U.S. blacks used as Japanese agents Muslim leader part of WWII plot
Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
19 April 1993

Japanese military officials conspired with black leaders in the United States before the bombing of Pearl Harbor to recruit spies and organize race riots aimed at overthrowing the U.S. government, FBI and military records reveal in a fascinating footnote to a war that began more than a half-century ago.

The secret plan, which also aimed at helping blacks evade the draft and desert military units, was directed by Satohashi Takahashi, a major in the Japanese army, and involved several leading U.S. blacks, including Elijah Muhammad, then leader of the Nation of Islam.

According to records obtained by The Washington Times under the Freedom of Information Act, dozens of undercover Japanese agents, known as members of the "Black Dragon Society," were sent before the Pearl Harbor attack to cities throughout the United States - including Washington. They met with black leaders, recruited followers and established a network of black spy and propaganda operatives.

"The purpose of {the Black Dragon Society} was to organize all the dark people in the world and to build a separate government in their respective governments under the leadership of Japan," said a secret FBI report, which was only recently declassified.

"The Japanese are scattered in every city in America working for the same purpose and {Maj. Takahashi} feels they should be organized now because the time is not so very far off when the Japanese will strike," the April 1940 FBI report said.

Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam for more than 40 years until his death in 1975, was arrested in the District in May 1942 on charges that he counseled, aided and abetted young blacks to evade the military draft.

Federal authorities said at the time he had "openly sympathized" with the Japanese and had encouraged other blacks not to serve in the U.S. military. Several other Nation of Islam leaders throughout the country, including those in the District, were arrested on similar charges.

Acquitted on charges of sedition, Elijah Muhammad was convicted for refusing military service himself and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was released in 1946.

Relying on information from confidential informants, who were not identified, the FBI said Black Dragon Society agents - posing as linguists, guest lecturers and academics from the University of Tokyo - had ready access to the United States and were seldom challenged by U.S. authorities as they traveled throughout the country.

The access, according to the FBI, was part of an overall plan developed by the Japanese military, the Black Dragon Society leadership and officials at the University of Tokyo.

Much of the conspiracy developed between 1935 and 1941 when Japan was gearing up for World War II. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, destroying a large part of the U.S. Pacific fleet and causing the deaths of 2,280 Americans.

The FBI report said Maj. Takahashi, who also was known as Naka Nakane, and others established spy and propaganda operations "in all the major cities of the United States."

A War Department memo dated July 9, 1941, said that Japanese agents planned to "utilize American Negroes for subversive and espionage purposes" and that blacks who worked in "naval arsenals and other military or naval plants" were to be used for gaining military intelligence.

The memo, written by Col. C.H. Mason, who was head of the Army's intelligence division, said several national black organizations had become integral parts of the Japanese propaganda effort.

Major among those organizations, according to Col. Mason, were the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Boston Urban League, the Negro Alliance, the Negro Congress, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Moorish Science Temple of America.

The memo also said officials at the Japanese Consul General's Office in New York City directed much of the operation.

A letter from officials at the Moorish Science Temple in New York to the Japan Institute in Tokyo, dated Dec. 27, 1940, said that the temple was looking to hear from a Japanese speaker and that "the audience would be made up of 300 or 400 people of Moorish descent, all of the dark race, who are sympathetic and interested in the freedom of the whole Asiatic race and all of the darker races throughout the world."

Later, according to the FBI, the Muslim Cult of Islam, also known as the Nation of Islam, emerged as a dominant force among many blacks in the country.

A War Department memo dated Aug. 22, 1942, said Nation of Islam members were "advocating absolute nonparticipation in the defense of the United States . . . and believe that the Japanese, by winning the present war, will be a means of triumph for the black race."

The memo, which also has been declassified, said Japanese officials, including Maj. Takahashi, were involved with the Nation of Islam and had helped establish much of its anti-white, anti-military agenda.
8.19.2008 4:22pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
No one with any real understanding of Japanese politics thought, then or now, that Japan had any intention of invading and occupying the United States with the possible exception of Hawaii. Japanese foreign policy had two goals. One was to acquire lebensraum, which it naturally intended to do in underpopulated areas close to Japan, such as Manchuria and Borneo, not in the United States. The second goal was to survive the war that it clearly saw coming. Since the Allies had exhibited great hostility to Japan, treating it as a second class country even before the issue of Japanese expansionism arose, Japan saw little choice but to take up with the Axis as neutrality did not seem to be a plausible option. Given this goal, Japan had a secondary goal, which was to obtain control of sufficient oil to support Japanese industry and the military. That is why the "Strike South" faction in the Japanese government won and Japan invaded Indonesia. The "Strike North" faction advocated the invasion of the Soviet Union on the grounds that the Soviet Union was a serious threat.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not the initial step in an invasion of Hawaii. Rather, it was a pre-emptive strike intended to disable the US Navy so that it would not interfere with Japanese activity in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, racist paranoia overcame the understanding of Japanese politics by the small number of experts who understood it.

As evidence of the long-standing and irrational nature of the belief that Japan intended to invade and occupy North America, I note that racist literature expressing fear of this possibility long antecedes the run-up to the war. For example, in 1921 Hilda Glynn Howard published "The Writing on the Wall", a fictional portrayal of the invasion that she saw coming. Among the features that shows how unrealistic her understanding of the situation was is the fact that in the book Japan and China cooperate in the invasion of the US and Canada. The same is true of the Fu Manchu novels, which portray a completely unrealistic general oriental conspiracy against the white man.
8.19.2008 4:30pm
Sarcastro (www):
This just in: anecdotes equal data!

All bearded white men to report to jail immediately as pot-smoking hippies.
8.19.2008 4:32pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mad. In The Thousand Mile War, Garfield makes the point that men expended most of their courage and skill trying to find each other. Referring to the weather, of course.
Were it not for the political issues involved, it probably would have been a good idea to let the Japanese garrison the place and use subs against their resupply.

I can say that, as late as the early Seventies, the US plans included responding to a Fifth Column "hippies and college students" whose mob assaults on military installations in this country would be timed--probably without consulting them but maybe they'd think it a good idea--with a soviet nuclear strike or other major move against the US domestically. If they could interrupt US defensive activities...why would the sovs scruple at it? One more advantage, and paid for by the Kid's parents, too. It seems more likely that the hippies and college students could have been induced to do that than that Japanese Americans could be assaulting the defenses of, say, San Francisco's naval facilities at the time a regiment managed to land on the seaward side to seriously tear the place up.
At this point, neither seems to have been likely, but, given the history of such things in Europe, the latter would not have been inconceivable to planners, either.

Seems to me that if we're supposed to reserve judgment of other cultures, that we might be wise to reserve judgment of other times. Both or neither.
8.19.2008 4:33pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):

A Japanese landing in the western US in early 1942 would essentially have been unopposed.
Indeed, a Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Pakistani, or South Ossetian landing in the western US today would also be unopposed. Aaah! The terror of it!

I don't pretend to be a military expert, but even supposing that the Japanese got some troops to the western US, how would they be able to keep them supplied and what level of resistance could they expect from the National Guard and civilians of the Western States? Did the Japanese not make Mad Max's attack because they were stupid, or because Mad Max is flying with a screw loose?
8.19.2008 4:34pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
A further comment on the difference between Hawaii and the West Coast. Japan did indeed have hopes of seizing Hawaii at some point, though this was never its principal goal. This interest in Hawaii, however, should not be taken as suggesting a Japanese desire to invade and occupy the continental United States. In Japanese eyes Hawaii had been part of the Japanese sphere of influence: the Japanese were very upset by the US annexation of Hawaii and the subsequent restrictions on contact with Japan, not to mention the vicious racial discrimination practiced by the Americans.

Hawaii, unlike the West Coast, was therefore regarded almost as a lost Japanese possession.
8.19.2008 4:35pm
AnneS:
OK, RIchard. What inference other than racial animosity is possible when we detained 110,000 individuals of Japanese descent, along with all the American citizens of Japanese descent on the West coast, while only detaining about 16,000 individuals of German descent and 1500 individuals Italian descent? What inference other than racial animosity is possible in light of the rhetoric and actions surrounding the internments? What inference other than racial animosity and irrationality is possible when those at senior levels who advocated the policy left behind a long trail of lies, distortions, and omissions?

The Japanese were an easy target. They were different. "Punishing" them served an irrational need to act out against a perceived alien. IT certainly did not serve any rational ends. And as for moral responsibility - I submit the well documented lies and distortions used to justify the imprisonment of Japanese Americans, the conditions of confinement, the theft of Japanese AMericans' property, in addition to obviously moral offensiveness of punishing a large number of American citizens for alleged treason on the part of some of their fellow Japanese.

As for logic, the statement "they were innocent!" does not imply that the internment would have been justified if more of them weren't. Only the logically deficient would think so.

(BTW, the kneejerk "only liberals blah blah blah" has even less force than usual when you're accusing people who oppose FDR's actions of using stupid "liberal" tactics)
8.19.2008 4:37pm
David Duff (mail) (www):
Gosh, this is beginning to seem like the American civil war all over again!

In my view (from outside, both geographically and historically) Aubrey is entirely right. The following is as near the true as any history can get:

1: Whilst Nimitz guessed the Jap target was Midway (later confirmed definitely by the trick concerning the water storage tanks), he did not know Yamamoto's dispositions on the ocean before battle was joined. Thus Spruance, like Nagumo, was fighting blind.

2: At that time, American war planes, weaponry, tactics and combat experience were totally inferior to the Japanese.

3: The history of the Pacific campaign confirms over and over again, that it was the hopeless confusion of mistakes, and successes, by individual recce pilots and their observers which could swing a battle one way or another.

As an Englishman, I consider the courage of the American torpedo aircrews in their doomed attacks on Nagumo's ships to be one of the most highly commendable acts of bravery in the whole of WWII. They would not have been aware, and tragically, they would never know, that their action was critical in that it brought the Japanese CAP down to sea level, leaving the dive bombers an unopposed attack. Speculation, of course, but I, personally, doubt that Japan had the where-withal to take Hawaii after Midway, had they been successful at Midway.

If I may paraphrase very slightly the words of a famous American which sums up so much in military history but is particularly pertinent to Midway:

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the [general was lost; and for want of the general, the battle was lost]."
8.19.2008 4:43pm
ejo:
reading the above, I would almost form the opinion that WWII was some sort of frolic as opposed to a war that killed scores of millions. I am curious as to whether internment was a particularly controversial issue back in the day. I can't imagine it was, given the concerns over sabotage and the global dimension of the war. we were really paranoid back then and had a country full of bedwetters. When it comes right down to it, we did a lot worse during that war to win it. We sunk down to our opponents level in many ways, thank goodness.
8.19.2008 4:45pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Oh, a note on the Japanese spies. I'm having some trouble understanding the relevance of these cables. They speak of Japanese diplomats' attempts to recruit Americans of every color. (They are also short on specific accomplishments, suggesting that they weren't making much progress.) That is, of course, what diplomats do. How that ties in with Korematsu and Hirabayashi is hard to understand, while the overt, shocking bigotry of white people back then is easy to forget. Just this week the NY Times ran a piece on a veteran of the 442nd, and how he was rejected again after the war for medical school by an admissions officer who said he didn't let Japs in before the war and wasn;t going to start. Somehow remarks like that seem more real to me than what Mad Max and his friends in this thread can do after rolling three consecutive double-sixes at their wargame club.
8.19.2008 4:46pm
deathsinger:
justaguy,


...turn the war around by early 1943- our industrial capacity was pouring out equipment...


Oh c'mon you can't possibly be pointing out that during 1943 we commissioned 2 new BB's, recommissioned an older one, plus 6 Essex's, 9 Independence's, 6 Bogue's and 18 Casablanca's.

The Japanese commissioned 3 carries about the size of the Independence's in 1943 to go along with their 8 existing carriers. Oh wait, it sounds like we built more carriers in 1943 then the Japanese had in total.

Maybe, just maybe (I'll consult my Magic 8 ball) you're right, by 1943 the war in the Pacific was an issue of how much the US wanted to win, i.e. how much were we willing to sacrifice in order to win.

Thankfully there are no modern parallel situations...
8.19.2008 4:47pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I am curious as to whether internment was a particularly controversial issue back in the day
It was. Obviously the war covered over the issue somewhat, but lots and lots of whites were well aware that racism was the principal reason for the internment.
8.19.2008 4:49pm
Anderson (mail):
They would not have been aware, and tragically, they would never know, that their action was critical in that it brought the Japanese CAP down to sea level, leaving the dive bombers an unopposed attack.

This is not true. There was an *hour* between the torpedo attacks and the arrival of the dive bombers. The Japanese just didn't get their ducks in a row.
8.19.2008 4:51pm
ejo:
briefly reviewing the actual opinion and certainly not acting as a scholar, the Court was addressing an order and conviction from 1942. While the opinions was released in 1943 and all the war historians note that our victory was inevitable then, the actions leading up to the appellate review all occurred in early '42. Was our victory inevitable in March of 42?
8.19.2008 4:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Andrew.
Keep in mind that the Japanese invented both the banzai charge and the kamikaze. Both involved the knowledge by the participants that they would not survive.

From time to time, they did some good with the banzais. I think it was on Okinawa that some got through an airfield's defenses and destroyed some aircraft before being killed.

Point is, a raid is different from an occupation. Even a raid where the entire unit is written off could be a problem, depending on what they accomplished.

Wars like WW II are not won by single ops, but by wearing down the other side. If you as a Japanese commander think--and it matters not whether you're right or wrong--that sacrificing a regimental landing team to tear up San Francisco's naval facilities and delaying their use for a month would be a net plus, you might as well do it. It would slow down US activities for a while, might make a negotiated settlement more likely, and you're losing that many guys every week in conventional ops anyway. Go for it. US planners would have been derelict to ignore the possibility. And that includes both defending the coast and keeping an eye on the locals.
And you don't need to be a military expert to see this.

As to logistics, keep in mind that the Japanese managed to occupy huge swaths of China and Manchuria because they were close and resupply was not, originally, opposed. And because they lived off the land, starving millions of locals in the process. The west coast is pretty fat. Also has or had ordnance facilities. They couldn't have conquered the US, but you could, at least, make up an alt-hist with reasonable verisimiltude that they could have held large parts of coastal CA and maybe OR for some months, doing untold damage. Unlikely, as I say, but not beyond the bounds of reality. If they'd attempted, presuming a good deal of help from the JA population, they'd probably have lost. Almost certainly. But, as Wellington said, the next saddest thing to a battle lost is a battle won.

Many things which didn't happen didn't happen because they were prepared for. It doesn't mean that, lacking preparation, the other guy might not have seen an opportunity.
8.19.2008 4:55pm
ejo:
The actions taken must be appraised in the light of the conditions with which the President and Congress were confronted in the early months of 1942, many of which

Page 320 U. S. 94

since disclosed, were then peculiarly within the knowledge of the military authorities. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese air forces had attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor without warning, at the very hour when Japanese diplomatic representatives were conducting negotiations with our State Department ostensibly for the peaceful settlement of differences between the two countries. Simultaneously or nearly so, the Japanese attacked Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Wake and Midway Islands. On the following day, their army invaded Thailand. Shortly afterwards, they sank two British battleships. On December 13th, Guam was taken. On December 24th and 25th, they captured Wake Island and occupied Hong Kong. On January 2, 1942, Manila fell, and on February 10th, Singapore, Britain's great naval base in the East, was taken. On February 27th, the battle for the Java Sea resulted in a disastrous naval defeat to the United Nations. By the 9th of March, Japanese forces had established control over the Netherlands East Indies; Rangoon and Burma were occupied; Bataan and Corregidor were under attack.

you would almost think they were engaging in actual analysis from quotes like the above as opposed to the mindless racism that would make Anderson and AnneS happy.
8.19.2008 4:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson.
The reason they wouldn't know is they were DEAD. Is it possible to be more despicable? I imagine you'll give it a hell of a try.
8.19.2008 4:58pm
Eric Muller (www):
ejo, my article contrasts the actual military intelligence available in late '41 and early '42 with the depiction of the military threat in that time period that government lawyers presented to the Court when they filed their brief in May 1943.

And for what it's worth, while the discussion here has, to some extent, veered to the question of whether our victory over Japan was inevitable, that issue is not particularly relevant to the claims in my article.

(I say this not to fault anyone for the direction of the discussion here, which I find very interesting. I'm just noting that nothing in my article turns on the question of whether (or when) an Allied victory over Japan was inevitable.)
8.19.2008 5:04pm
AnneS:
Ejo: Internment was certainly controversial to the victims of it. And it equally certainly had no effect on our ability to win the war, unless you postulate that we needed to whip up a little xenophobic feeling to motivate us to fight. Moreover, it is well documented that senior government officials lied and concealed the truth in order to justify internment of Japanese Americans. They may or may not have believed that internment was necessary, but they certainly knew that they didn't have the factual grounds to support it.
8.19.2008 5:08pm
Eric Muller (www):
ejo, I don't understand what you are suggesting by quoting that passage. The questions at issue are (a) whether, at the time the army ordered the curfew and exclusion of Japanese Americans, the army (or the navy) was expecting or preparing for a Japanese invasion of the West Coast in the imminent or distant future, and, if the answer to that is "no," (b) did Justice Department lawyers know that when they depicted the curfew in Hirabayashi as a response to a threat of Japanese invasion of the West Coast (a threat that Justice Douglas went out of his way to call "not fanciful but real" in his concurring opinion).

My research reveals that the answer to (a) is "no"; during the key moments of early 1942, the army (on order of Chief of Staff George Marshall) was actually scaling back its preparedness for a coastal invasion, not building it up. And my research reveals that the answer to (b) is "almost definitely yes," which means that Justice Department officials probably either lied or somehow could not get their minds around the truth of what they knew.
8.19.2008 5:10pm
Anderson (mail):
Is it possible to be more despicable?

I dunno ... is it possible to be a worse reader? The "this is not true" obviously pertained to whether Torpedo 8 &Torpedo 8 prevented the Zeroes from intercepting the dive bombers. They didn't. The Japanese had plenty of time to reassemble their CAP, had they cared to do so.

The pilots were incredibly brave, but that wasn't at issue ... except perhaps in your own mind.
8.19.2008 5:11pm
Al Maviva (mail):
They started at hand grenade range. And prevailed. But that would be one those good things America isn't allowed to do.

Right. But we were only in that whole damn racist Bush er fascist Roosevelt er I mean corrupt Prescott Bush war because of our racism against the Japanese? The Rape of Nanking? Only happened because the Chinese buddied up to us. The enslavement of Korea? They provoked the poor Japanese; invading Korea, the slave work, and the pleasure women were all self defense measures on Japan's part. We brought it on ourselves really, and besides, there's no proof it was Japan that actually attacked Pearl Harbor; it could have just as easily been the Australians, since they would have a lot to gain by getting the U.S. to quash their trade rivals. That we would win was such a foregone conclusion, we really only needed to shout "Boo" following Pearl Harbor, and the Japanese would have crumbled, consistent with their long tradition of peace-lovingness and their cultural values of living in harmony with their neighbors. Totally unnecessary war against an unimposing pipsqueak of an enemy that we singled out because we're basically the root of all eeeeeee-ville, just like we're oppressing Iraq and Afghanistan and Russia today to get all their oil, and because Halliburton told us to do so. You need to check out Pat Buchanan's brilliant, Greenwaldesque takedown of that shame of a World War II that we started with our economic policies. It's clear we're to blame for pretty much everything. At least the part the British and the Pope aren't responsible for.

But you tell the kids of today that, and they don't believe you.*



*Apologies to Terry Gilliam.
8.19.2008 5:23pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
anderson.
The reference is that "they", which would be the torpedo pilots, wouldn't have known, they being dead.
The reason the CAP was at sea level was that they were expecting more torpedo planes. Obviously, worrying about planes already shot down isn't going to keep the CAP screwing around looking into the water. But the torpedo planes drew them down and there they stayed for fear of more torpedo planes.
8.19.2008 5:28pm
justaguy (mail):
I think after all of the chest beating, your issue remains: why did the Justice lawyers brief in 1943 that an invasion of the West Coast was even a remote possibility? This is a very different question than in early 1942. the Court recognized that the situation in 1942 had to be taken into account (noted by ejo above), but this left the Court with the option to either hide behind the past and affirm, or hide behind the fiction that an invasion was still possible.

Anderson:

Even with the split forces- what the Japanese brought to the battle of Midway was still manifestly superior to what the U.S. fielded. Our vastly inferior aircraft managed to hit the Japanese carriers first and when they were extremely vulnerable. The battle was a big roll of the dice- and we won. We just as easily could have lost and lost most of our remaining carriers. I'll leave it up to the historical fiction writers to decide what could have happened if we had lost, been unable to supply Austrailia, and not been able to defend any bombardments of Pearl Harbor.
8.19.2008 5:28pm
Eric Muller (www):
justaguy, I think I am not being clear. What the lawyers wrote about in 1943 was the military situation in early 1942. They made factual representations in 1943 about what military officials were perceiving and preparing for in early 1942.

I'm not sure if that changes your point/question, but it is worth noting that the fact that the lawyers were writing in 1943 doesn't really mean much, since what they were writing about was the (supposed) state of affairs in 1942.
8.19.2008 5:31pm
Happyshooter:
And for what it's worth, while the discussion here has, to some extent, veered to the question of whether our victory over Japan was inevitable, that issue is not particularly relevant to the claims in my article.

Yes, the claims in your article are, distilled, that the distance to the west coast meant the empire could not stage an invasion or raid.

You downplay the successful invasions of Wake and Alaska, and the very near invasion of Midway, by pointing out those advance staging bases were still one thousand or two thousand miles away from the coast.

Thus, no danger.

However, starting on page 23 you argue that Midway and the American victory meant there could be no invasion at all. This is overstating a case.

On page 28 the argument starts that army intel says that costal invasion was not likely for the present. Even the portion quoted say that the empire could make such an attack, but was more likely to invaid and riad other areas for the present.

A movement order for civves cannot wait for the eve of the invasion itself. The troops should be in their final prep then, not moving citizens away. Also, the threat was disruptions, and what better time to disrupt than right before the invasion? Add the fact that many of the victims worshipped the leader of the enemy as god, and you have good reason to move them to camps.

The argument on page 35 is weak. The commander of the western zone asked for more troops. He was the man on the scene and had access to the intel. Citing an answer by a general staff officer denying those troops in favor of sending them elsewhere is not dispositive. Staff officers justify their decisions, but they are not all knowing and the man didn't know more than the commander.
8.19.2008 5:39pm
Anderson (mail):
Good gracious. Enough, people, if you want to read the book on Midway, then read it. If not, not.

Regardless, thanks are due to Prof. Muller for clarifying his point: no one in the military's top ranks had any basis to fear an invasion of the U.S. from early 1942 on. We had planned for war with Japan, we had our "Germany First" grand strategy. If we had really feared that Japan was going to invade the West Coast, do you think we would've treated the Pacific theater as a sideshow?
8.19.2008 5:42pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
just.
Come to think of it, I read a novel about Aussie resistance to Japanese occupation. It did not end well. Most Aussie troops were in North Africa at the time of Coral Sea.
The Japanese treatment of civilians in response to resistance was severe. Even winning against a raid or failed occupation would have been disagreeable in the extreme.

I found a long list of incredibly wonderful things redounding to the benefit of the US at a monument to the Battle of San Jacinto. Since it was in Texas, I used a bit of salt. It is hard to say that any particular battle wins the war or, in isolation, provides huge benefits of other kinds. If it does, it's because of other battles won (and lost) leading up to that battle. And not losing the advantage afterwards.
Midway was the turning point only because, afterwards, it proved to be the turning point. At the time, it was just one more battle we'd won with a hell of a road ahead and no guarantees. We had the odds, maybe, and we had the initiative. As long as nothing terrible happened or the Japanese got lucky, or really, really smart. We might have won easier, or paid a higher price, or settled for splitting up the Pacific with a vicious, warlike regime whose internal structure did not allow for war fatigue.

It's funny about all the folks who say that if the Germans had only dedicated all the ME262 to air defense, we'd have had to settle. Or bailed on a surface navy and put the steel into Panzergrenadier divisions. Or...anything. But with the Japanese...all over after Midway. No alternatives.
IMO, crap.
8.19.2008 5:44pm
Anderson (mail):
It's funny about all the folks who say that if the Germans had only dedicated all the ME262 to air defense, we'd have had to settle.

Because those folks are nuts.
8.19.2008 5:46pm
ejo:
The problem is that the dramatic title, "the biggest lie", doesn't really match up to the content. it is noted in the paper that the military was doubtful (three months after our victory at Pearl Harbor) as to an invasion with land troops but more concerned about air/naval bombardment as well as espionage/sabotage. certainly, at the time, an invasion was something on the minds of our military. they just didn't think it feasible.

further, the actual court opinion doesn't dwell on invasion but notes the other fears at the time as important factors. it even addresses the issues involved with race. all in all, I would hope that a dramatic title would match the content-my brief read shows it doesn't.
8.19.2008 5:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson.
Yeah,they are. But the Panzergrenadier argument is not so nuts and some of the reason of the surface navy was to police their anticipated winnings. Which, of course, made winning less likely.

My point is, nobody seems to have done anything like this wrt Japan. One exception is the History Channel describing what might have happened if what the Japanese had on the drawing boards had all been in full-scale production and what we had on the drawing boards stayed there. It's a crazy premise. But, as I say, the idea that we had no way to lose after Midway (and according to you no way to lose at Midway) is not mirrored in the ETO where, say the theorists, we could have lost in half a dozen ways clear up to spring of 45.
8.19.2008 5:57pm
davod (mail):
"We had planned for war with Japan, we had our "Germany First" grand strategy."

If we had planned for a war with Japan it did not go as planned. Otherwise why did we leave the Phillipines out of the plan.
8.19.2008 5:59pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
While I don't know of any evidence that the Japanese and Japanese-Americans on the West Coast ever presented any special danger to security, and while it is true that the Japanese navy and army never could have invaded California, in May 1943 the Japanese Navy was certainly able to attack the West Coast.

The carrier Essex had not yet joined the fleet (my father was on her a few weeks later when she did) and until late in 1943, the Japanese Navy was bigger than the US Navy in the Pacific.
8.19.2008 6:15pm
Anderson (mail):
If we had planned for a war with Japan it did not go as planned. Otherwise why did we leave the Phillipines out of the plan.

The Phillipines were indefensible, and everyone except Douglas MacArthur (and, doubtless, the Filipinos who relied upon him) knew this.

My point is, nobody seems to have done anything like this wrt Japan.

Japan's industrial poverty vis-a-vis the U.S. is one reason why "Japanese victory" scenarios are not terribly plausible. They lasted as long as they did b/c we fought them with one arm tied behind our back.

That said, I personally believe that one reason why Midway was important was that it preserved the "Germany First" strategy. We've heard a lot in this thread about hysterical public opinion in the U.S. Had our 3 carriers gone down at Midway, FDR might've had a hard time keeping America's eyes on Europe.

(I attempted to edit the Wikipedia article on Midway to reflect this insight, but was reverted on the notion that this was "counterfactual." How one evaluates the importance of a battle w/out considering the results if it had gone the other way, I do not know.)
8.19.2008 6:16pm
ejo:
the impression I draw from the piece is the only one concerned is Stimson, a doddering old fool of the age of 74. that doesn't seem consistent with his level of activity, responsibility or importance during WWII.
8.19.2008 6:22pm
Uthaw:
indeed, in the spring of '42, at the same time that General DeWitt was marching Japanese Americans out of California, army and navy intelligence were telling the War Plans Division that they did not anticipate an invasion of Oahu (let alone the West Coast).

So these were the same guys who, a few months before, did not anticipate a Japanese carrier strike on Oahu? Hmmmm.

An obscure footnote to history: in late 1944, the Japanese planned a suicide raid on Los Angeles, with a brigade of troops that would cross the ocean by submarine, land, and attack as many aircraft factories as they could before they were annihilated. Training for the operation began in December 1944, but the personnel were diverted into an airborne attack on Marianas B-29 bases.

But hey, no way they could have pulled off a raid in 1942, that's just crazy talk.
8.19.2008 6:24pm
Anderson (mail):
and until late in 1943, the Japanese Navy was bigger than the US Navy in the Pacific

"Bigger" does not make all the difference. The Japanese would've been operating at the end of a very, very, VERY long supply line.

Now, if your point is just "they could've attacked the West Coast" -- like, shelled it, or dropped some bombs -- sure. We did that to them in the Doolittle Raid.

But while that might or might not've had some political significance, it would've been militarily negligible. The only military contribution of the Doolittle Raid was that it helped Yamamoto sell his crappy Midway plan ... and our command arrangements, however short of ideal, were 1,000% better than Japan's, so far as "resisting hysterical pouting generals and admirals" went.
8.19.2008 6:25pm
Anderson (mail):
Are we moving the goalposts? Were we supposed to fear a Japanese *invasion* in 1942, or a *raid*?

Part of our confidence that even a raid was unlikely may've depended on an exaggerated idea of land bombers' potency vs. ships. That idea should not've withstood the results at Midway, where repeated land-based raids hit exactly zero targets on June 4.

But regardless, Prof. Muller isn't gauging counterfactuals, he's asking a factual question: did the U.S. military's leaders fear or anticipate a Japanese invasion in 1942? And the answer, according to the historical record, is: No, they did not.

Whether they were *right* or not is beside the point for Prof. Muller's purposes.
8.19.2008 6:29pm
Eric Muller (www):
Uthaw, the military in 1941/1942 distinguished between the possibility of a raid and the possibility of an invasion. Lawyers did too.

The article makes this distinction clear, linking to primary source documents.
8.19.2008 6:32pm
Anderson (mail):
Oh, and everyone, follow the link for the California suicide raid -- the historian, Weinberg, is quite reputable, tho more up on diplomatic than military history. That *this* was what the Japanese were reduced to planning, says a lot. 300 Japanese, apparently under the leadership of Sly Stallone, were to blaze their way across L.A. and blow up two aircraft factories.

Great video game concept, though. I expect a complimentary copy, designers!

(Weinberg notes that the Japanese's crazy balloon attacks *did* shut down the secret Hanford uranium plant for 3 days, but the Japanese of course didn't know of Hanford or of their "success" there.)
8.19.2008 6:35pm
Sarcastro (www):
Uthaw I love historical footnotes! I love even more assuming that stuff that might have happened did!

In 1942-1943, America had a plan to release bomb-laden bats at night over Japanese industrial targets. The flying bats would disperse widely, then at dawn they would hide in buildings and shortly thereafter built-in timers would ignite the bombs, causing widespread fires and chaos.

I like to act as though we pulled off the Bat Bomb thing, and constantly worry about the Bat Race spirling out of control. I hear Saddam had Wild Mouse-Deer-Bat technology!
8.19.2008 6:35pm
Anderson (mail):
In 1942-1943, America had a plan to release bomb-laden bats at night over Japanese industrial targets.

I just now clicked on where the movie Wanted got its rat-bomb gimmick from. Worked rather well, in the movie ... just like that "bending bullets" trick.
8.19.2008 6:39pm
Dave N (mail):
This just in: anecdotes equal data!

All bearded white men to report to jail immediately as pot-smoking hippies.
Even Santa?

Think of the children.
8.19.2008 6:51pm
Sarcastro (www):
Dave N Point! All bearded white men report to the North Pole immediately to deliver toys to all good boys and girls!
8.19.2008 6:55pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Muller presents archival evidence that "military officials foresaw no Japanese invasion and were planning for no such thing at the time they ordered mass action against Japanese Americans"

Are thoes the officials who forsaw no attack on Pearl Harbor, and had the fleet nicely bottled up?
8.19.2008 7:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Elliot. One would hope they were the replacements.

My father was in ROTC at UConn when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The cadre was sent around the area to various military installations to gauge their preparedness. One major came back shaking his head. He'd gotten to a place where the trucks were all lined up to make them easier to guard against sabotage as the planes had been at Ford Field or just because lining things up is what a peacetime military does. He ordered them scattered.

Changing habits does not happen overnight.
8.19.2008 7:45pm
Anderson (mail):
Are thoes the officials who forsaw no attack on Pearl Harbor, and had the fleet nicely bottled up?

Among other things, Pearl was under the command of the Navy, whereas the defense of the contiguous U.S. would be an Army responsibility.

Regardless, cf. "raid" and "invasion," supra.
8.19.2008 9:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, Anderson. Although I am personally loyal to the Army over the Navy, do you have any information which would lead you to believe the thinking was any different wrt invasion/raid.
8.19.2008 10:20pm
Anderson (mail):
do you have any information which would lead you to believe the thinking was any different wrt invasion/raid.

Haven't been able to download Prof. Muller's article, which he says addresses the distinction, but one doesn't need much in the way of facts here.

(1) An invasion was impossible.

(2) A raid was very, very, very unlikely, and of little if any military significance.

Pretty much all that George Marshall needed for this one was a globe. Not unlike the old joke about Hitler's invading Russia.

(I would love to see something from a real WW2 expert about the Japanese Army's spare troops available for a U.S. invasion. They were pretty busy guys in 1942.)
8.19.2008 10:28pm
Smokey:
David Duff @ 8.19.2008 3:43pm is exactly right in his analysis.

And for those folks who think that the victory at Midway turned the tide, that just isn't the way human nature reacts during a war.

Japan had won victory after victory for years in China, Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, Hawaii, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, etc., etc. The perception on both sides was that Midway was probably a temporary setback.

Japan still had ten [10] top of the line battleships in the Pacific to our zero seaworthy battleships. And they had more aircraft carriers available, and better pilots, and better aircraft. Keep in mind that the Navy's thinking at the time was still in favor of battleships over carriers; what carrier could possibly withstand contact with a battleship? We know better now, but generals and admirals always fight the last war.

We got very lucky at Midway. And the Japanese made some bad mistakes. Specifically, Nagumo dithered, switching his aircraft from torpedoes to bombs to torpedoes, when he should have been attacking. He didn't enforce adequate discipline on his hotshot [and very excellent] pilots, who simply decided to come down off Combat Air Patrol to join in the fun they had seen that their pals were having, shooting down the attacking Torpedo 3 squadron from the Yorktown, the Torpedo 6 squadron from the Enterprise, and the Torpedo 8 squadron from the Hornet, every last plane. Had those CAP pilots remained above the carriers, they would have disrupted the American dive bomber attack that won the battle.

The Marines have a saying: "Kill the f*cking enemy!!" That is priority #1, far above anything else. The undeniable fact that we have allowed that priority to slip since WWII explains the results of the Korean conflict, Vietnam and currently, Iraq. Many thousands of American soldiers died in those conflicts because we didn't keep our eye on the ball.

Now it seems we want people to like us, way more than we want to win the wars we get into. Funny thing is, they hate us even more. Why? Because everyone loves a winner.

You can't win wars by worrying about civil rights. That comes after the victory.
8.19.2008 11:00pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Who cares? The problem is that many people act like the kind, docile Japanese you know today are exactly like the people we were at war with back then. Those Japanese were filthy raping, pillaging, and murdering scum, every bit as equal as the Germans. I never understood why history has given them a pass.

Anotehr question I have is why did some Japanese groups get together and sue the U.S. government to keep the interment camps open after the war was over? I wish I could get an answer for that.

If I want to read WWII history, I'll read The Great Raid, which tells the real story about what Americans are about and what those Japanese were all about.
8.19.2008 11:52pm
PETN Sandwich (mail):
"Japanese American" at the time meant duel citizenship. While some Japanese Americans were interred in the US, virtually all Americans (and its allies) were interred in land occupied by Japan.

Most of Japanese ancestry interred were either of Japan or Japanese American citizenship (and their children, which were claimed by Japan as theirs). They were, by definition, enemies, and were treated much better than the allies (and their children) were by Japan in its camps.

Most Japanese citizens refused to renounce loyalty to Japan after the war began. However symbolic, technically too late to matter in that day, but they did get better digs for renouncing the motherland.


Interestingly, not one post above noted that Japan did invade and occupy parts of the US, ultimately resulting in more than 100,000 US civilians killed there by the Japanese Army.

Nor did one post note that within of hours of Pearl Harbor the incidental 'Battle of Niihau', where "Japanese Americans" and a "Japanese-American" (modern sense) spontaneously assisted a downed Japanese pilot who took part in Pearl Harbor in his efforts to control the island.
8.20.2008 1:44am
Randy R. (mail):
ejo: "I am curious as to whether internment was a particularly controversial issue back in the day. "

I would suspect that it was somewhat controversial for those who were actually interned against their will. If it had happened to you, I'm sure you would have happily given up your business, your home and your life so that some gov't bureaucrat can be satisified that you, as a potential fifth columnist, are neutralized.

As always, it's always easy to deny someone *else* their rights. And we can always justify it somehow.

I'm glad that that someone found that the Japanese were planning a suicidal raid on the west coast. That of course means that they were going to do it. Just like Hitler was planning a comeback as late as 1945 when the allies were encroaching upon Berlin.

Reminds me of the US Army's plans to develop a bomb that would turn our enemies into homosexuals, and then they would be having sex in the trenches instead of fighting, and we would win our wars.
8.20.2008 2:09am
Randy R. (mail):
Richard, AnnS made a good point which I noticed that you didn't respond to. If you agree that the gov't had the right and the duty to intern the Japanese as possible fifth columnists, then you would have to argue that the gov't was derelict in NOT interning ALL people in the US of German or Italian descent as well. A few thousand out of the millions of those descent doesn't cut it. Worse, many were allowed to volunteer or be drafted into the army. Surely, if your argument held any water at all, the military should be off limits to any person of german, japanese or italian relationships, because they could easily sabatage our military efforts.

And yet we welcomed them all in to the military. Except the Japanese. What is the justification?
8.20.2008 2:13am
Harry Eagar (mail):
PETN's post is almost entirely crap. I am pretty sure most of the lawyers on this thread already know that Japanese immigrants to the US were not permitted to naturalize until 1952.

Anderson's statement 'Among other things, Pearl was under the command of the Navy, whereas the defense of the contiguous U.S. would be an Army responsibility' is entirely crap.

Fortress Oahu was an Army fortress. The Army was responsible for protecting the fleet in harbor, and the fleet was responsible for preventing an enemy from getting at the Army.

Roberta Wohlstetter clarified all this 50 years ago. Sheesh.
8.20.2008 2:45am
DG:
Actually, plenty of Japanese were welcomed into the military as well. See the 442nd RCT. For what its worth, I think interning all enemy foreign nationals would have been a good idea. Assume citizens are loyal unless proven otherwise or there is good reason to be suspicious. However, Japanese, German, and Italian citizens should have been in the klink, no questions asked.

Its so easy to look back and criticizes the conduct of a war where the probably outcome of defeat would have been horrible. We did plenty of terrible things to win WWII. Maybe you or I would have made different choices, but we have the luxury of time and the knowledge of victory. For too long, America has fought wars where the outcome of defeat was just a little egg on the face. WWII was not one of those wars. Defeat would have been final.
8.20.2008 2:51am
PETN Sandwich (mail):
"you would have to argue that the gov't was derelict in NOT interning ALL people in the US of German or Italian descent"

Most Japanese interred were citizens of Japan - then the enemy, that is what Japanese means, go figure.

Most Americans of Japanese descent were not interred.

So drop yer crap about "the gov't was derelict in NOT interning ALL people in the US of German or Italian descent"

Oddly enough, it seems that Americans of Italian descent and German descent were concentrated in the Pacifc theater, and those of Japanese descent served in the Atlantic. Senator Inouye, for example? The 442 and 100.
8.20.2008 2:54am
PETN Sandwich (mail):
"PETN's post is almost entirely crap. I am pretty sure most of the lawyers on this thread already know that Japanese immigrants to the US were not permitted to naturalize until 1952."

Harry, You are simply ignorant.
8.20.2008 2:57am
Ursus Maritimus:
I would like to see firm numbers about how many of those interned were Japanese citizens, how many were voluntary dual citizens, how many were American citizens, and how many of the third were minor children of parents in the first two categories.
8.20.2008 5:02am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Randy.
I am not making the argument that internment was a good idea, or at least not from today's perspective.
I'm making the argument that, in those days, people could have been and should have been thinking differently. I do that by pointing out various circumstances of the war. An example would be the view that Midway was a foregone conclusion where we barely had to show up, making fears for the west coast silly. Or not. It doesn't mean they came to the correct conclusions. It does mean, however, that you and Anne would lose an opportunity for moral preening, which is what you seem to object to.
You and she further exemplify the lib trait of accusing somebody who's making either objections to a train of thought, or pointing out factual flaws, of supporting a vile moral crime. I know you never get tired of doing that, but don't you get a bit weary of being busted at it over and over?
8.20.2008 8:31am
AnneS:
PETN, Richard, et. al.

Contrary to your assertions, most - about two thirds - individuals of Japanese descent who were detained were American citizens. As Harry pointed out and despite PETN's terse dismissal, Japanese immigrants weren't allowed to naturalize until AFTER the war. So, that means the majority of individuals interned were born in the U.S., another large chunk were immigrants who had been here long enough to naturalize but weren't allowed to because of the racist laws, and a small percentage were temporary visitors or individuals taken from Latin America to be interned in the U.S When the centers were finally closed, some didn't want to be forced to leave immediately because they had little to return home to - the immigrants weren't allowed to own land in California and had lost their leases, the citizens had been forced to sell theirs.

Unless you're asserting that there were actually more individuals of Japanese descent than German or ITalian descent, or more Japanese citizens resident in the U.S. than German or Italian citizens similarly situated, your argument that detaining individuals who are ethnically related to our enemies is fully justified just doesn't hold. We detained over 110K individuals of Japanese descent, most of whom were citizens. We detained only 16K individuals of German descent (4.5K of whom we took from Latin America) and between 1.5 and 3K individuals of Italian descent, most of whom weren't natural born citizens. Pretending that the Japanese internment was just a routine and prudent exercise meant to neutralize a potential threat from enemy aliens is just counterfactual.

Japan's actions during the war are not the issue, nor is the extended debate over the inevitability of our victory (or lack thereof). Nor is the fact that a very small number of individuals of Japanese descent committed treason. What is at issue is that over a hundred thousand people, most of them U.S. citizens, were persecuted, imprisoned, and deprived of their property without due process and that the senior policy makers who decided to take this disgusting course of action knowingly lied about the factual basis for their actions. It didn't make America more secure, it wasn't necessary, and it was the latest and probably the most egregious in a long line of official racist acts by the U.S. government directed against individuals of Japanese descent.
8.20.2008 9:02am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anne.
It's hardly at issue. Most people think it happened.

My point is that today's thinking does not apply to then. It was still a bad idea, but our judgment of the perps is overdone. They were flailing about for a way to avoid losing, then to figure out a way to win. In the process, some good things were done, some bad things were done.

The reason for the discussion of the inevitability of victory, or not, has to do with the legitimacy of fears for the west coast. If the west coast was vulnerable, then the fifth column possibility was more urgent. That doesn't justify the action, but it does justify the worry.
IMO, people like Anderson who tell us we had so little to worry about in the Pacific are doing so for two reasons, one being to dismiss such fears as foundations for the internment. The other being to dismiss the credit due to better men than himself. So the time spent on Midway was a legitimate part of the argument, having to do with fears for the west coast.

I also get a kick out of the view that, since it didn't happen (whatever it was), guarding against it was a waste of time and a stupid idea.

And why is it so important to impute racism to the perps? What happened happened and the arguments about racism versus mixed-up fears of fifth columns ought to be moot by this time. I know! I know! Moral preening.
8.20.2008 9:12am
AnneS:
Why is it important to impute racism? Because when it jumps up and screams "Here I am! Here I am!", it is just plain stupid not to point it out. And it is relevant to judging the good faith and reasonableness of the actors. As for the "moral preening" charge, give me a break. The Japanese internment remains relevant today because we need to avoid doing it again. As recent events show, it is almost irresistibly tempting to violate civil liberties and human rights en masse to assuage our fears. Pretending that all is justified if we think it might be necessary to win the war is an invitation to repeat our national mistakes.
8.20.2008 9:25am
RobertT1 (mail):

We had just barely won Midway, losing another carrier in the process.

"Just barely" is a bit of a myth (see Parshall &Tully, supra). We had several advantages going in, and the Japanese had handicapped themselves with a complex and contradictory strategy. As it ended up, we destroyed 4 of their 6 fleet carriers at the cost of only one.


Just barely is correct. If that catapult launcher on the Japanese cruiser had not been malfunctioning, and it's search plane had launched on schedule, then the battle would have had quite a different ending.
8.20.2008 9:39am
Smokey:
AnneS, why did you dodge the question of dual citizenship? You're a whiz with your figures. So how many Japanese that were interred had dual American/Japanese citizenship? Cite, please.

You cannot serve two masters. Internment under the circumstances was the right decision. Look at the FISA kerfuffle after 9/11. Same-same. When we're attacked, the law sleeps for a while. Things eventually get sorted out. Norman Mineta pocketed a $20,000 check for spending 4 months in a camp as a cub scout. In my book, that's an obscenely gross overpayment to Mineta. And I'll bet Norm didn't go find someone who lost some property, and cut their family in on his easy loot.
8.20.2008 9:50am
AnneS:
I didn't dodge, Smokey. It's not relevant. At the time, individuals with dual Japanese - American citizenship were exclusively individuals born in the United States - that is, natural born U.S. citizens. THat Japan's laws (like some other countries) granted citizenship to these individuals can hardly be imputed to the individuals as a fault. They weren't given the opportunity to opt out, nor did the U.S. offer them the opportunity to sign a loyalty oath in lieu of suffering persecution and imprisonment.

However, if you're postulating that it WAS relevant, why weren't we detaining more German and Italian nationals who were resident in the U.S., as well as their U.S. born descendants who were considered German or Italian citizens under German and ITalian law? AFter all, German AMericans actually did invade the U.S. on behalf of Germany.
8.20.2008 10:24am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
A few years back, I read David Bergamini's Japan's Imperial Conspiracy. At the time it came out, it was promoting a fairly controversial theory: that Emperor Hirohito was not a figurehead, but an active participant in the decision to go to war with the U.S. This is no longer a particularly controversial theory; it may even be the consensus by now.


Bergamini was a boy living in the Philipines at the time the war started. He describes his first-hand experience of seeing a craftsman of Japanese ancestry in a Japanese military uniform before Japanese troops arrived in their area. It is certainly the case that third generation Japanese living in China played an active part in the Japanese invasion of China. It would be startling indeed if nothing similar was going on in the United States.

I should mention that one difference between Japanese immigrants to America and a number of other places that I have mentioned. Many of the immigrants to America were Christians who left Japan because of widespread discrimination against them, even after the Mejii Restoration theoretically ended the shogunate's severe laws against Christianity. Still, it would not have been difficult for the Japanese government--which had been planning and discussing war with the U.S. for decades--to have inserted enough agents into the immigrant population that came to America, or to have recruited Japanese-Americans who may have come here for very innocent reasons.

Now, I don't argue that EO 9066 was right. It locked up a heck of a lot of people who had done nothing wrong at all. I do argue that the claim that was only driven by racism is typical leftist hysteria. It might be that it was primarily driven by racism, but military concerns were not completely nonsense. I don't think most people today have any concept of the level of fear that gripped the United States at the time. In Oregon, the governor called up the unorganized militia to patrol beaches, looking for arriving spies. (And as well he should have: there were German terrorists arriving from submarines on the East Coast at about the same time.)

The Army Air Corps built a number of airstrips in Nevada at the start of the war. A few years back, I found a discussion of the history of Fallon, Nevada Naval Air Station, on the Navy's website, which has since been removed:
As part of the Western Defense Program, initiated to repel an expected Japanese attack on the west coast, runways and lighting systems were built in Winnemucca, Minden, Lovelock and Fallon.
A friend who was stationed at Fallon and had some interest in history had talked to the base historian, who confirmed that the Western Defense Program was because there was grave fear of Japanese invasion--and that these bases would be used to carry out bombing raids on Japanese positions west of the Sierras.
8.20.2008 10:35am
ejo:
AnneS and others jump on the racism bandwagon because it suits their purposes today-they, of course, don't have the slightest care or concern about what happened or what people might have been thinking during that little war in the '40's. If there were some evidence that we treated our German opponents (white) with less brutality than our Japanese ones, I would like to see it.
8.20.2008 10:45am
AnneS:
ejo - FOr the last time, since it seems not to have penetrated, the individuals detained were not our opponents. Individuals weren't detained based on any finding that they were our opponents or that they planned to aid our opponents. They were mostly American citizens and long time residents who couldn't become American citizens because of racist laws. And we did treat individuals of Japanese descent resident in the U.S. differently than individuals of German descent resident in the U.S., both before, during, and after the war and in the conditions and basis of confinement nad persecution. But hey, keep moving those goalposts. You seem resistant to facts.
8.20.2008 10:53am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anne.
Unfortunately for your position, nobody disputes that it both happened and was a bad idea.

What does bother you is the possibility that it was not a matter of racism. It's easy to be non-racist. All you have to do is crap all over white people and call them racist. That way, you are part of a small moral elite. To discuss military issues requires actual knowledge. Too much work.
Somebody mentioned the National Guard. Interesting matter of stark ignorance. Where do you think the Guard was? Called up to active duty units. The practice of spreading recruiting around the country to ease the hurt of a locale if a particular unit took shit was contradicted. See, for example, Bedford, VA. That wouldn't have happened if the boys had been wandering around their backyards looking for infiltrators.
Hugh Carey was a member of a white-glove Guard unit in NY. Got into an Infantry division as a staff officer. Overseas.

So y'all keep patting yourselves on the back for being better than guys who were in the midst of something you could not imagine, nor, as it happened, did they. But you give leave to anybody who wants to judge other cultures, too. No reason to let them off the hook, is there?
8.20.2008 11:06am
Anderson (mail):
but military concerns were not completely nonsense

Dude, that is THE ENTIRE POINT OF MULLER'S ARTICLE -- that the "military concerns" relied upon by the feds were NOT ACTUAL MILITARY CONCERNS.

As for the malfunctioning catapult, again, see Parshall &Tully. I didn't realize just *how* valuable their work is, until seeing this thread &realizing how much of what people know about Midway is wrong.

Harry Eagar is probably right about Oahu, as I was talking out of my posterior a bit on that one. Still, I am not clear who had authority to put Pearl on alert -- could the Army have done that w/out checking with Kimmel first? Surely there was some command chain there to keep Army and Navy from killing each other.
8.20.2008 11:12am
ejo:
Clayton-don't you realize we are a nation of bedwetters. even in WWII, we let that Republican fearmonger, FDR, lead us down a path where we violated civil rights even though we had nothing to fear.
8.20.2008 11:31am
ejo:
again, the title is "the biggest lie"-there were military concerns raised in the memos that the author uses. there were military concerns raised by Stimson, a doddering old fool who somehow managed to administer the programs that put 10-12 million individuals in uniform to fight the war. the actual court opinion focuses on issues other than land invasion. if the title of the article was "Justice uses the worst aspect, even if unlikely, of the possible parade of horribles to argue its case", it would come a lot closer to being accurate. it just wouldn't stoke modern academia. Further, while you can discount a Japanese sub launching torpedoes at California today because you aren't a bedwetter who has been led atray by Bush, how do you think such an occurrence was greeted in the months after Pearl Harbor?
8.20.2008 12:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson.
The military concerns were overstated in the SCOTUS case. Muller says so, the docs appear to say so. That does not mean there were, 1, no military concerns, and, 2, that people, civilian and military, were forbidden from differing on the subject.

And, of course, the initial state of west coast vulnerability was one thing. Future contingencies were another. It may have been racism, or something else, to presume that a significant proportion of JAs would actively harm US war interests. The point is, going back at least to the Spanish Civil War, it is not inconceivable. It just happened to not happen this time. Internment may or may not have disrupted the plans.

Would have been better to spend some FBI effort on busting the plans. They had enough folks to query my father at Ft. Benning about his records. His father's hometown in upstate NY had gone out of business and two Fibbies visited my father to find out what this lack of birth records of his father might mean. My father suggested the county might have them and the feds consented to allow him to lead Infantry platoons. Presumably, the Germans had had a process in place to plant sleepers with Brit/Celtic backgrounds in small towns in the late nineteenth century to raise traitors for future wars. They even faked up documents showing an Aubrey being honorably discharged from Wolfe's army after The Plains of Abraham. Them Krauts were slick. So, clearly, the FBI had resources. Bozos.
8.20.2008 12:52pm
dearieme:
The issue, as I understand it, is that (i) the military and naval brass did not fear a Japanese attack on the west coast of the continental USA, but that (ii) the executive lied about that in court. Does anyone argue with either proposition (i) or (ii), and if so, on what evidence?
8.20.2008 1:04pm
Kent G. Budge (www):
Don't make the mistake of believing the government, or even the military, were of one mind on the threat.

The Navy, who could be expected to have some expertise in logistics in the face of hostile enemy sea power, never considered a Japanese invasion of the West Coast a serious threat. Japan simply didn't have the means to supply an army at that distance in the face of the surviving units of the U.S. Fleet and American air power on the West Coast. This seems to have been a consensus view, held both by King (overall Navy commander) and Nimitz (Pacific Navy commander.)

I don't believe Marshall considered such an invasion a serious threat, either, for the same reasons.

DeWitt, the commander of 4 Army on the West Coast, was another matter. The historical record (perhaps I should say hysterical record?) of this officer suggests he was convinced such an invasion was imminent, and he played a major role in the internment of Japanese-Americans.

An invasion of Alaska by the Japanese was a real possibility, well within their means, and not just of a few useless islands at the far end of the Aleutian chain -- the local naval commander, Theobald, expected an invasion of either Dutch Harbor or Kodiak Island, which were far more strategic points, and decision by the Japanese to take Attu and Kiska instead seems harebrained even in retrospect. However, as other astute students of geography have pointed out here, Alaska is not the West Coast. In 1941 it was not even a state. A threat to Alaska couldn't justify internments in California; at best, it [i]might[/i] justify the evacuation of Aleuts that took place.

A couple of nits. The material damage at Pearl Harbor was not limited to the destruction of the two battleships ([i]Arizona[/i] and [i]Oklahoma[/i]) that were never salvaged. [i]West Virgina[/i] and [i]California[/i] were severely damaged and took two years to salvage. [i]Nevada[/i] was badly damaged and took months to repair. [i]Tennessee[/i] took little damage in the attack, but was burned out by flaming oil from [i]Arizona[/i] and took weeks to repair. [i]Maryland[/i] was relatively unscathed, but had to be dynamited out of her moorings, against which she was trapped by the capsized [i]Oklahoma.[/i] [i]Colorado[/i] was in a drydock in Bremerton, on the West Coast, and missed the attack. Only [Pennsylvania] was largely unscathed and immediately available in the central Pacific through most of December 1941. The psychological effects of this should not be underestimated; Navy morale did not begin to recover until Midway, and did not become truly high until mid-1943, when the Navy finally gained sea superiority around Guadalcanal.

Three battleships ([i]Idaho[/i], [i]New Mexico[/i], and [i]Mississippi[/i]) were transferred to the Pacific by January 1942, yielding a total of seven serviceable battleships by the time of Midway. This is versus eleven battleships for Japan, including monster battleship [i]Yamato[/i]. Four or five of these battleships ([i]Yamato[/i] was borderline in speed) were capable of keeping up with the Japanese carrier fleets, versus zero fo the American ships that were so capable. If battleships were the key weapons platform -- and this was still widely believed until after Midway -- then the U.S. was at a heavy disadvantage at least until late 1942.

By then, of course, the greater role of carriers was beginning to be recognized, and it was becoming clear to everyone (except perhaps DeWitt) that the threat to the West Coast, if it had ever existed, had evaporated. The commentator who pointed out that the real concern was with a Japanese spy network on the West Coast was quite correct. Some of the MAGIC decrypts make it clear that the Japanese had in fact set up such a network, and that the internments successfully rolled it up -- but at what price?

As a matter of law, the notion that the government can suspend [i]habeas corpus[/i] in an area threatened by immediate invasion seems uncontroversial. To me, the controversy seems more about the facts, and less about the law, in this matter.
8.20.2008 1:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Kent.
Thanks for the perspective.
Keep in mind that an "invasion" which needs permanent resupply, as in permanently taking over the US west of the Rockies, or at least the Coast Ranges, is not the only scenario.
A raid, particularly one which writes off in advance the entire force, requires only transport one way. In fact, if sufficiently urgent, even the transportation means might be sacrificed. IOW, can you get there? Yes? Get back? Not likely. Tough, guys.
See, for example St. Nazaire.
8.20.2008 1:21pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'It would be startling indeed if nothing similar was going on in the United States.'

Yes, it is starting, Clayton, but it is also a fact that nothing similar was going on.

It betrays little faith in the American way of life to suppose that Japanese who emigrated to the United States had a different outlook toward their new neighbors than Japanese who emigrated to, say, China.

It is, to my way of thinking, the ost glorious affirmation of American values that Japanese immigrants and their children were so firmly in favor of them, even though they were enjoying only a fraction of the rights of whites.

This is a law blog, for pete's sake. Japanese in California were not permitted to own real estate. Of course men like Earl Warren were nervous about whether their yardboys would slit their throats in the middle of the night.

Then we have people like Michelle Malkin, who compares Richard Kotoshirodo, a chauffeur in Hawaii, to Mohammed Atta. Whether Anne wants to bring race into it or not, race is in it.

I live in a largely Japanse-American community. I asked a friend of mine, who served as an interpreter in the US Army, how it was at the time. His parents were from Japan and not citizens, and, as was customary, his birth had been registered in his parents' home village in Japan with the Japanese consul general. He told me his mother told him, "We are Americans now."

Ties of sentimental attachment do not equate to disloyalty any more with Japanese than with, say, Irish immigrants.

PETN is spewing forth some nasty, inaccurate crap. I know where he gets it.
8.20.2008 1:40pm
Happyshooter:
Kent, very nicely said.

If battleships were the key weapons platform -- and this was still widely believed until after Midway -- then the U.S. was at a heavy disadvantage at least until late 1942.

I would go so far as to say that until Okinawa the battelship was still regarded by most as the main arm, the naval battles in the PI seemed to turn strongly back to surface action as the decision force.

I just re-read about the US attack on Fort Drum island last night, that is a tale all its own, and a strong lesson about small ships and what they can do. And then there is Samar ("Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors") where the attacking imperial cruisers were held off not so much by air power off the US jeep carriers and land bases but by surface action by the US destroyers and DEs.

The empire's use of suicide planes in Okinawa did serious harm to the US Navy, and the capper was US Navy carrier aircraft alone destroying the strongest superbattleship the world had and will ever see, and most of its escorts while they were at full steam in open water. I think that was the month when the carrier became not just important, but the capital ship.
8.20.2008 1:48pm
Shalom Beck (mail) (www):
"Korematsu was rightly decided" -- Richard Posner.

Congrats, Eric, on joining the Volokh conspiracy.
8.20.2008 1:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Happy.
A fast battleship could cover 250 miles in an eight-hour night, along with destroyers. That means a carrier task force would have a circle with a diameter of 500 miles and a circumference of 1500 miles to cover to be sure that they would not find a battleship heaving over the horizon just about breakfast time.
More modern battleships carried twice as much firepower in their secondary armament, on each side, as a destroyer. And had better fire control. Once each of the carriers were disabled and unable to fly off aircraft, the only air threat would be whatever was up for the morning recon, which would probably be dive bombers (scout) with maximum fuel and minimum ordnance. So it would be a surface fight. Losing the battleship--unlikely--would be a terrific trade for a couple of carriers and a half dozen cruisers and destroyers.
The Americans lost three heavy cruisers and the Aussies one at Savo Island and the Japanese took one hit which injured nobody and destroyed, iirc Morison, a chart locker. It was a night surprise attack. The Japanese navy had made a pre-war decision to fight at night, which meant a number of things, mainly that they were pretty good at it before radar.
In my scenario, with destroyers, we have torpedos. Google up "Long Lance". I talked with a US destroyerman in the Seventies and mentioned Long Lance. I swear he turned pale.
It makes no sense, except to the internment argument, to insist that the threat to the US was exaggerated, whether at sea or on the west coast, or anywhere else. It's deliberately disingenuous. I emphasize "deliberately".
8.20.2008 2:02pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
What does bother you is the possibility that it was not a matter of racism.
Next up: Jim Crow not racist; distinctive treatment of darker Americans a coincidence.

The amazing this is that DeWitt made all sorts of bigoted statements (as did many other whites) and to some people that's of no value at all in explaining things like why German and Italian internment was very selective and Japanese was not.
8.20.2008 2:57pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
There was certainly a threat to the West Coast.

It is not clear that interning Japanese and Japanese-Amercans did anything to counter it.

If I take Professor Muller's argument, the question hinges on the argument that the government lawyers did make, not some other arguments that they could have made but didn't.

IANAL but I read legal briefs all the time. Lawyers always leave out the arguments that don't favor their side. Isn't the other side supposed to bring those to the attention of the court?

The way I understand the history of the war, by spring 1943 the United States was just barely recovering from its prewar weakness and early defeats. Early in 1943, Guadalcanal had just been cleared but the US Navy was still taking heavy casualties in the Solomons, the first Central Pacific offensive moves was still six months off, the battle in New Guinea was still in the balance and, in North Africa, the United States had got its tail whipped.

World War II was full of episodes in which one side or the other made an attack that worked against it in the long run, so a foolish Japanese attack on the West Coast in 1943 cannot be discounted. After all, against the advice of Stilwell, the 14th Air Force attacked Japan from China in 1944 and the Japanese retaliated by capturing all its airfields and chasing that moron Chennault into the boondocks.

I have written here before, in the context of military tribunals in 2008, that there are times when lawyers should get out of the way. Their arguments in Hirabayashi had no effect one way on the other on whether the West Coast got attacked.
8.20.2008 2:58pm
ejo:
Not racist? Well, again, did we bomb Germany any less than we bombed Japan due to our racist hatred of "the other"? In the era, we said nasty things about the Japanese. We also said less than complimentary things about Germany given that we were locked in a world war with them that killed millions. of the things we did that were bad in WWII, internment is actually pretty far down the list-it certainly wasn't worse than bombing civilian centers or nuking them.
8.20.2008 3:11pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I do not agree about that.

We bombed enemies. We interned friends.
8.20.2008 4:15pm
ejo:
we bombed civilians. nuked them as well. arrested this guy in this case for misdemeanor trespassing. let's balance that out in the big scale of things.
8.20.2008 4:30pm
Smokey:
AnneS:

You're still dodging giving the dual citizenship numbers that you claimed, and you throw out baseless statements when asked to provide a cite. For instance:
"...we did treat individuals of Japanese descent resident in the U.S. differently than individuals of German descent resident in the U.S., both before, during, and after the war and in the conditions and basis of confinement nad persecution. But hey, keep moving those goalposts. You seem resistant to facts."
Well, let's see some of those 'facts.' A credible citation, please, showing that the Japanese, interned in sunny California, were treated much differently compared with German internees [and while you're at it, isn't it "racism" to give $20,000 to each Japanese internee -- and none to the German or Italian internees? Especially when, as you claim, the Japanese were not even allowed to own property?]

But I never expect those constantly yapping about "racism" to make sense. Usually, a contradiction has to be pieced together from different posts. But here it's in one short sentence:
[The Japanese] "were mostly American citizens and long time residents who couldn't become American citizens because of racist laws."
So which is it? Were they mostly American citizens? Or were they denied citizenship because of "racist" laws?

You're not MKDP in disguise, are you?
8.20.2008 4:43pm
Tom S (mail):
Smokey:

Do you know the difference between Isei and Nisei? The former were Japanese-born, permanent residents in the United States. Their children, known as Nisei, were American citizens. Those living in California were put in internment camps, regardless of whether or not they were citizens. Oddly enough, those living in Hawaii were not.

No one advocated rounding up all second-generation Italian and German Americans (and their parents) living on the East Coast in response to the Axis declaration of war, which would be analogous to what happened in California. Care to speculate as to why?
8.20.2008 5:02pm
AnneS:
Don't be dense, Smokey. Almost two thirds were American citizens, as I wrote in an earlier post, which meant that they were natural born American citizens. The next largest chunk were what we would call "permanent residents" today who could not have naturalized under any circumstances until several years after the war. I absolutely did not dodge the question of dual citizenship - it's not relevant, since the "dual citizens" didn't opt in to dual citizenship and were given no opportunity to opt out. And yeah, they were treated differently before, after, and during the war. Individuals of German and ITalian descent simply weren't subject to curfews and other restrictions en masse anywhere in the United States. No orders expelled all individuals of German and Italian descent from an entire geographic area of the country. Finally, the U.S. government never attempted to imprison all individuals of German and Italian descent living in a an entire geographic area of the country. And that's just during the war. German and Italian immigrants were allowed to become citizens; Japanese weren't. German and Italian immigrants were always able to bring their wives and families over; Japanese weren't. German and Italian immigrants weren't subject to laws forbidding them from sending their children to certain schools or working in certain occupations; Japanese were.

You and ejo just don't get it. The civilians we imprisoned on American soil were mostly American citizens and, with very few exceptions, presented absolutely no threat whatsoever to our defense. You also, apparently, don't understand the distinction between acts we take on our soil against noncombatants resident in our country and actions we take against the countries where the ancestors happen to come from.
8.20.2008 5:09pm
Anderson (mail):
I would go so far as to say that until Okinawa the battelship was still regarded by most as the main arm

You mistyped, right? Okinawa? Early 1945?

Essex/Ticonderoga-class carriers ordered during WW2: 32.

Iowa-class battleships ordered: 6.
8.20.2008 6:00pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Anne's last paragraph sums it up nicely.

One point, Smokey. Nobody claimed the Japanese were not allowed to own property. In California, they were not allowed to own real estate.

They owned businesses and personal property. Almost all of which was seized when they were shipped off to the concentration camps and sold (usually in log-rolling deals) for pennies on the dollar to white racists. The Japanese and Japanese-Americans were not compensated for that.

The $20K payments were heart-balm, or maybe you could think of it as payment for their time, at a rate of around a penny an hour.

As far as I know, no internee, Japanese, Italian or German, was ever compensated for seized property.

You and PETN know nothing about what happened, although the facts are easy to find.
8.20.2008 6:12pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

'It would be startling indeed if nothing similar was going on in the United States.'

Yes, it is starting, Clayton, but it is also a fact that nothing similar was going on.

It betrays little faith in the American way of life to suppose that Japanese who emigrated to the United States had a different outlook toward their new neighbors than Japanese who emigrated to, say, China.
And you seem to have missed my point that in retrospect, the reasons that Japanese immigrated to America were probably different from the reasons for immigration to China or the Philipines. Of course, not every Japanese immigrant or American of Japanese ancestry was loyal to the U.S. There were at least hundreds who refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the U.S., and were eventually sent back to Japan. You might argue that the internment created little reason to be loyal to the U.S., and I wouldn't argue with you about that.

The FBI had enough information to suspect that there were Japanese agents in our population. (At least, the Japanese diplomatic code had been broken, and our government knew that the Japanese intelligence agents claimed to have agents among the Japanese-Americans working in defense factories and military bases.) How many? Probably not many, but the government didn't have the resources to figure out which were the spies, and perhaps no great interest, either.

It is, to my way of thinking, the ost glorious affirmation of American values that Japanese immigrants and their children were so firmly in favor of them, even though they were enjoying only a fraction of the rights of whites.
I'm not disputing this. Nor am I defending the internment. I'm pointing out that the reductionism that insists that the internment was ONLY about racism, and pretends that there were not genuine fifth column fears driving this (at least in part) is completely discredited by the evidence.

This is a law blog, for pete's sake. Japanese in California were not permitted to own real estate. Of course men like Earl Warren were nervous about whether their yardboys would slit their throats in the middle of the night.
You are referring to the 1919 initiative in which the voters prohibited non-citizens from purchasing land. I'm well aware of it. Japanese immigrants could not become U.S. citizens, because of the Naturalization Act of 1795. This law was not aimed at preventing Asians from becoming citizens, but to prevent African slaves from claiming citizenship. As a result, lots of Japanese farms were owned by three year olds—who being born in America, were U.S. citizens. (But when the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was being debated, some of the West Coast members of Congress were very emphatic that it should only protect blacks—not Asians or American Indians.)

I'm not quite sure what strawman you are arguing against. You seem to think that there is some widespread support for racism in America. There certainly was at one time. But the 1950s are over.
8.20.2008 6:16pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

One point, Smokey. Nobody claimed the Japanese were not allowed to own property. In California, they were not allowed to own real estate.

They owned businesses and personal property. Almost all of which was seized when they were shipped off to the concentration camps and sold (usually in log-rolling deals) for pennies on the dollar to white racists. The Japanese and Japanese-Americans were not compensated for that.
Japanese-Americans could indeed own real estate, and many did so. It is certainly the case that many Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans sold their property for pennies on the dollar, or lost it because of tax lien sales. Some of the people that bought the property were definitely taking advantage of the situation, but to assume that they were all "white racists" is simply not a statement that can be defended.

Did any blacks or Hispanics buy property (real or personal) from Japanese who were being interned? I'm sure of it. Did every white person who took advantage of what was effectively a fire sale do so for racist motives? I would be surprised. Many doubtless took advantage of the opportunity simply because they were greedy, or because a sale under these conditions (a war has just started, property has to be sold quickly before reporting to the concentration centers, limited time to advertise property for sale) often means that the seller gets screwed.

Is there a lot in this period to be ashamed of? Sure. But assuming that racism is the ONLY motive for everything that happened is the sort of reductionism that is the reason that I don't take liberalism very seriously anymore.
8.20.2008 6:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
AnneS writes:

German and Italian immigrants weren't subject to laws forbidding them from sending their children to certain schools or working in certain occupations; Japanese were.
I'm curious: where were schools segregated to keep Japanese out? My mother went to elementary school in Long Beach, Cal., before the war, and her school had Hispanic and Japanese kids in it. I'm not aware of any de jure segregation of California schools before World War II--and certainly not that segregated Japanese away from whites.

Which occupations were Japanese excluded from? I know that there was considerable social discrimination; lots of Nisei before World War II found themselves with degrees in math and sciences, working at Mom and Dad's store because no one would hire them. But I was not aware of any legally imposed occupational exclusions in California.
8.20.2008 6:31pm
Anderson (mail):
But assuming that racism is the ONLY motive for everything that happened

How about "sine qua non"?
8.20.2008 6:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Those living in California were put in internment camps, regardless of whether or not they were citizens. Oddly enough, those living in Hawaii were not.
Most of those living in Hawaii were not. There was a small number of perceived security risks that were shipped to the mainland.
8.20.2008 6:34pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The Japanese at the time must have been concerned about not losing, rather than winning, and invading wouldn't have suited them. But slowing down the US efforts by sabotage would have seemed like a good idea, if they could pull it off. And I would not, at the time, have seen a good reason why they couldn't. At any event, they didn't, and, I am assured, the internment had nothing to do with it.
We had the example of World War I, where German immigrants were involved in a number of sabotage acts against railroads in the U.S.

I agree that racism played a part in driving the internment. Japanese citizens living in America, and American citizens of Japanese ancestry, had a fine record of loyalty during World War II. But on December 8, 1941--or even March 8, 1942--knowing this would have been more an act of faith than something that could be known with any certainty--especially since there were intelligence intercepts that indicated that there were at least some Japanese agents among American residents of Japanese ancestry. I can also understand why the government, having committed themselves to this policy in 1942, may have been reluctant to admit that it was mistake in 1943. (Bureaucracies are loathe to admit judgment errors.)

Was the internment a terrible mistake? Yup. Violation of civil rights; waste of resources; probably significantly damaged the loyalty of at least some Japanese-Americans to be treated this way. But this assumption that racism was the only motivation simply doesn't fit the facts.
8.20.2008 6:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

But assuming that racism is the ONLY motive for everything that happened

How about "sine qua non"?
I will agree that racism certainly played a part in making this possible. Reading through California newspapers from the pre-World War II period is quite startling. The ferocious racism of the Democratic papers is quite astonishing: birth control advocates arguing for the importance of contraception to make sure that blacks didn't outreproduce whites (in the Sacramento Bee); concerns that raising white kids in apartments rather than houses would lead to "race suicide" (in Hearst's San Francisco Chronicle). By comparison, Republican newspapers kept emphasizing that race wasn't what mattered; culture is what mattered. And of course, nothing has really changed; Democrats are now just a bit more subtle in promoting race hatred.
8.20.2008 6:52pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

So how many Japanese that were interred had dual American/Japanese citizenship? Cite, please.

You cannot serve two masters. Internment under the circumstances was the right decision.
Most of those with dual citizenship didn't even know that they had it. Part of the problem was that the U.S., like most Western Hemisphere countries, used jus solis as the definition of citizenship (where you are born determines it); Japan, like many Old World countries, used jus sanguinus instead (based on ancestry). This is why a fair number of Americans of Irish and Swiss ancestry have, or can have easily enough, dual citizenship.

I don't agree that internment was the right decision. I would claim that the decision, while wrong, reflected more than simple racism.
8.20.2008 6:58pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

World War II was full of episodes in which one side or the other made an attack that worked against it in the long run, so a foolish Japanese attack on the West Coast in 1943 cannot be discounted.
The jet stream balloon incendiary attacks on the U.S. in 1943 were certainly a waste of resources--but generated a bit of concernn and fear in some circles. (To my knowledge, there was an active attempt to suppress news coverage of these attacks.)
8.20.2008 7:01pm
AnneS:
Clayton - San Francisco was, as far as I know, the first school system to segregate Japanese, but others in California segregated Asians and Japanese as well. As far as professions go, among other restrictions on entry into professions and economic activities, Asians in California were also legally excluded from fishing in state waters and from working for corporations or government.
8.20.2008 7:59pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
The attempt to segregate Japanese in San Francisco schools was interfered with by the national government, which did not want to antagonize the government of Japan.

So no points to the California racists for not managing to impose de jure segregation.

In Hawaii, the segregation was imposed administratively, though what were called English Standard Schools, although that ruse was breaking down badly in the face of determined Japanese and Chinese immigrant insistence that their children get educations. Somewhat ironically, it worked better against Filipino immigrants, who were not similarly concerned.

See "The Japanese Conspiracy" by Masayo Duus for the best discussion I know of how that worked. (I've just posted a longish review I wrote back in '94 at Amazon.)

I'll go for a formula that says all exploiters of Japanese immigrants and their children were racists, though some may have also had additional unsavory motives, like greed.
8.20.2008 8:47pm
rmark (mail):
Short essays on possible Pearl Harbor invasion and economic strenght of various countries-

http://www.combinedfleet.com/articles.htm
8.20.2008 9:45pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I'm not disputing this. Nor am I defending the internment. I'm pointing out that the reductionism that insists that the internment was ONLY about racism, and pretends that there were not genuine fifth column fears driving this (at least in part) is completely discredited by the evidence.
But the "genuine fifth column fears" were the product of racism. They may have been sincerely held, but they were based on racial fear.
8.20.2008 10:04pm
Anderson (mail):
By comparison, Republican newspapers kept emphasizing that race wasn't what mattered; culture is what mattered. And of course, nothing has really changed; Democrats are now just a bit more subtle in promoting race hatred.

Where have you been for the last 40 years, sir?
8.20.2008 10:14pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
David.
No, they were a product of recent history. The only conceivable connection with race was that you could easily identify the ethnic group in question, just by looking. Unlike, say, the famous first Fifth Column in Spain, or the Germans in the Sudeteland, or supposed spies in Alsace in 1914-1918.
Look up racism in the dictionary. It is not defined as anything you dislike in which race is mentioned.
8.20.2008 10:27pm
Smokey:
Harry Eagar:
I'll go for a formula that says all exploiters of Japanese immigrants and their children were racists...
Well, you just go there, Harry. When you get there, you'll see Jesse Jackson, the "Rev" Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and all the rest of your favorite race-baiters. Your "formula" tars every caucasian as a racist, first and foremost. As you well know.

In my posts above I was merely requesting citations for the incessant and unsupported random opinions being emitted by AnneS. You know what they say about opinions. Well, I've got one, too: you and AnneS are absolutely desperate to conflate 1942 America with 2008 America, in order to make our country bad. You both want America to be a racist country. Admit it. You're both desperate to make the case in your posts that caucasians are all "racist."

But during the same time frame, the imperial Japanese were merely a misunderstood culture, huh? Try explaining that to the Koreans, and to the Chinese, and to the Dutch East Indians/Indonesians, and to the Philippinos, and the I-Kiribati. Yeah, you'll get lots of sympathy there. In fact, leftist America-haters reserve their accusations of "racism" exclusively to America, as you and AnneS clearly demonstrate above.

Too bad you haven't moved on from 1942 attitudes. But the rest of the U.S. certainly has. Considering that the multi-racial U.S. is the most un-racist country on earth today in its legal system, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that you hate this country, and wish it ill. You never praise our country or its progress. You only disparage and denigrate [oops, did I say a bad word there, Harry?] half-century old customs, as if 2008 America was still 1942 America.

If you actually supported America, you would heed the words of C.J. Roberts:

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race."

It works both ways. Try it some time.

Oh, and BTW, AnneS, I'm still waiting for those citations.
8.20.2008 11:30pm
AnneS:
Citations? Well, about 60 seconds on google revealed this this. and this. In case reading is too onerous for you, according to the government's own documents, only 40K of the 116,500 individuals of Japanese descent residing in the Pacific zone (where all individuals of Japanese descent were imprisoned or, if they were lucky, "evacuated") were Japanese immigrants. All the rest were natural born U.S. citizens. The second is an actual real live government report from 1943 showing that (a) of the 127K individuals of Japanese descendant in the U.S., 107K were in "relocation centers", (b) approximately two thirds were citizens, and (c) most of the remainder had been in the United States since before the 1924 Exclusion Act.

As for the rest of your screed, you've clearly decided to fight a strawman because it's more fun.
8.20.2008 11:56pm
PETN Sandwich (mail):
Harry Eagar says:

"PETN is spewing forth some nasty, inaccurate crap. I know where he gets it."

Said I:

"Interestingly, not one post above noted that Japan did invade and occupy parts of the US, ultimately resulting in more than 100,000 US civilians killed there by the Japanese Army."

"Nor did one post note that within of hours of Pearl Harbor the incidental 'Battle of Niihau', where "Japanese Americans" and a "Japanese-American" (modern sense) spontaneously assisted a downed Japanese pilot who took part in Pearl Harbor in his efforts to control the island."

Accurate facts.

Isei and nisei 'spontaneously' both took up arms against the US within hours of Pearl Harbor; and your beloved Imperial Japan killed over 100,000 US citizens in short time (in occupied PI).

Yet you cry crocodile tears for your 100,000 beloved Children of Imperial Japan who were merely ordered to depart the west coast and were interred when they did not.

As for the general loyalty of the isei and nisei (NOT the American's words for them), Harry says, "as was customary, his birth had been registered in his parents' home village in Japan with the Japanese consul general". Odd that they would bother with that little detail being that they considered themselves Americans now...

Harry, how do feel about the Rape of Nankine, Korean Comfort Women, Japan putting all 'enemy' caucasians into POW camps?
8.21.2008 12:07am
Harry Eagar (mail):
I know a vile racist when I read his posts, and I know an ignoramus who, if he ever knew anything about the Battle of Niihau, is lying about what he knows, or, more likely, doesn't know anything he didn't find in Malkin's dishonest book.

I've taken that apart in detail elsewhere and won't repeat it here.

One reason for registering births in the home village was to maintain inheritance rights.

But just go on posting. You look worse with each one.
8.21.2008 1:38am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Michelle Malkin went to her alma mater, Oberlin College, to give a talk and promote a book on liberal rottenness, using primarily the vile, vicious, sexist, racist comments she got on her blog before she changed her comment policy.
Oberlin has an interesting history regarding slavery. Their students didn't matriculate 150 years ago anticipating duking it out with slave catchers and their federal help, so it was well done of them.
Unfortunately, Oberlin has been dining out on that story for a century and a half.
During Malkin's talk, everything the audience said, everything, everything, went to racism. Nothing about her book. Clearly, whatever major the kids have formally, they are also being equipped to fight racism anywhere. One female student made the usual comment that racism was so pervasive that it was invisible.
Problem is, they aren't going to find it. So they'll have to make it up.
As we have seen exemplified here.
It smarts to hurl yourself at a door, thinking it's locked, when it's not even latched. You throw yourself across the room, end up in a pile in a corner with the folks looking at you oddly. And that's going to be the fate of the Oberlin kids.
It's easy to not be a racist. So easy, in fact, that practically everybody does it. So it's no longer a distinction. The way to reclaim the distinction is to accuse practically everybody else of being a racist. Doing something useful instead??? Too much work.
8.21.2008 10:45am
ejo:
is a vile racist worse than just a plain racist? there are so many accusations of racism made at the end of the arguments that I guess you have to throw the word "vile" in to distinguish the boilerplate. as a minority member, I believe the accepted thought of the left is that Ms. Malkin is incapable of racism-has that thought process changed?
8.21.2008 12:38pm
Happyshooter:
You mistyped, right? Okinawa? Early 1945?

Essex/Ticonderoga-class carriers ordered during WW2: 32.

Iowa-class battleships ordered: 6.


Montana class Battleships ordered: 5

North Carolina class Battleships ordered: 2

Alaska class Cruisers ordered: 6

A carrier was easy to build (compared to a warship), the battleship, or cruiser, was hard and took a long time. Also, by that time most of the pacific fleet battleships (6?) had been refloated and modernized.
8.21.2008 3:36pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
ejo, I mentally separate racists in closet, plain or garden variety ('Some of my best friends are X') and open, aggessive, proselytizing, who are, to my way of thinking, extra vile. YMMV

To Happyshooter's list, add 3 Midway class carriers.

In 1945, the battleships of the US Fifth Fleet bombarded the steel mills at Yukata, despite the large defensive air force in Japan. The Japanese could have done the same on the coast of the US in May 1943 if they'd wanted to.

At the height of the kamikaze campaign, the Navy was losing a carrier a week to suicide planes. No kamikaze ever knocked out a battleship.

Carriers and battleships both had their uses. They were complementary.
8.21.2008 3:50pm
Happyshooter:
In 1945, the battleships of the US Fifth Fleet bombarded the steel mills at Yukata, despite the large defensive air force in Japan.

I didn't know this. Is there a good book on the subject?
8.21.2008 4:40pm
Smokey:
AnneS, you set up your strawman and knocked him right down.

However, those random links are unrelated to what I was asking for. You made your unsupported statement about dual citizenship.

I was specifically asking for a credible citation on the definitive numbers of Japanese here in 1942 who held dual citizenship. Because I believe those numbers are much higher than you claim.

What irks me more than anything is the incessant hatred and contempt that liberals always display toward America. This is a good country. The best! But all that libs ever do is tear it down constantly, and to express your hatred by 'racist' name-calling 24/7/365 against the best country in the world, instead of congratulating it and praising it for the tremendous progress that America has made in just a few short decades. This is a good country.

The whole world wants to come here. They know a good thing when they see it. But all you can do is to desperately try to unearth anything bad -- no matter that this wonderful country has corrected it long since -- and trumpet to the world how evil you think it is.

You are filled with hatred and vindictiveness, it's clear in all of your accusatory posts. Go look in the mirror. You'll see the real problem. And the problem isn't America.
8.21.2008 4:48pm
Smokey:
I don't know much about Michelle Malkin. But she's a Filipino, isn't she? That's the same part of the world that the Japanese come from. She's just as much of a racial minority.

So when Harry Eager looks in the mirror, he's looking at a vile racist.

And a hypocrite, to boot.

See where your racist name-calling gets you, Harry?
8.21.2008 4:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Malkin wasn't a racist--she had the brown-people's discount--until she wrote on internment.
8.21.2008 8:42pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Happy, I don't know of any monograph about the shelling of the Japanese coast. It's covered briefly in Morison.

I once went to a lecture by Gene Fluckey in which he described how he attacked the Japanese coast with his submarine, USS Barb, and destroyed a train locomotive. That's in his book, 'Thunder Below!'

Smokey, the number you are looking for is 0. The US government does not grant dual citizenship.

Malkin is, I believe, as American as any Nisei. I haven't called her a racist. I said she wrote an inaccurate book, which is correct.

When I wrote her that my review of her book would be critical, she said she welcomed criticism and would post critical reviews at her site. But she didn't post mine. Too close to the bone perhaps.
8.22.2008 12:00am
Happyshooter:
Happy, I don't know of any monograph about the shelling of the Japanese coast. It's covered briefly in Morison.

Ah, I had thought it was Third that carried out the pre-invasion industry bombardments while the carriers destroyed all the aircraft they could find. It gets confusing with the name switches. I am glad they don't do that anymore.
8.22.2008 10:26am
Smokey:
Hey, I read Thunder Below! Good book.
Smokey, the number you are looking for is 0. The US government does not grant dual citizenship.
Ah, but that was never the point. Which is: How many Japanese in America in 1942 held dual citizenship? IOW, did Imperial Japan grant them citizenship? [hint: yes.]

So the number I'm looking for is still a secret. Heck, it might be close to 100%. {I know the approximate answer. But this is fun!]
8.22.2008 11:45pm