If not for the gravity of his xenophobic policies and the fact that so many people in the U.S. take him seriously, it’s absurd and hilarious that Donald Trump is citing the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII as justification for banning Muslim immigrants.
Even immediately after Pearl Harbor, Naval intelligence and the FBI concluded mass internment was unnecessary for security purposes. General Delos Carleton Emmons, the military governor of Hawaii under martial law, refused to comply with internment.
It was clear even then that the only reason Japanese Americans were interned was because of racism.
(crossposted on Facebook)
Against the Tide • 2004 May 20 • Ronald Takaki • yes! magazine
Government intelligence agencies, however, had come to the opposite conclusion concerning Japanese Americans. In late January, Lieutenant Commander K. D. Ringle of Naval Intelligence stated that there was no need for mass action against the Japanese. The FBI conducted its own investigation, and in February, director J. Edgar Hoover advised the attorney general that a mass evacuation of the Japanese could not be justified for security reasons.
Unlike their counterparts in California, Hawaii’s public officials also urged restraint and reason. Honolulu Police Captain John A. Burns refuted rumors of Japanese snipers firing on American soldiers during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In January 1942, the superintendent of public instruction sent a directive to all teachers: “The most helpless victims, emotionally and psychologically, of the present situation in Hawaii will be children of Japanese ancestry and their parents. … Teachers must do everything to help the morale of these people.”
General Delos Emmons, the military governor of Hawaii opposed efforts to intern Japanese Americans. In a radio address shortly after the Japanese attack, Emmons assured Japanese Americans: “There is no intention or desire on the part of the federal authorities to operate mass concentration camps. No person, be he citizen or alien, need worry, provided he is not connected with subversive elements.”