If one hears the phrase "concentration camps," it is inevitable to think of Nazism. However, they also existed in allied countries. It is part of that story that is not usually told. It was after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Executive Order 9066. The decree forced the evacuation of more than 120,000 Japanese residents of the United States and "relocate them." Where? In concentration camps located in the western part of the country and in Arkansas. The US concentration camps.
Of all the inmates, almost 30,000 finished their days in the concentration camps of Manzanar (10,046) and Tule Lake (18,789). Both located in California. And that is why this state has reported that, in the next few days, it will issue an official apology. The reason: to collaborate in the detention of citizens of Japanese descent during World War II.
Visiting the past
As reported by the newspaper «The Times», the local government recognizes in this way the mistakes made by the United States in 1942. And it shows that, despite the decades, it wants to learn from the past.
Executive Order 9066 was triggered by the attack against Pearl Harbor. It caused the entry of the United States into World War II. Roosevelt justified himself in the need to defend his country from spies and foreign enemies. That led to an even greater psychosis.
The order affected both the Japanese and citizens of Japanese descent. This is confirmed by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in his work "The Silenced History of the United States": "On February 19, Roosevelt signed the Order and, from that moment on, preparations were made to evacuate and detain the affected from the states of California, Oregon and Washington, two thirds of whom were US citizens by birth.
On an official level, they were allowed to travel to nearby states. But most of the possible migrant recipients were against it. "If you come here, you will see a japo hanging from each pine," said the governor of Wyoming.
Bad conditions, extreme safety
The government decided to create permanent relocation centers between March and April. The US concentration camps. There was often a lack of running water, toilets, decent schools, appropriate rooftops.
What they did have were "good fences, machine gun posts and watchtowers." The departure to these concentration camps meant that Japanese citizens had great losses. About 400 million dollars in movable property (which today would have a value of 5.400 million dollars). “Refugees were only allowed to take their personal belongings. Their former neighbors hastily acquired their homes for a small part of the real value, ”the experts complete. In 1944 Roosevelt was requested to dissolve. Being the year of elections, the president preferred to wait. The decision did not become apparent until the following year.
Since then, there have been many governments that have charged against the decision considering that it fueled racist hysteria and paranoia. In the words of the Japanese American Citizens League, the prisoners were never "accused, and much less convicted, of espionage against the country." However, "they were attacked, detained and imprisoned for years just for having the enemy's face." All in all, they are happy about the decision made in California.
The apology has been orchestrated for several months. The request was submitted by politician Al Muratsuchi and six co-authors on January 28. The project was approved unanimously the following month. "We want California to be the example for many others," they said.