Page 16 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • August 26, 2009 whom he characterized as above average in education and below average in income; and ultra-nationalists, foreignborn, ignorant of English and of American culture and members of groups like the kokuryukai, the Black Dragon Society. (The Black Dragon Society had an office in Los Angeles in those days.) Most Japanese were strongly anticommunist and the Japanese-Americans resented being ordered around by ultra-nationalists. Both groups were denounced routinely to the Office of Naval Intelligence and the FBI by loyal Japanese-Americans and by Koreans who hated Japanese militarism and resented recruiting efforts. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the ONI and the FBI swooped. In a few days, 2,192 Japanese had been arrested in the United States and another 879 in Hawaii. As far as Hoover and the Navy were concerned, the problem was taken care of. The real Japanese militants were all behind barbed wire and the vast majority of Japanese-Americans, especially those who were born here, posed no threat to anybody and could be left alone. This was not to be. California politicians, one of whom was Earl Warren, urged the entire Japanese-American population of the West Coast be rounded up and “evacuated.” Good old Doctor Seuss, Theodore Geissel, a stooge for the ultra-liberal Ralph Ingersoll, drew cartoons of JapaneseAmericans receiving explosives for sabotage, which never happened. On Feb. 18, 1942, weeks after Hoover and the ONI had all the dangerous Japanese behind barbed wire, Franklin Delano Roosevelt established military zones with martial law on the West Coast. On March 18, 1942, FDR signed Executive Order 9102, establishing the War Relocation Authority. By June 7, most of the remaining 112,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast – people whose loyalty had already been vouchsafed by the ONI and the FBI – had joined the 3,000 commies and the ultra-nationalists behind barbed wire because of their race. The author who says this was not such a bad thing needs to look at the bigger picture. The government arrested Fritz Kuhn, leader of the German-American Bund, and a handful of Nazi and Italian Fascist wannabes; they didn’t arrest the entire populations. If the government had deported all members of these other two Axis-matrix groups, it would have crippled the war effort. There were more GermanAmericans than any other kind of Americans, and the Italians contributed a large number of soldiers and war workers. The government understood this, because in Hawaii, where the Japanese made up a majority of the labor force and professional support groups, there was no relocation. Hawaii was so menaced by a Japanese invasion before the Battle of Midway that the government stamped all the money there “Hawaii” so the Japanese could not re-use it if they ever got to California. Yet there was no relocation in Hawaii, where an invasion was plausible, while there was a comprehensive relocation in California, where an invasion was preposterous by June 7. The Japanese fleet had already been defeated at the Coral Sea and Midway and American war production was booming. Relocation, supposedly a defense measure, was, plain and simple, a rip-off. White Americans who had always resented Japanese and other Asian labor competition threw the Japanese-Americans out of their farms, shops, restaurants, and service stations, and many people made no bones about not wanting them back once the war was over. Many a contemporary Nazi stepped into a bureaucratic or professional job when his Jewish predecessor was told to take $200 and leave the country. The operating principle, minus the mass murders, is about the same: Throw out people who are “different” than you are, and possibly also smarter or more diligent than you are, and capitalize on their prior success. The 10 relocation centers were not “death camps” – they were concentration camps, where the handful of deaths (minus a few willful shootings) were incidental. Seven people died of heat prostration in one day at Poston, Arizona, and the survivors thought it was deliberate. American relocation did not turn into Nazi-style genocide for two reasons: Most Americans were still tangentially Christians in the 1940s rather than avidly Darwinian or neopagan and would have objected to killing large numbers of women and children, just as Easterners had objected to the proposed extermination of the American Indians a half-century before; and America’s food supply was never threatened as Germany’s was. Many thousands of World War I German civilians starved to death and millions of World War II civilians suffered malnutrition while Nazi bigwigs got fat and stole art treasures. We didn’t spare these people because of the Constitution – FDR forgot there was a Constitution. What he may not have forgotten was that a couple of his brain transplants in the Treasury Department helped goad the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor while he was either asleep at the switch or frothing for another war with Germany that the American public didn’t want. The Japanese-Americans were convenient scapegoats for the catastrophes of Pearl Harbor and the loss of the Philippines, where a lot of the people we tried to protect took the day off and went home. They left American boys holding the bag. That seems to happen to us a lot when we stray out of our own hemisphere and listen to people who flatter us and take our money. Go figure. I recently encountered news about a book that says Japanese-American relocation during World War II was no big deal and we should not feel sorry it happened. That is certainly going to be news in the JapaneseAmerican community, and it might come as a surprise to the United States government, which finally admitted it had done the wrong thing and paid the surviving claimants $20,000 each. Depending on the value of property they had to sell in a hurry, this probably represents about 10 cents on the dollar for what they lost in 1942. This would have been news to Senator Robert Taft and J. Edgar Hoover, who opposed relocation from its inception. (Taft called it the sloppiest criminal law he had ever heard of.) This also would have been news to Attorney General Nicholas Biddle and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, who tried to liberalize release policies to allow people of undoubted loyalty to return home. Most of all, it would be news to the 33,000 Japanese-Americans who fought for the United States against Nazi Germany in Italy and Southern France or who served as combat interpreters against Japan in the Pacific. The Japanese-Americans were the most decorated of any ethnic group in the United States Army. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team had about 3,000 men. Just a few years ago, the United States reviewed citations for members of ethnic groups who had been passed over for the Congressional Medal of Honor due to racism among officers. Jewish and Mexican GIs received six or seven medals per group based on an objective analysis. The JapaneseAmericans, fewer in number than either of the other two groups, received 17 Congressional Medals of Honor. What happened? During the 20th century, the United States was under pressure from West Coast labor unions, and attempted to restrict the immigration of Japanese to the United States, first with the Gentleman’s Agreement, which meant Japan would discourage emigration, but the United States would not ban immigration, later with the Immigration Act of 1924, which established a quota of 100 immigrants from China – wise guys used to say of an unlucky attempt at something, “He hasn’t got a Chinaman’s chance” – and another 100 from the Japanese Empire, which also included the Koreans and the Chinese of Taiwan. Japanese continued to enter the United States, not always legally, and by 1941, there were 117,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast, while the Japanese were the single largest ethnic group in Hawaii, and still are. Despite some verbal jousting with the Chinese and the Koreans, the Japanese-American population was largely distinguished for hard work, law-abiding behavior, and successful adaptation to the United States. Many Japanese-Americans became Christians and almost all of them seemed to cherish education and enjoy baseball and judo. Exceptions existed. Togo Tanaka, a Japanese-American journalist of the 1940s whom I interviewed for a book now in the works, said that 95 percent of the Japanese-American community was loyal to the United States. The remaining five percent, Tanaka said, was bifurcated into aka, Reds, Reconsidering relocation: Who needs the Constitution? Allendale Notebook Ramapo announces Dean’s List Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah has named the following Allendale students to the Dean’s List for the spring 2009 semester: Nicole Amarante, Ruthann J. Anderson, Joseph A. Kiely, Terence J. Ma, Moira M. Meehan, John Prescott Merchant, Brian C. Reilly, and James A. Soltis. Fell House fundraiser set Join friends and neighbors at the Allendale Bar & Grill, 67 West Allendale Avenue, on Aug. 31 from 5 p.m. until closing to support preservation of the Fell House, the stately mansion across Franklin Turnpike from the Celery Farm Natural Area. The Concerned Citizens of Allendale, a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of the house and property, will receive a portion of the proceeds from all food and beverages purchased that evening. Members of the organization will be available to discuss the historical and environmental importance of the Fell House and grounds. Contributions may be made to: Concerned Citizens of Allendale P.O. Box 599, Allendale, NJ 07401. Allendale Festival Day set The Allendale Chamber of Commerce will again be hosting its Annual Festival Day on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. West Allendale Avenue will become a walking mall for families to enjoy the day with vendor craft tables, food, giveaways, live music for all ages, children’s entertainment, games, community organizations, exhibits, temporary tattoos, petting zoo, moonwalk, pumpkin painting, clowns, and witches. Contests include: pie baking, scarecrow making, and a pet parade. For more information and signup forms, visit online at Vendors should call Adrienne Tenbekjian of Jumbleiah Memorabilia at (201) 8252077 for more information. Sponsorship opportunities are still available at Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze levels for chamber members. Call festival Chairman Dan Zettler of Barnstable Mortgage Group at (201) 818-1700 for more information. Health consultation scheduled Allendale’s next free quarterly health consultation program will be held on Thursday, Aug. 27 at Allendale Borough Hall at 500 West Crescent Avenue. The next clinic will be held on Dec. 17. Summer reading program begins The “Four Towns, Three Months, Two Books, One Hot Topic” summer reading program is about to begin. Over 1,000 individuals voted on this summer’s selections for the topic “Child Soldiers of Africa.” The fiction selection is “What is the What” by Dave Eggers and the non-fiction choice is “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmael Beah. The program will wrap up with an evening event planned for Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Northern Highlands. The evening will include book discussions, performances, speakers, and accounts of their journey from the students going on the summer trip to Tanzania.