Vital Signs

The Censored History of Internment

In March 1997, Japanese-Peruvians who had been interned in the United States during World War II called upon President Clinton to issue an executive order awarding them financial compensation similar to that awarded in 1988 to Japanese-American former internees and relocatees under Public Law 100-383. Simultaneously, these Japanese-Peruvians lobbied members of Congress to enact legislation which would award them this money should the President reject their claims. As in 1988, the facts about internment and those who were interned is being censored so that individuals of Japanese ancestry alone might receive $20,000 per person.

The politically correct revisionists confound internment and relocation in order to misrepresent the actual numbers. Internment, which is based on the Enemy Alien Act of 1798 and is recognized by international law, commenced on December 7, 1941, and was applied only to enemy aliens—i.e., nationals of those countries with which the United States was at war. Since internees were almost always men, many of whom were the sole financial support of their families, family members, even if American citizens, were permitted voluntarily to join husbands or fathers in internment. But once inside the camps, they could not leave.

According to a 1948 government report on wartime internment, 56 percent of all non-renunciant internees (14,426 of 25,655) were Europeans and European-Americans—Germans, Italians,...

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