Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
The attack on Pearl Harbor rallied Americans against Japan, but it had a devastating effect on Japanese Americans. Two months after the surprise bombing and the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which called for all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast to move, or be moved, to internment camps to prevent them from assisting the enemy. A monument to the more than 100,000 American citizens forced to leave their homes is under construction in the District. An excerpt from The Post of Dec. 18, 1944:
The War Department yesterday revoked its order excluding all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.It expressed belief "that the people of the Pacific Coast area will accord returning persons of Japanese ancestry all the consideration to which they are entitled as loyal citizens and law-abiding residents."
However, unfavorable reaction came from some congressional circles.
Gov. Earl Warren of California issued a proclamation calling on citizens of the State to protect and maintain the constitutional rights of the loyal persons of Japanese descent who returned to the State. He notified all chiefs of police, sheriffs and other officials "to join in uniform compliance to prevent intemperate action."
Only those persons "about whom information is available indicating a pro-Japanese attitude will continue to be excluded on an individual basis," the Department said.
The announcement said that the revocation order was issued by Maj. Gen. Henry C. Pratt, chief of the Western Defense Command, with the approval of the War Department.
"Favorable progress of the war in the Pacific, as well as other developments," was given as the reason for the revocation.
More than 115,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were evacuated from strategic areas on the West Coast, the States of California, Washington and Oregon. The majority of them eventually were transferred to relocation centers located chiefly in the Mountain States, including Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. ...
"The Department of the Interior has informed the War Department," the Army said, "that it intends to put into effect a program based on a gradual and orderly return to the West Coast, and a vigorous continuation of its efforts to relocate personnel of Japanese descent throughout the United States."
On Capitol Hill, Representative Clarence Lea (D), chairman of the California delegation, said it had been hoped that the restrictions would be maintained until the war is over. ...
Representative Alfred J. Elliott (D., Calif.) told the Associated Press revoking the exclusion order was "a bad move, while the Pacific war is at its hottest stage."
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