Document Confirms Japanese-American Internment Was Not Carried Out for Military Purposes

Recently conservative columnist Michelle Malkin argued in "In Defense of Internment" that the rounding up of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified on military grounds. Most historians dispute that judgment. And now Greg Robinson, assistant professor of history at the University of Quebec at Montreal, has drawn attention to a letter written by John J. McCloy that undermines Malkin's argument.

The letter, dated July 23, 1942, is to Robert Patterson, undersecretary of war, and is found in Patterson's papers. At the bottom of a memo about food supplies is a handwritten note:

These people are not 'internees' — they are under no suspicion for the most part and were moved largely because we felt we could not control our own white citizens in California.

In the first part of that statement, Robinson says, McCloy is admitting "that military necessity was not the primary reason for mass evacuation of Japanese Americans." Robinson discounts the second part because there is little evidence that Japanese Americans needed to be put in camps in order to be protected.

Robinson discusses the subject here and here .

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