JAPANESE FASCISM: ONE INSIDER'S VIEW
Saburo Ienaga, a political dissident in Japan during the 1930s and 1940s, provided this description of Japanese fascism just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into World War II.
Japanese fascism differed from its German and Italian counterparts. They were broad movements from below. Charismatic leaders established dictatorial systems based on mass organizations, the Nazi party and Fascist party. In Japan fascism was imposed from above by the military and the bureaucrats, aided by their junior partners, the civilian rightists (whose money came from secret army funds and similar covert sources). A "new political structure movement" was planned and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (IRAA) was established in October 1940. It was not comparable to the mass parties of Germany or Italy and was not very effective in organizing or mobilizing the populace. The IRAA used local organizations such as the hamlet and village associations, neighborhood associations, civil defense associations, and the reservist associations to constantly interfere in the people's lives through ration distribution, air raid drills, official sendoffs for draftees, and memorial services for war dead. These organizations got into the act by forcing women to stop wearing long sleeved kimonos and getting permanent waves, and insisted that citizens put on the prescribed air raid "uniforms" of puttees and khaki caps for men and monpe (women's work pants gathered at the ankle) for women.
The Nazis destroyed the Weimar Republic and established a dictatorship. No such clear break with the past occurred in Japan. The Meiji Constitution was never revised or suspended. The Diet was rendered impotent but it continued to exist. About the only major legal shift was the 1938 enactment of the National Mobilization Law. Although probably unconstitutional, its sweeping provisions broadened the state's administrative authority, imposed new duties on the citizenry, and curtailed civil rights.
In January 1934 Army Minister Araki Sadao presented a study to Premier Saito which shows the hawks' attitude toward civil liberties. Among Araki's recommendations and proposals were the following about "controls on journalism and publication": "Direct publishing activities so that they contribute to state prosperity, social order, the smooth functioning of national life and to wholesome public entertainment; "Ban views which would impair fundamental national policies"; "Tighten controls over rumors, gossip, speech, and publications that would harm the state." On the "Purification of thoughts," Araki recommended: "Tighten controls over subversive organizations. The most severe methods should be carried out by legal groups which disseminate anti imperialist ideas... Strengthen public unity for national mobilization by making participation in the Reservists' Association and youth training mandatory and encouraging organizations such as the...Boy Scouts, Patriotic Women's Association, National Defense Women's Association, Red Cross Society..."
Source: Saburo Ienaga, The Pacific War: World War II and the Japanese, 1931-1945, (New York, 1978), pp. 97, 112 113.
"THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE": AN AMERICAN SUPPORTS ISOLATION
In 1940 Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of the aviator Charles Lindbergh, wrote a book titled, The Wave of the Future which called for continued American isolationism as World War II spread across Europe. But she also reflected the views of millions of Americans when she expressed her admiration for the major European dictatorships. Lindbergh urged her countrymen to understand rather than oppose the dictatorships because they were, in her words, "the wave of the future." Part of her comments are reprinted below:
What was pushing behind Communism? What behind Fascism in Italy? What behind Naziism? Is it nothing but a "return to barbarism," to be crushed at all costs by a "crusade"? Or is some new, and perhaps even ultimately good, conception of humanity trying to come to birth, often through evil and horrible forms and abortive attempts?... I cannot see this war, then, simply and purely as a struggle between the "Forces of Good" and the "Forces of Evil." If I could simplify it into a phrase at all, it would seem truer to say that the "Forces of the Past" are fighting against the "Forces of the Future..."
Somehow the leaders in Germany, Italy and Russia have discovered how to use new social and economic forces... They have felt the wave of the future and they have leapt upon it. The evils we deplore in these systems are not in themselves the future; they are scum on the wave of the future... There is no fighting the wave of the future, any more than as a child you could fight against the gigantic roller that loomed up ahead of you.
Source: John M. Blum, The National Experience: A History of the United States, (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989) p. 656.
ROOSEVELT ON THE THREAT OF WAR
In 1940, after World War II had already broken out in Europe, President Franklin Roosevelt began to psychologically prepare the United States for what he and a number of Americans thought would be the inevitable clash with the Axis powers. Here is part of his radio address on December 29, 1940.
This is not a fireside chat on war. It is a talk on national security... There is danger ahead danger against which we must prepare. But we well know that we cannot escape danger, or the fear of danger, by crawling into bed and pulling the covers over our heads.
Some nations of Europe were bound by solemn non intervention pacts with Germany. Other nations were assured by Germany that they need never fear invasion... As an exiled leader of one these nations said to me the other day "The notice was given to my Government two hours after German troops had poured into my country in a hundred places."
There are those who say that the Axis powers would never have any desire to attack the Western Hemisphere. The plain facts are that the Nazis have proclaimed, time and again, that all other races are their inferiors and therefore subject to their orders. And most important of all, the vast resources and wealth of this American Hemisphere constitute the most tempting loot in all the round world.
The American appeasers ignore the warning to be found in the fate of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and France. They tell you that the Axis powers are going to win anyway; that all this bloodshed in the world could be saved; that the United States might just as well throw its influence into the scale of a dictated peace, and get the best out of it that we can.
They call it a "negotiated peace." Nonsense! Is it a negotiated peace if a gang of outlaws surrounds your community and on threat of extermination makes you pay tribute to save your own skins?
With all their vaunted efficiency, with all their parade of pious purpose in this war, there are still in their background the concentration camp and the servants of God in chains.
The history of recent years proves that shootings and chains and concentration camps are not simply the transient tools but the very altars of modern dictatorships. They may talk of a "new order" in the world, but what they have in mind is only a revival of the oldest and the worst tyranny. In that there is no liberty, no religion, no hope.
The proposed "new order" is the very opposite of a United States of Europe of a United States of Asia. It is not a Government based upon the consent of the governed. It is not a union of ordinary, self respecting men and women to protect themselves and their freedom and their dignity from oppression. It is an unholy alliance of power and greed to dominate and enslave the human race.
We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.
Source: Howard Quint, Milton Cantor and Dean Albertson, Main Problems in American History, (Chicago: The Dorsey Press, 1987) p. 262 266.
MARTIAN INVASION, 1938
On October 2, 1938, Orson Wells, operating from a CBS studio called the Mercury Theater of the Air, broadcast a simulated invasion of the earth by Martians based on the H.G. Wells science fiction novel, War of the Worlds. The broadcast was so realistic that millions of listeners believed it was an actual event. In the vignette, Charles Jackson, an executive with CBS Radio, describes the radio broadcast and its impact. Historians have suggested that the panic over the broadcast reflected actual fears of an impending Second World War.
At Moments of crisis or disaster people are fond of telling where they were at the time, how they happened to hear the news, or what they were doing when they heard it, as if their personal reaction were more important than the event itself. Thus, on Monday morning, October 3, 1938, while everybody in the radio business collected in excited knots to discuss the panic the country had been thrown into on the previous evening by the medium they worked in, my own story went something like this:
My wife and I had returned from dinner in Greenwich Village. I went into the bedroom, lay down on my bed, and dialed WABC to see how the Orson Welles show was going. As usual, Orson was presenting a dramatization of a book. The opening announcement said: The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air in The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells. But strangely, no dramatic program seemed to ensue. A prosaic weather report was given instead. Then an announcer remarked that the program would be continued from a New York hotel, with dance tunes. For a few moments, one heard the music of a swing band. Then came a sudden break-in with a "flash" which declared dramatically that a professor had just noted from his observatory a series of gas explosions on the planet Mars. The clever Welles—not H. G. (indeed, the dramatization had little connection with H. G.'s original at any point)—was up to one of his tricks.
Simulated news bulletins followed in rapid succession, interspersed with "remotes": on-the-spot broadcasts of actual "scenes." These reported brilliantly, with the extraordinary technique which radio had long since perfected for news events, the landing of a meteor near Princeton, New Jersey, killing fifteen hundred persons—and then the discovery that it was no meteor at all but a metal cylinder containing Martian creatures armed with death rays, come to open hostilities against the inhabitants of the earth.
I could not but admire Orson for the marvelous reality he was able to bring to such a fantastic story, but after a few moments, it seemed to me, he succeeded too well; the very grotesqueness of the broadcast soon caused me to lose interest—it outraged all my sense of belief, and by eight-fifteen or so, I switched off the dial and took a nap.
Arriving at the office the next morning, I was dumfounded—and somewhat ashamed for my fellow Americans—to discover that a national panic had been generated by the broadcast. Sunday night's wave of mass hysteria took strange forms. Throughout New York City, families fled their apartments in panic, some to near-by parks, many to seek verification of the horrendous report, hundreds of others, in a state of terror, to find out how they could follow the broadcast’s advice and flee from the city.
In Newark, New Jersey, in a single block, more than twenty families rushed out of their homes with wet handkerchiefs and towels over their heads and faces, to flee from what they believed to be a gas raid.
In San Francisco, the general impression of listeners was that an overwhelming force had invaded the United States from the sky; New York was in the process of being destroyed, and the frightful Martians were even now moving westward. "My God," roared one man into a phone, "where can I volunteer my services? We've got to stop this awful thing!"
In Caldwell, New Jersey, a terror-stricken parishioner rushed into the First Baptist Church during the evening service and shouted that a meteor had fallen, showering death and destruction, and that North Jersey was threatened with annihilation. The Reverend Thomas attempted to quiet his congregation by leading them in prayer for deliverance from the catastrophe.
A man in Pittsburgh returned home in the midst of the broadcast and found his wife in the bathroom, a bottle of poison in her hand, screaming, "I'd rather die this way than like that!" Another man, in Mt. Vernon, New York, called police to tell them that his brother, a hopeless invalid, had been listening to the broadcast and when he heard the report, he got into an automobile and "disappeared."
In Harlem, extreme panic was created. Thirty men and women rushed into the West 123rd Street Police Station and twelve into the West 135th Street Station saying they had their household goods packed and were ready to quit Harlem if the police would tell them where to go to be evacuated. One man insisted he had heard "the President's voice" over the radio, advising all citizens to leave the city. One could hardly blame him, for at a dramatic point in the broadcast the President's voice was exactly imitated by a Mercury Theater actor telling the listeners to do just that.
Nor was credulity confined to the susceptible citizenry alone. Men of science were not immune. Dr. Arthur F. Buddington, chairman of the department of geology, and Dr. Harry Hess, professor of geology, Princeton University, received the first alarming reports in a form indicating that a meteor had fallen near Dutch Neck, some five miles away. They armed themselves with "the necessary equipment" and set out to find the specimen. What they found was a group of excited natives, searching, like themselves, for the meteor.
Later, a detailed study of the entire panic and its effects was made by the Princeton Radio Project, operating on a grant of the Rockefeller Foundation to Princeton University. Some of the comments recorded by interviewers for the Project were as follows:
A New Jersey housewife: "I knew it was something terrible and I was frightened. But I didn't know just what it was. I couldn't make myself believe it was the end of the world. I've always heard that when the world would come to an end, it would come so fast nobody would know--so why should God get in touch with this announcer? When they told us what road to take and getup over the hills and the children began to cry, the family decided to go out. We took blankets and my granddaughter wanted to take the cat and the canary. We were outside the garage when the neighbor’s boy came back and told us it was only a play."
A high-school girl in Pennsylvania: "...I was really hysterical. My two girl friends and I were crying and holding each other and everything seemed so unimportant in the face of death. We felt it was terrible we should die so young..."
A Negro housewife in Newark: "We listened, getting more and more excited. We all felt the world was coming to an end. Then we heard, "Get gas masks!" That was the part that got me. I thought I was going crazy. It's a wonder my heart didn't fail me because I'm nervous anyway. I felt if the gas was on, I wanted to be together with my husband and nephew so we could all die together. So I ran out of the house. I guess I didn’t know what I was doing. I stood on the corner waiting for a bus and I thought every car that came along was a bus and I ran out to get it. I kept saying over and over again to everybody I met: "New Jersey is destroyed by the Germans--it's on the radio! I was all excited and I knew that Hitler didn't appreciate President Roosevelt's telegram a couple of weeks ago. While the United States thought everything was settled, they came down unexpected. The Germans are so smart they were in something like a balloon, and when the balloon landed--that's when they announced the explosion--the Germans landed."
A man in a Midwest town: "That Halloween show had our family on its knees before the program was half over. God knows but we prayed to him last Sunday. It was a lesson in more than one thing to us. My mother went out and looked for Mars. Dad was hard to convince, and skeptical, but even he got to believing it. Brother Joe, as usual, got more excited than anyone. Brother George wasn't home. Aunt Grace, a good Catholic, began to pray with Uncle Henry. Lillie got sick to her stomach. I don't know what I did exactly, but I know I prayed harder and more earnest than ever before. Just as soon as we were convinced that this thing was real, how petty all things on earth seemed, and how soon we put our trust in God!"
Source: Charles Jackson, "The Night the Martians Came (1938)" printed in Isabel Leighton, ed., The Aspirin Age, 1919-1941 (New York, 1949), p. 431-436.
CHAPTER EIGHT: WORLD WAR TWO AND THE COLD WAR
Terms for Week 8
The Axis Powers
Executive Order 9066
Camp Harmony, Washington
Navajo "code talkers"
Rosie the Riveter
Zoot Suit Riot
War Manpower Commission
Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC)
Albert F. Canwell
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Korean War, 1950-1953
Strom Thurmond\The Dixicrats
The Baby Boom
Cuban Missile Crisis
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Ethiopian Somali War, 1977 1978
Angolan Civil War, 1975 1976
Hungarian Revolution, 1956
Berlin Wall, 1961-1989
THE INTERNMENT OF THE JAPANESE
President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 is reprinted below.
WHEREAS the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national defense material, national defense premises, and national defense utilities...: NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded there from, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas. I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services. This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.
Source: Roger Daniels and Harry Kitano, American Racism: Exploration of the Nature of Prejudice (Englewood Cliffs, 1970), pp. 135-136.
MONICA SONE DESCRIBES THE EVACUATION
Monica Sone in her autobiography, Nisei Daughter, describes the evacuation of her family from Seattle in the Spring of 1942.
On the 21st of April...[General] DeWitt gave us the shattering news. "All Seattle Japanese will be moved to Puyallup by May 1. Everyone must be registered Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. They will leave next week in three groups, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday...
Our last Sunday, Father and Henry [Sone's brother] moved all our furniture and household goods down to the hotel and stored them in one room... Monday evening we received friends in our empty house where our voices echoed loudly and footsteps clattered woodenly on the bare floor....That night we rolled ourselves into army blankets...and slept on the bare floor. The next morning Henry rudely shouted us back into consciousness. "Six-thirty! Everybody wake up, today's the day!"
I screamed, "Must you sound so cheerful about it?"
"What do you expect me to do, bawl?"
On this sour note we got up...jammed our blankets into the long narrow seabag, and carefully tied the white pasteboard tag, 10710, on our coat lapels...
We climbed into the truck... As we coasted down Beacon Hill bridge for the last time, we fell silent... We drove through bustling Chinatown, and...around the corner of Eight and Lane. This area was ordinarily lonely and deserted but now it was filling up with silent, labeled Japanese, standing self-consciously among their...suitcases....
Finally at ten o'clock, a vanguard of Greyhound busses...parked themselves neatly along the curb. The crowd stirred and murmured. The bus doors opened and from each, a soldier with rife in hand stepped out and stood stiffly at attention by the door. The murmuring died. It was the first time I had seen a rifle at such close range and I felt uncomfortable. This rifle was presumably to quell riots, but contrarily, I felt riotous emotion mounting in my breast.
Jim Shigeno, one of the leaders of the Japanese-American Citizens' League, stepped briskly up front and started reading off family numbers to fill the first bus. Our number came up and we pushed our way out of the crowd. Jim said, "Step right in."
We bumped into each other with nervous haste. I glanced nervously at the soldier and his rifle, and I was startled to see that he was but a young man, pink-cheeked, his clear gray eyes staring impassively ahead... I suddenly turned maternal and hovered over Mother and Father to see that they were comfortably settled. They were silent.
Newspaper photographers with flash-bulb cameras pushed busily through the crowd. One of them rushed up to our bus, and asked a young couple and their little boy to step out and stand by the door for a shot. They were reluctant, but the photographers were persistent and at length they got out of the bus and posed, grinning widely to cover their embarrassment. We saw the picture in the newspaper shortly after and the caption underneath it read, "Japs good-natured about evacuation."
Source: Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter, (Seattle, 1953), pp. 165-171.