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The Lockean Project

Horrible internment policy during WWII

“Horrible internment policy during WWII” – not published, sent to the Monterey Herald, Oct. 30, 2022

Was there no important news on Sunday?  You featured “news” from eighty years ago in the front-page, top-of-the-page headline.  Following up on her unsatisfactory history of Seaside, Carol McKibben now speaks of the horrible internment policy initiated by those great liberals Franklin Roosevelt and Earl Warren.  She says categorically about Salinas, “Non-Japanese residents remembered the arrests and incarcerations as merely a natural consequence of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent U.S. declaration of war against Japan.” Surely this was not universal.

I don’t know about Salinas, but in New Monterey, my great-grandmother Mary Poessnecker Nims stored her neighbors’ belongings in her attic throughout their time away.  My late father, who was certainly no anti-racist, believed the internments to be illegal and unconstitutional.  He said that no one he knew was in favor of the policy.  Following the ideal of an earlier America, the Japanese and Japanese-Americans were mostly only superficially Japanese, having assimilated and become Americans.

Robert Hellam, Seaside

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