exercise #3 During world war two Italian-Americans faced many problems in everyday life because of the war. They dealed with the challenges such as relocation, exclusion, and internment. These restrictions were a grave problem for the Italian-Americans because they became prisoners in there own country.
The first of these challenges was internment. In 1941 Japanese, italian, and German alians were put under arrest. This was because of a list made two years earlier by FBI director Hoover. The list was made up of people considered to be pro-fascists, anti-fascists, pro-communists, pro-nazis, and some Jewish refugees. It was decided in 1798 that government had the power to detain aliens at any time of national emergency anyone on that list could be arrested. When these arrests took place people were taken from there homes and sent to a near by camp. The arrestees weren’t even informed of the charges against them, nor did they receive a defense attorney.
Many of these people continued to move from camp to camp for two years when the war ended.
Also restrictions were put into place. All enemy aliens were to register at there local post office and be finger printed, photographed, and had to carry the photo id stating they were enemy aliens at all times. Furthermore they were not permited to travel more then a five mile radius from there homes, and if they wanted to travel farther they would have to apply for a travel permit. All enemy aliens had to turn in all firearms. But they also had to turn in things like short wave radios, cameras, devices that could be used to sand signals. Like flashlights. Once confiscated most were never returned to there owners. The enemy aliens on the west coast were also given curfews. From 8:00pm to 6:00am there were to be in there homes. These restrictions created many problems in the areas of employment and food supply. Since the Italian population in some areas, were so great all the restrictions kept them from working or working effectivly. Hence creating the strain on employment and food supply. Which interestingly the government complained about, but was causing at the same time.
After feared reports of invasion on the west coast of California by the Japanese. All enemy aliens Japanese, German, and Italian were made to move to inland camps no later then february 24th of 1942. Many thousands of people were forced to move some didn’t have to move so far but for others the move away from relatives was unbearable. There were even suicides. One such incident was by a 65 year old man who stood in front of a train just three days before the deadline.
Exclusion was something similar to evacuation. Exclusion meant that naturalized citizens were given orders to move out of specified military zones within ten days. This was because these people were identified as practicing Un-American activities. Hearings were held without charges being made and no counsel given. Then exclusion orders were served. The individuals being served had to move out of two military zones that covered about two thirds of California. These people had to leave their homes and jobs, they find the nearest city with available jobs and housing for their family. Those excluded were made to return by the end of 1943 when Italy surrendered. Many had spent well over a year away from their homes.
The story that affected me most was the story by Frank Cannata of Brooklyn. He talked of how he remembered seeing his grandmother crying because she thought she was going to jail. He states how she was “the bedrock of the family.” And that he’d never seen her so upset before. It’s a harsh reality when you see a person a family member who you look at as so strong in will and heart unable to controle there emotions.