Concentration Camps - In the USA...

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AnonRommel
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Concentration Camps - In the USA...

Post by AnonRommel » 29 Jan 2003 07:46

I was just reading the thread Iltis started about warcrimes and hypocrisy, and wanted to bring up the subject of Allied camps, but I didn't want to interrupt the discussion on that thread, so I'm starting this one.

There are many people I encounter who hate Germany and all things German, now, in modern day, because of WWII warcrimes and propaganda, but they seem to know NOTHING at ALL about the camps right here in America where people rounded up Japanese and German Americans and put them in camps, under the pretense of fear of sabotage or espionage, though no proof was obtained prior to detaining these Americans, that I've ever found in my studies. Many similar horrible conditions and treatment of inmates were committed, though obviously without gas chambers.

My question to American Society is this: Why practice the hypocrisy of hating Germany for things that America also did to her own citizens, without any proof of their alleged crimes?

Yes, German concentration camps were horribly criminal. But I think there is "blood on American hands" too, and it is largely going unacknowledged by the self-righteous who are too busy hating Germans to study the truth of what their own country did to it's own people out of fear and hatred.

I'd just like to see those blind uninformed people acquire a little perspective on the big picture before they behave as if they are the "good guys" without stain. - Anon.

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Dan W.
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Post by Dan W. » 29 Jan 2003 22:48

Those are preposterous claims you are making there. You are comparing apples to oranges.

It always pains me when people in this country refer to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans as being in Concentration Camps and it shows an ignorance of history and marginalizes the pain and suffering of those who endured the real Concentration Camps in Europe.

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Scott Smith
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Konzentrationslagern...

Post by Scott Smith » 30 Jan 2003 05:52

Dan Weakley wrote:Those are preposterous claims you are making there. You are comparing apples to oranges.

It always pains me when people in this country refer to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans as being in Concentration Camps and it shows an ignorance of history and marginalizes the pain and suffering of those who endured the real Concentration Camps in Europe.
That's exactly what they were as the name indicates that it is a place to "concentrate" enemy civilians or dissidents, especially in time of war. The first use of the term Concentration Camp was by the British who employed concentration camps during the Boer war to "drain the swamp" (as Mao would later call it) by holding the dependents of Boer irregulars as hostages. Ten of thousands died from overcrowding and disease.

However, the Japanese were not treated with nearly as much careless brutality as the British and the Germans had employed, and the internees did not lose their American citizenship as did the German Jews (most of whom had already left Germany before the war began).

Also, only "Japs" from the West Coast were concentrated; if you lived east of the Gila River, you were a Good Jap according to the New Dealers. And, although conditions in the camps were sometimes primitive and harsh, there was never any policy to kill the Japanese, as is claimed of the Germans and their wartime camps.
:)

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Post by AnonRommel » 30 Jan 2003 08:34

Thanks for your input, Scott. You seem to have grasped my intended topic points much better than others.

Dan Weakley, I'm sorry to have upset you, but you missed my point. I did mention that I know the prisoners in the US camps were not being killed, and I believe I also made no claim that it was "as bad" as what happened in Poland and elsewhere. My point, since you missed it, was that Americans shouldn't behave as if they are entirely free of any evil-doing, or hold the "holier than thou, we're the good guys" attitude when they know nothing at all (many of them are clueless about the subject) concerning American camps.

I am well aware they were not on a level with the horror of the Holocaust, and I think you could try to ascertain another person's point before making a judgement on their knowledge of history.

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Roberto
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Re: Konzentrationslagern...

Post by Roberto » 30 Jan 2003 13:55

Scott Smith wrote: And, although conditions in the camps were sometimes primitive and harsh, there was never any policy to kill the Japanese, as is claimed of the Germans and their wartime camps.
I considered Smith's post exceptionally reasonable until I came upon the "claimed" in the above quoted last sentence.

But then, Smith has to stick to the "Revisionist" party line, right ?

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Post by Kokampf » 30 Jan 2003 14:14

Dan Weakley wrote:Those are preposterous claims you are making there. You are comparing apples to oranges.

It always pains me when people in this country refer to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans as being in Concentration Camps and it shows an ignorance of history and marginalizes the pain and suffering of those who endured the real Concentration Camps in Europe.
As Mr. Smith rightly indicates, any such forcible civilian detention centre is by definition a 'concentration camp', which term needn't necessarily indicate abuses other than the loss of freedom of movement. The anti-Japanese hysteria within the US in WW2 was certainly ugly (as was the anti-German hysteria in both wars - in WW1 hatred of the German brewing companies incidentally contributed to the prohibition movement) but not murderous.

Other genuinely monstrous camp systems on a large scale, besides the German KZs, during WW2:

Stalin's GULAG - an immense system of cruel forced labour camps administered by the NKVD in Siberia, some within the Arctic circle. The most notorious was Kolyma, much feared in the USSR and sometimes called 'the white Auschwitz'. First established under Lenin as a savage communist variation on the old Tsarist punishment of Siberian exile, the GULAG reached its peak population under Stalin. The system undoubtedly killed millions of the deportees, POWs and victims of mass denunciation that were sent there, though the exact figures are hard to establish. Inadequate clothing, tools and food combined with heavy work and a lethal climate killed most of the victims, while some were summarily shot or tortured to death. Some duties, such as uranium mining without protective clothing, were used as a guaranteed death sentence. Escape was virtually impossible due to geographical isolation in incredibly hostile terrain and local indigenous tribesmen forced to cooperate with the authorities in apprehending fugitives. Sentences were theoretically limited, and many prisoners ultimately came home - but many more remained in the ice. The GULAG supplied slave labour for many major Soviet construction projects, and was the dirty secret at the heart of Soviet economics. No-one has ever been punished for the vast crime against humanity represented by the GULAG, apart from those NKVD men who fell from official grace in one way or another and became inmates themselves.

Japanese camps - Many know of the horrific conditions in Japanese POW and civilian detention camps, and the use of POWs and Asian civilians as expendable slave labour in construction projects, notably railways ('death railways' were also of course constructed under Soviet rule in Siberia). Most horrible of all were the biological warfare research establishments, mainly in Manchuria, which maintained a stock of human test subjects for vivisection, biological and chemical weapons tests, and extreme climate research (freezing and pressure chamber experiments). The largest establishment was the high-security fortified camp of Unit 731 at Pingfan / Harbin. From the beginning of Japanese rule in Manchuria in the '30s until the destruction of the facilities and liquidation of surviving prisoners in 1945, the program accounted for thousands of unbelievably horrific deaths within the camps and hundreds of thousands in artificial epidemics among Chinese civilians, which continued after the war due to the deliberate release of infected animals. The perpetrators, led by the project's mastermind Lieutenant General Shiro Ishii of the Japanese Army medical service, did a deal with the USA for their research data and expertise in exchange for immunity from prosecution, which was exposed in the 1970s.

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Re: Konzentrationslagern...

Post by Scott Smith » 30 Jan 2003 16:07

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote: And, although conditions in the camps were sometimes primitive and harsh, there was never any policy to kill the Japanese, as is claimed of the Germans and their wartime camps.
I considered Smith's post exceptionally reasonable until I came upon the "claimed" in the above quoted last sentence.

But then, Smith has to stick to the "Revisionist" party line, right ?
The reason that I said "claimed" is because I consider the killing-policy to have been uneven rather than general, and more according to "Functionality" rather than "Intentionality." All claims, especially regarding atrocities, are not equal.

Good posts from all,
Scott

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Post by alsaco » 30 Jan 2003 16:15

Differences exists as Kokampf has clearly states

Internment camps have been used in all countries. Correct in the US. Not so correct in France

Transit camps have existed for emergency situations in Europe after WW2, in Africa during tribal wars, around Palestina since 1947.

Concentrations camps are an exclusivity for totalitarian government, and are part of an administrative conception of "justice". They generate a lot of side effects, and are to be considered more by these consequences, facts, then on principles, ideology or theory.

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Post by Dan W. » 30 Jan 2003 22:23

AnonRommel wrote:Thanks for your input, Scott. You seem to have grasped my intended topic points much better than others.

Dan Weakley, I'm sorry to have upset you, but you missed my point. I did mention that I know the prisoners in the US camps were not being killed, and I believe I also made no claim that it was "as bad" as what happened in Poland and elsewhere. My point, since you missed it, was that Americans shouldn't behave as if they are entirely free of any evil-doing, or hold the "holier than thou, we're the good guys" attitude when they know nothing at all (many of them are clueless about the subject) concerning American camps.

I am well aware they were not on a level with the horror of the Holocaust, and I think you could try to ascertain another person's point before making a judgement on their knowledge of history.
No, I'm not upset. But what does upset me is when an internment camp is called a concentration camp. There is a major difference between the two. I don't think the differences need to be examined as you are probably aware of the marked contrast of what happened in U.S.
and German camps.

There were many other places where prisoners were routinely starved, beaten, murdered, worked to death, etc., but only Nazi Germany had genocide as the ultimate goal. You also mention that Americans should not act "holier than thou" and "pass judgement", but I'm not sure where you are connecting this attitude, the internment of Japanese-Americans and the actual concentration camps of Europe.

Again, I question the use of the word "concentration camp" in regards to internment camps. It devalues the horror of what actually happened to those who lived, worked and perished in concentration camps.

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Post by Fredrik » 31 Jan 2003 01:05

Again, I question the use of the word "concentration camp" in regards to internment camps. It devalues the horror of what actually happened to those who lived, worked and perished in concentration camps.
While I don't necessarily disagree with you, it must be remembered that the vast majority of the German camps during the war where labour camps, not death camps; the camp system in Norway serves as a prime example. Yet all German wartime camps are termed concentration camps, which implies that the term ranges beyond death camps, IMO.

Regards,
Fredrik

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Post by David Thompson » 31 Jan 2003 01:14

Fredrik -- What you refer to as "labour camps" were forced labor camps (Zwangsarbeitslager), where conditions were distinctly sub-fabulous. Many of these were run on the "annihilation through labor" principle. You can find out more about "the horror of what actually happened to those who lived, worked and perished in concentration camps" at:

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... hp?t=15224

and

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 44043c0520

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Post by AnonRommel » 31 Jan 2003 04:10

Mr. Weakley, I don't see the point of an argument over semantics with you concerning whether to call the camps in America "concentration" or "internment". You have your opinion on that, and no doubt no one who disagrees with you could change your mind. I DO think that most of us agree that Nazi concentration camps were the far worse horrors. I make no claim otherwise.

I will restate for you that my argument was not about what to call the camps. My argument was concerning many Americans I have encountered who believe that the USA has never done anything wrong in any war. They believe that the Japanese and the Germans are the "bad guys" and that America is as clean as snow. They seem to enjoy their ignorance. Perhaps because it gives them the false security of being the "good guys"; or, perhaps, it might be because they don't see anything wrong with the camps in WWII America.

Whatever name you choose to call injustice doesn't matter to me as much as trying to enlighten these people that what America did to it's own citizens in the midst of war hysteria was wrong. Was it AS BAD as the Nazi camps? No. Of course not. But a lesser evil isn't any less wrong. Surely you can agree to that.

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Post by Scott Smith » 31 Jan 2003 04:21

Dan Weakley wrote:Again, I question the use of the word "concentration camp" in regards to internment camps.
Yes, the totalitarian-liberals of the New Deal were quick to phrase it that way, even though concentration-camps are what they were. Whereas the Nazis before the war deliberately cultivated the phrase for a get-tough image, the Americans during the war were quick to distance themselves from it. Even today there are those who seriously defend Roosevelt's efforts to foil Tojo's mythical Fifth Column.
It devalues the horror of what actually happened to those who lived, worked and perished in concentration camps.
The suffering of Nazi Victims is no better than anyone else's suffering.
:)
Last edited by Scott Smith on 02 Feb 2003 07:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Dan W. » 31 Jan 2003 05:20

AnonRommel wrote: I will restate for you that my argument was not about what to call the camps. My argument was concerning many Americans I have encountered who believe that the USA has never done anything wrong in any war. They believe that the Japanese and the Germans are the "bad guys" and that America is as clean as snow. They seem to enjoy their ignorance. Perhaps because it gives them the false security of being the "good guys"; or, perhaps, it might be because they don't see anything wrong with the camps in WWII America.

Whatever name you choose to call injustice doesn't matter to me as much as trying to enlighten these people that what America did to it's own citizens in the midst of war hysteria was wrong. Was it AS BAD as the Nazi camps? No. Of course not. But a lesser evil isn't any less wrong. Surely you can agree to that.
Well, I still don't grasp your original argument. Who are these people who think the U.S. is "clean as snow?" Would these be the same people who would confuse an internment camp with a concentration camp?

You know, The History Channel had a professor from the University of Pittsburgh discussing the Japanese interred during WWII. He continually called these camps "concentration camps." The man had a PHd in history.
Anyway, I was able to find his e-mail through the online faculty address book for Pitt and questioned him on this, giving a lengthy explanation on the differences between the two. To his credit, he replied. He issued a terse Yea, I guess your right and then (strangely) ended it with a Ha Ha

And that is why I get upset about it. Educators too ignorant to determine a marked difference between the injustice of detaining someone based on paranoia and racism and the planned extermination of a group of
people through brutal mistreatment, starvation, overwork, and outright mass murder.

Regards,
D.W.

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Post by Fredrik » 01 Feb 2003 20:03

Dan, do you consider the German nazi era camp system to be the only one appropriately labelled concentration camps?

Regards,
Fredrik

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