The Internment of Japanese, German and Italian-Americans During WWII: Background information when reading The Last Year of the War

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The Last Year of the War

by Susan Meissner

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner X
The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
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    Mar 2019, 400 pages


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The Internment of Japanese, German and Italian-Americans During WWII

This article relates to The Last Year of the War

Overhead shot of Crystal City Internment Camp near Crystal City, TexasIn The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner, the novel's main character is a child of German descent confined to the Crystal City internment camp during World War II, and later repatriated with her family to Germany. Many of us are aware of the exclusion, removal and detention of 120,000 people of Japanese heritage that occurred as the country entered WWII. Less familiar to most are the proceedings the government took against those of German and Italian birth.

The groundwork for action against foreign-born individuals actually began in the mid-1930s, as part of J. Edgar Hoover's campaigns against communism and Nazism. Under his direction, the FBI developed a list of individuals, referred to as the Custodial Detention Index or the ABC List, ranking people on the basis of their perceived risk, taking into account things like membership in suspect groups, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, overseas visits and tips from anonymous informants. By 1939, the FBI claimed they were ...

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