1944 August 20

Navy Bans Japanese-American Citizens; ACLU Protests


The U.S. Navy on this day reiterated its policy of refusing to allow Japanese-American citizens to serve. The Navy statement came in response to a criticism of the policy by the ACLU. The Acting Secretary of the Navy stated that the presence of Japanese-American sailors would “create collateral racial problems of a complex nature that cannot be handled adequately under wartime conditions.”

The Navy also excluded all women of Japanese ancestry from the WAVES.

The Navy spokesperson denied that the policy was based on any “fundamental distrust of the loyalty of this group,” but in a tortured explanation referred to “the peculiar conditions” “in [the] present naval warfare.”

During World War II, the U.S. armed forces were segregated by race. African-Americans served in the Army in separate units. Some Japanese-American citizens also served in army units deployed in Europe.

Arguably the greatest civil liberties disaster in American history was the evacuation and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the program on February 19, 1942.

Visit the Japanese-American Museum: http://www.janm.org/

Read: Greg Robinson, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (2001)

View Dorothea Lange’s Internment Camp Photographs:

Read: Linda Gordon and Gary Y. Okihiro (eds), Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment (2008)

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!