On page 804 of Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, Conrad Black states regarding FBI director J. Edgar Hoover: "His finest hour had been his opposition to the internment of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor in 1942." I did not know that about Hoover.
Why was Hoover against internment camps for
Japanese-Americans? Essentially, he did not think that there was any
evidence that Japanese-Americans posed a danger to the security of the
United States. This article
states: "In his Final Report, [General John L.] DeWitt maintained that
ship-to-shore communication had led to the sinking of American ships.
But on February 9, 1942, J. Edgar Hoover denied the existence of any
information showing ship-to-shore communication." The article also
states: "J. Edgar Hoover said that the internment decision was a result
of politics and hysteria, not a measure of national security. 'It is
interesting to observe,' Hoover noted, 'that little mention has been
made of the mass evacuation of enemy aliens.' The FBI had arrested 733
Japanese aliens in the U.S. by 6:30 A.M. December 8, 1941."
expresses that part about the enemy aliens a little more clearly: "Even
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover opposed the mass relocation of Japanese
Americans because he was convinced that the most likely spies or
potential saboteurs among that population had already been rounded up in
the initial sweep of 'enemy aliens' between December 7 and 13, 1941.
During searches of Japanese American residences conducted by the FBI
beginning in early February 1942, the Department of Justice reported
that 'We have not uncovered through these searches any dangerous persons
that we did not otherwise know about.'" See here
(on page 2) for Hoover's memo to FDR aide General Edwin Wilson, stating
that the FBI had already arrested Japanese aliens who were deemed to be
says that Hoover thought that the internment of Japanese-Americans was
unconstitutional. I wish that the article went into more detail about
Hoover's views on this, but the article itself appears to consider the
internment to be a violation of the fifth and sixth amendments of the
U.S. Bill of Rights, since it entailed depriving Japanese-Americans of
their liberty and property without due process (i.e., criminal charges
and a trial).
Ann Coulter says in this column:
"Absurdly, liberals claim to hate J. Edgar Hoover because of their
passion for civil liberties. The left's exquisite concern for civil
liberties apparently did not extend to the Japanese. As President
Franklin D. Roosevelt rounded up Japanese for the internment camps,
liberals were awed by his genius. The Japanese internment was praised by
liberal luminaries such as Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter and Hugo
Black. Joseph Rauh, a founder of Americans for Democratic Action -- and
celebrated foe of 'McCarthyism' -- supported the internment. There was
one lonely voice in the Roosevelt administration opposed to the Japanese
internment -- that of J. Edgar Hoover...Liberals deemed it appropriate
to throw Japanese citizens into internment camps on the basis of no
evidence of subversive activity whatsoever."
Ann Coulter and other right-wingers I have read (see, for example, here and here)
appear to be quite critical of the internment camps. (UPDATE: This article seems to suggest that, in 2005, Ann Coulter was
saying something different, but it does not include an actual quotation
of her.) I should also
note that President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill granting
reparations to surviving Japanese-Americans who had been interned in the
camps, and President George H.W. Bush issued a public apology.
there are some neo-conservatives who have retrospectively expressed
support for the internment camps, implying that this piece of history is
somehow relevant to how American Muslims should be treated in the U.S.
See here. See also here
for Michelle Malkin's defense of her book defending the internment of
Japanese-Americans during World War II. She states: "Liberal critics
always ask if I’ve ever changed my mind about anything. Yes, I take back
what I wrote in 2000; I have radically changed my mind about FDR’s
actions to protect the homeland." See here for good reviews of Malkin's book, both pro and con.