On May 8, 1945, at 11:01 pm Central European Time – already May 9 in the USSR – the German surrender took effect, ending World War II in Europe. The war with Germany and her fellow members of what we now call fascist allies in Europe – Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Slovakia and Finland – had already claimed the lives of perhaps 50 million people. In the ensuing years, oceans of ink have been spilled by right-wing historians and polemicists in an attempt to distort or even minimize the significance of this date. The purpose of this rewriting of history is in some cases to defend fascism, but in many more it is simply to diminish the prestige of the Soviet Union, the first socialist state. We think it is appropriate to call to mind a few facts.
On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the removal of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent from the West Coast of the U.S. to concentration camps. Despite not a single case of espionage by Japanese Americans, they were removed en masse by a combination of what has been called “war hysteria, racial prejudice, and a failure of political leadership” under the guise of national security.
Russian war epic holds lessons for U.S. audiences on modern day crisis in Ukraine
Last year, I might have thought of Stalingrad as an interesting history lesson. But when I sat down in the theater to watch the new Russian war epic last weekend, all I could think about was the crisis in Ukraine.
San José, CA – On Feb. 17, the San José Day of Remembrance program commemorated the anniversary of Executive Order 9066 issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. 300 people came to the San Jose Buddhist Church hall to remember E.O. 9066, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. At the beginning of the program the emcee, Will Kaku, said that the official apology from the government stated that the concentration camps “were due to racial prejudice, wartime hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Although those words pertain to events from 71 years ago, they serve as a warning to us today.”
San José, CA – On Jan. 26, there was a commemoration of Fred Korematsu, one of the Japanese Americans who resisted the World War II U.S. concentration camps for Japanese Americans. The event, held in San José’s Japantown, began with the film, “Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story.”