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Tag: 442 RCT

The draft dodgers of 1944

Newspaper article from Rocky Shimpo: "Wyoming Draft Resistance Has Authorities Stumped", 03/10/1944 (ARC 292810)

Newspaper article from Rocky Shimpo: "Wyoming Draft Resistance Has Authorities Stumped", 03/10/1944 (ARC 292810)

Behind the barbed wire of the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, a few men received their orders to report for duty. It was 1944, and they had been drafted.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States feared follow-on attacks would be conducted by persons of Japanese descent living within its borders. FDR issued Executive Order 9066, ordering the military to relocate Japanese descendants into camps. Barely a month later, Congress passed Public Law 503 supporting the order. Over 120,000 people were removed from their homes to remote relocation camps. Two-thirds of them were American citizens.

While the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was quick to make nisei—U.S. citizens of Japanese descent—ineligible for service, by 1944 the war machine was turning at such a pace that nisei were again made eligible, despite the fact they were currently being held in internment camps against their will.

At the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, two men decided to protest.

Kiyoshi Okamoto had founded the Fair Play Committee, a group dedicated to supporting the Constitutional rights of interned nisei. Frank Emi led the group, which had hundreds of followers in the camp, and found its battleground in the draft: members of … [ Read all ]