Tuesday, June 14, 2016

U.S. History of Arresting Dangerous Immigrants

America entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Un-naturalized Germans and even first and second generation naturalized German immigrants were widely seen as the “enemy within”.

Surveillance operations, conducted by such government agencies as the Alien Enemy Bureau, led to over 10,000 arrests.  Some 8,500 arrests were conducted under presidential warrants. Most of those arrested were released after a brief period of investigation.  Almost twenty five per cent of those detained, however, were found to be “dangerous enemy aliens” and interned in two camps set up by the War Department.  In the spring of 1918, the government began interning female enemy aliens suspected of aiding the enemy.  Scores of women were arrested, but only fifteen were held indefinitely

German-speaking communities were largely erased by the war and the anti-German feeling it created.  This was done through aggressive assimilation by hitherto self-identifying German-speaking communities.

A brief look at the changing historical views (1920 to the present) on the uses and abuses of American domestic propaganda during World War I. Was this a necessary evil or a gross infringement of civil liberties? How, when, and why has opinion changed?

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