RH reader Teri pointed out that when Wesley Clark said —
In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech. We put him in a camp.
— he was either misinformed or outright lying. Teri wrote:
We did not have internment camps for Nazi sympathizers during WW2; we had internment camps for Japanese-Americans. They weren’t rounded up because they were Nazis or had expressed interest in Nazi ideas, but simply because they were of Japanese descent.
I regret that I didn’t verify Clark’s mythical Nazi camps myself, even though I had only ever heard of the internment of Japanese-Americans. It’s certainly a claim that is entirely out of sync with the tactical relationship the US Ruling Class has long had with Nazis, white supremacists and fascists that I have discussed elsewhere on this blog. Various readers noted that Avery Harriman, Prescott Bush and Henry Ford would all qualify for internment under such a policy.
In poking around on the web following Teri’s comment, I discovered that German nationals were interned as well, but from what I can tell, here too, ethnicity, not ideology was the justification. Italian-Americans were also interned, again on the basis of descent. Clark’s remarks suggest a policy that would have interned Nazi sympathizers of any kind, German or otherwise, but I have found nothing that verifies such a policy.
A beloved progressive militarist fabricating a WW 2 internment of Nazi sympathizers in the midst of recommending such a solution for radicalized Muslims is kind of important. So it’s interesting and also troublesome that very few, if any, of the accounts of Clark’s remarks challenge his claims. His MSNBC host Thomas Roberts certainly didn’t. Salon, The Intercept, Mediaite and Reason didn’t either.
So what’s the deal? Are we wrong here in claiming that there weren’t camps for Nazis? If we’re not wrong, why did seemingly no one in a high place point this out?