Uncivil Liberties: Italian Americans Under Siege During World War II
While the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II is a well-known blemish on American history, few people are aware that from February through June of 1942 the federal government enacted a relocation program that forced thousands of West Coast Italian and German aliens and their families to leave their homes for so-called safe zones. Law-abiding people who had lived in the United States for decades, including some who had sons in the armed forces, were subjected to surveillance and harassment simply because they had never obtained U.S. citizenship. The government eventually abandoned this program, but only because the process of relocating so many proved economically and politically unfeasible. Other Italians, including American citizens, whose loyalty was deemed doubtful, were interned or excluded without trial.
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