'Against All Enemies'

Inside the FBI Roundup of German Americans in World War II

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. — Bertrand Russell

A fascinating and chilling account. The oral histories breathe Kafkaesque life into the written record .... The oral histories make credible what is otherwise an almost unbelievable tale. —The Oral History Review   

 

     Through personal interviews and letter collections, underpinned by thousands of documents, Fox tells America's shameful story. Must reading for all concerned about a repetition and erosion of American civil liberties. —Society for German-American Studies Newsletter

While the American fleet burned in Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt, with indispensable assistance from J. Edgar Hoovers FBI, unleashed the Army and Justice Department on resident nationals of Germany, Japan, Italy and American citizens with connections to those countries. The President’s action joined him and his administration to the ranks of those who, since the 1790s, have made the fear of aliens a vital component of national security.

 

Hoover's FBI rounded up nearly 11,000 people of German ancestry, including Jewish refugees from occupied Europe and over 4,000 residents of Latin America and imprisoned them in a nationwide gulag for ‘dangerous enemy aliens’ other than Japanese Americans. This network crisscrossed the republic.

Detention & Internment Camps for German Americans
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  Critics praised Stephen Fox's America's Invisible Gulag as "must reading for all concerned about a repetition and erosion of civil liberties." Now, the award-winning author presents 'Against All Enemies', a revised and expanded edition of the original, including new chapters on the role of German spies at Pearl Harbor and the forced deportation of Germans from Latin America.

 

Weaving together first-person interviews and government records, Fox relates the inside story of internment and exclusion, and suggests answers to many key questions.

Individual rights must give way to some degree to self-defense when democracies go to war. But the precise location of that fulcrum is not at issue here, nor is Roosevelt’s successful role as Commander in Chief.

What is at issue are deeds, not words, not hagiography. Close, thorough analysis of Justice Department and FBI behavior precludes any presumption that the treatment of German Americans and Latin American Germans was strictly precautionary. Internal security in the 1940s fell to men of grand ambition and those who harbored class, nationalistic, and ethnic prejudices. The resort to fearmongering exposed the absence of toleration.

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