'Against All Enemies'
The Fate of Germans in the Americas during World War II
(A revised and expanded edition of the original (America's Invisible Gulag), 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.)
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
You seem to be under the wrong impression about an internment camp. We are not criminals, just people accused of a varied political opinion. For this reason, we are treated with courtesy and re-spect, fed excellently, libraries, and recreational materials are furnished free, a university estab-lished in the camp by the residents, an art school, orchestra (of which I am concert master, 1st violin), a theatrical troupe, the promise of motion pictures in the future, daily local papers and home-town papers. — Internee Paul de Gaston
Who do these American ‘institutionists’ think they are anyway? If these are the people that want to reform the world, it would be advisable for them to clean up at home first. Every day I’m gladder that I’m a man without a country; it puts me in the delectable position to contend that I am not one of these that break up homes and destroy businesses and maltreat old women. I shudder to think I almost became one of them.
When this war is over, I shall indeed flee and find a haven of refuge among the most uncivilized people in the world, then I shall at least know where I am and not beguiled into believing in civilized morons and condoning their shameful deeds. — Internee Paul de Gaston
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 Hoover’s FBI, unleashed the Army and Justice Department on resident nationals of Germany, Japan, Italy and American citizens with connections to those countries.
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.
Close 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. What is at issue in this book are deeds, not words, not hagiography.
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.