this day in 1942, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive
order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to
internment camps. A climate of paranoia descended on the US following the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan, which prompted the US to join the Second World War. Americans of Japanese ancestry became targets for persecution, as there were fears that they would collude with Japan and pose a national security threat. This came to a head with FDR’s executive order, which led to 120,000 Japanese-Americans being rounded up and held in camps. The constitutionality of the controversial measure was upheld by the Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944). Interned Americans suffered great material and personal hardship, with most people
losing their property and some losing their lives to illness or the
violence of camp sentries. The victims of internment and their families eventually received
an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the
1990s. This dark episode of American history is often forgotten in the narrative of US involvement in the Second World War, but Japanese internment poses a stark reminder of the dangers of paranoia and scapegoating.
Chiang Wei-Kuo (October 6, 1916 - September 22, 1997) volunteered for the German Wehrmacht in 1936. Specializing in mountain warfare, he earned the Gebirgsjäger sleeve Edelweiss insignia. He lead a panzer tank section during the 1938 Austrian Anschluss and, earning him a promotion to the officer rank of lieutenant. He was given command of a panzer unit in 1939 that was to be sent into Poland but was recalled to China by the Chinese government before he was deployed.
With his sibling Chiang Ching-kuo being held as a virtual political hostage in the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin having previously been a student studying in Moscow, Chiang sent Wei-kuo to Germany for a military education at the Kriegsschule in Munich. Here, he would learn the most up to date German military tactical doctrines, organization, and use of weaponry on the modern battlefield such as the German-inspired theory of the Maschinengewehr (Medium machine gun, at this time, the MG-34) led squad, incorporation of Air and Armored branches into infantry attack, etc. After completing this training, Wei-kuo completed specialized Alpine warfare training, thus earning him the coveted Gebirgsjäger (The elite Wehrmacht Mountain Troop) Edelweiss sleeve insignia. Wei-kuo was promoted to Fahnenjunker, or Officer Candidate, and was evidently a fine marksman, as his pictures depict him wearing the Schützenschnur lanyard.