Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version

Summer 2004

Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 26, Number 2, Summer 2004. ISSN 0196-7134


2004 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


During World War II, Americans were consumed by fears over national security owing to the presence within our borders of a large alien population and citizens who were descendants of immigrants from countries that were then fighting against us. The Roosevelt administration's reaction to the hysteria over threats from "enemy aliens" are a sobering lesson for the nation, especially given the response of the Bush administration to similar post-September 11 fears. These have led the administration to take even more drastic steps, ostensibly to protect our national security in its fight against terrorism, that specifically target Arabs and Muslims. Although the Japanese suffered the brunt of the anti-alien hysteria between 1940 and 1946, other alien groups, notably Germans and Italians, also were targeted for discriminatory treatment, which included refusal to hire them for war-related jobs and confinement to relocation camps. As associate director of field operations of the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC), Clarence Mitchell Jr. worked to end discrimination against those groups as the agency sought to uphold the national nondiscrimination policy President Franklin D. Roosevelt established under Executive Order 8802, which created it on 25 June 1941.