Enemy Aliens / Civil Liberties
These news items were noted in, "Page One: The Front Page History of
World War II as presented in The New York Times." They are selected pages
published as one or two a month where important events in the European war are
discussed. It was an East Coast paper, no pages other than the front page are shown,
the point being it is not complete and has little West Coast news. Never-the-less,
a few articles that happened to appear may be instructive to those trying to understand
The New York Times.
May 26, 1940. Control of Aliens Nears Senate Vote. Subcommittee Approves Their
Registration or Deportation Within Four Months.
. . . That all aliens in the United States be required to register at post offices
and be fingerprinted within four months, with automatic deportation as the penalty
for failure so to register. The number of aliens is estimated at 4,000,000.
May 27, 1940. President Assures nation of Safety: decries Panic Talk. He Declares
All Needed Will Be Done to Build and Keep Adequate Defenses. -- Warns of Fifth Column.
. . . The Trojan horse, or fifth column device, which may be called on in an attempt
to harm America, is simple, the President said. First he went on, discord is sown,
a group, sectional, racial, or political in character, is encouraged to exploit
prejudices though false slogans and emotional appeals. The aim of those who
deliberately incite various groups, he said, is "to create confusion of counsel,
public indecision, political paralysis and eventually a state of panic."
May 28, 1940. Acts to Bar jobs to Reds, Bundists.
. . . The Senate approved without record vote two amendments by Senator Reynolds
which injected the defense picture into the bill. the first amendment would provide
that no industry covered by the measure should employ aliens to an extend greater
than 10 percent of its total personnel. By the other one, it forbade the employment
of any Nazi or Communists without exception.
July 29, 1940. BRITONS ARRESTED SECRETLY IN JAPAN. Seizure of 11 Business
Leaders, Besides News Man, Linked to New Tokyo Policy.
It was learned from private advices today that eleven prominent British
business men in Japan have been arrested by Japanese authorities in five cities.
... All were said to have been arrested Saturday in sudden raids without warning.
The Japanese censorship suppressed all news of the subject. Reasons for the
arrests were not disclosed, but British circles believed that pressure from Germany
on Japan was at least partly responsible.
June 23, 1940. CITY WPA TO PURGE 1,000 NAZIS, REDS. Signing of Affidavits to
Be Started Tomorrow FBI to Aid in Investigations.
. . . The purge in this city will begin tomorrow, and the local administrator
estimated that at least 1,000 WPA workers would loss their jobs before it was completed.
All of the 101,000 persons on the rolls here and 1,700,000 in other parts of the
country, will be required to sign affidavits disavowing Communist or Nazi affiliations.
The maximum penalty for false statement will be $2,000 or two years imprisonment.
July 7, 1940. YOUTH CONGRESS BARS LIBERTY PLEA. Refuses to Consider Suppression of
Civil Status in Totalitarian States.
At a meeting of the Commission on Civil Liberties of the Congress, a resolution
which would have placed the Congress on record as condemning the suppression of civil
Liberties under the totalitarian governments of Germany, Italy, Russia, and Spain.
The resolution was ruled out of order.
"I'd like to see a little deviation from the Communist party line",
the sponsor said, "I don't want to kick out the Communists or the Fascists either,
but there should be a stand against the party line. "We never can attack the sacred
cow of Russia or of communism. We can criticize England for her colonies and tell
the United States to keep out of South America, but you can't say anything about
Russia going into Finland or Poland."
December 8, 1941. ENTIRE CITY PUT ON WAR FOOTING. Japanese Rounded Up by FBI,
Sent to Ellis Island Vital Services Are Guarded.
The metropolitan district reacted swiftly yesterday to the Japanese attack
in the Pacific. All large communities in the area ... went on immediate war footing.
. . . One of the first steps taken here last night was a roundup of Japanese nationals
by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reinforced by squads of city
detectives acting under FBI supervision. More than 100 FBI men, fully armed were
assigned to the detail.
The prisoners were sent to Ellis Island where they will be held pending action
at Washington. It was indicated hundreds would be detained. ... Earlier Mayor La Guardia
had convened his Emergency Board and directed that Japanese national be confined in
their homes pending decision as to their status and hand their clubs and other meeting
places closed and put under police guard. . . .
December 12, 1941. JAPANESE CHECKED IN ALL LAND FIGHTING; Blocked in Luzon
But Japanese Put Small force Ashore in south of Philippine Island.
SABOTEURS ARE HELD Some in Manila Seized for Spreading Rumor About City Water. -
2000 families Are Moved. Manila took further emergency measures to evacuate
portions of the old walled city. The Red Cross supervised the removal of 2,000 families,
loading them into buses and trucks and taking them to safety zones considerably removed
from the city. Identification cards were issued and checked as they evacuees lined up
With LtGen. Douglas MacArthur's United States Far Eastern forces fully in
control of the North Luzon invasion threat and his air force sufficiently active to
disperse Japanese raiders headed for Manila, his intelligence service turned yesterday
to mopping up fifth columnists. ... Interned Japanese numbering around 2,000 were
revealed to be extremely uncomfortable under the threat of bombs from Japanese planes,
recognizing that bombs do not distinguish nationalities.
December 13, 1941. 14 CONVICTED HERE AS GERMAN SPIES. Verdict, Read After 8 Hours,
Also Finds Agents Guilty of Failure to Register.
. . . All fourteen men accursed of espionage and failure to register as agents of a
foreign government, namely Germany, were found guilty on both counts a little before
midnight last night by a jury of nine men and three women in United States district
Court in Brooklyn that had deliberated about eight hours. ... The defendants, charge
specifically with conspiracy to evade registration as alien agents and to transmit
abroad information about the United States defense effort, face maximum jail sentences
of twenty-two years.
Also facing sentence at that time will be the nineteen other persons,
including three women, who pleased guilty to the original indictment and have been
In dismissing the jurors, Judge Byers said: "It will readily appear that you
have rendered a very substantial contribution to the welfare of the country which you
and I hold very dear."
December 16 1941. KNOX REPORTS ONE BATTLESHIP SUNK AT HAWAII, FIFTH COLUMN ACTIVE --
One reason for the success of the Japanese, he asserted, was cooperation from the
Hawaiian Islands themselves.
. . . "The most effective fifth-column work in this war was done
in Hawaii, with the exception of Norway," Mr. Knox said.
He declined to elaborate on stage Continued, on Page Seven.
February 7, 1941. M'ARTHUR BLASTS FOE'S GUNS, IGNORES PLEA BY
AQUINALDO; -- A NEW 'QUISLING" ARISES Aguinaldo's Plea to MacArthur to
Surrender Stirs Amusement Foe Prepares a Drive --
. . . The department also disclosed that the Japanese were resorting once again
to futile propagandistic weapons. In the person of General Emilio Aquinaldo the
enemy has found "a sort of Philippine Quisling," the department said in a
communiqué released his evening. General Aquinaldo in 1899 led the Filipino
insurrection against the United States.
A Laugh for Defenders. In a radio broadcast addressed to General MacArthur from
Manila, General Aguinaldo urged the immediate surrender of the American forces.
His appeal, the war department asserted, was of course, ignored by the United
States general. In the last few days the enemy has unleashed a barrage of
propaganda designed to lower the morale of our troops. Besides radio broadcasts,
there have been pamphlets dropped from the skies.
February 16, 1942. Australia Arrest Aliens Along Coast. Brisbane, Australia.
Hundreds of enemy aliens, mostly Italian sugar-field workers were arrested
in a wide-spread round-up Friday night and Saturday in North Queensland. The
sugar belt lies along the coast where Japanese could land in an attempted invasion.
A special barred and guarded train is taking the aliens southward for
internment at Townsville. The Italians had been boasting, according to newspapers,
that "the Japanese won't touch us." May had hidden firearms.
Sydney, Australia. The government completed plans today for the registration
of all male aliens tomorrow and Tuesday.
July 28, 1942. PATROLS MEET FOE IN NEW GUINEA PUSH Australia Warns of Spies.
CANBERRA Almost positive evidence" of activities of enemy agents is causing
anxiety in governmental circles today. ... the possibility of landings of spies
for the Japanese from submarines at unfrequented spots along Australia's long and
lonely coastline is not discounted in view of recent revelations in the United States.
It is also considered possible that the enemy governments may have planted agents
in Australia before the war who have succeeded in disarming suspicion and making
Australian friends, from who they obtain information ... The existence of illegal
radios in the Commonwealth has long been Continued on page Three.
August 25, 1942. BAHR IS CONVICTED AS A GERMAN SPY; HEARS FATE SEPT.2
Jury out 2 Hours, Brings in Verdict Against Man Sent Back to U.S. by Gestapo.
. . . HIS WIFE SOBS AT TRIAL He Faces Long Term or Death Von Clemm Gets 2 Years
as Nazi Gem Importer
. . . Herbert Karl Friedrich Bahr, 29-year old German-born, American-educated
engineer, was found guilty of being a Nazi spy by a jury of housewives and
business men in Federal Court here today. He took the news with a blink and
a dazed shake of the head. On Sept 2 at 10 A.M. he will learn whether he is
to die or spend a long time in prison
. . . During the two-hour interim Bahr's young wife, Mrs. Ruth Bahr of Buffalo
sat on a front bench in the court room. She had not seen her husband until this
trial opened a week ago, since the time in 1938 when he went to Germany to pursue
his engineering studies under an international scholarship. She left her 4-year
old son in Buffalo. ...
The case had lasted six days. The backbone of the prosecution was a
long detailed statement the Bahr had give to the Federal Bureau of Investigation
on July 7, eight days after reaching Jersey City on the diplomatic exchange
ships Drottningholm. In this Bahr said he had received $7,000 and had been
sent to the United States as an agent of the Nazis. He supplied two pieces
of cotton, each of which, when soaked in water, produced an invisible ink he
was to use in sending back to Germany information obtained here.
It was his defense that he never intended to do any of the things the Nazis
instructed him to do, that he permitted them to believe he was willing to work for
them in order to get back to the United States. It was the lag of time between his
arrival and his telling of the story that Mr. Lord emphasized Continued on Page 10.
August 25, 1942. War News Summarized
. . . Brazil closed German and Italian banks and incorporated into the
State-operated merchant fleet German and Italian vessels caught in Brazilian
port at the outbreak of the war in 1939. The sinking of the United States
tanker Louisiana and a Swedish vessel were disclosed in Rio de Janeiro. (1:5)
August 27, 1942. War News Summarized --
. . . Brazil announced that more than a thousand Germans and Italians had been
arrested in Rio de Janeiro and neighboring States, and other thousands were
believed to have been arrested elsewhere. (5:2)
The Vichy regime ordered a round-up of all foreign Jews who had entered
France since 1936, despite a reported pleas from the Pope for moderation dealing
with refugees (3:5)
October 13, 1942. U.S. ITALIAN AIDED Biddle Announces Lifting of the "Alien Enemy'
Stigma on Monday PRESIDENT APPROVES Loyalty of 600,000 in Nation Said to Have
. . . Six hundred thousand unnaturalized Italians living in the United States
will be freed from the stigma of being alien enemies of the country, beginning next
Monday, it was announced last night by Attorney General Francis Biddle in a speech
at a Columbus Day celebration at Carnegie Hall. His address was carried over a
nationwide radio hook-up of the Mutual Broadcasting System.
The action, which Mr. Biddle said was taken with the approval of President
Roosevelt, will free those Italian from many restrictions that have hampered them
until now. It will permit them to travel freely, to possess cameras and firearms,
except where local regulations forbid, to remain out after the curfew now prescribed
for alien enemies on the West Coast, and will free them from the necessity of
carrying identification cards.
Mr. Biddle declared that this exoneration of Italians living in this
country has been well earned by their loyalty to the United States.
Only 228 Italians Interned
In ten months of unprecedented wartime vigilance, he said, during which
the government has acted on a policy of taking no chances with any one who might
be dangerous, it was necessary to intern only 228 Italians, or fewer than
one-twentieth of 1 per cent.
The Attorney General also declared he had asked Congress to change the
naturalization laws in a way that would make it possible for 200,000 of the older
Italians living in this country to become citizens. this would be done by eliminating
the necessity for taking a literacy test in the case of persons who are 50 years old
or more, and have lived in this country continuously since before July 1, 1924.
Because of the obvious value to this country to be derived from spreading the
news of the governments action through Axis Europe, Mr. Biddle's speech was carried
last night on virtually all the short-wave radio stations now under government control.
It was understood also that the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Continued
on Page Twelve.
October 21, 1942. Laval Tells French Labor it Must Serve in Germany.
Pierre Laval, Vichy chief of government, broadcast to French workers
a warning that they must be prepared to work in Germany either under voluntary
contract or by compulsion. ( MORE )
November 25, 1942. Chicago Trio Get Death Penalty for Treason, Wives Prison Terms.
. . . Three German-Americans ho aided and sheltered Herbert Hans Haupt, executed
Nazi saboteur and spy, were sentenced to death for treason today by Federal Judge
William J. Campbell "as a timely and solemn warning to all who would attempt the
smallest act of sabotage." Their wives, who were convicted of the same crimes were
ordered to prison for twenty-five years and fined $10,000 each.
"The sentence must serve notice upon the enemy that the cunningly devised
scheme for the use of American citizens of German birth as pawns in the game of
sabotage and espionage in this country is doomed to failure," the judge asserted.
The men were Hans Max Haupt, father of Herbert, who was captured with seven other
saboteurs after they had landed in June from German submarines on the Long Island
and Florida coasts: Walter Wilhelm Froehling, uncle of Herbert, and Otto Walter
Wergin, close friend of the Haupta and Froehlings.
War News Summarized --
. . . The Polish Government in Exile announced that the German Gestapo chief,
Heinrich Himmler, had ordered half the Jews in Poland killed by the end of the
year in preparation for the eventual slaughter of all Jews in the country. (10:1)
July 26, 2002. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
Nazi collaborator Papon won a victory in the European Court of Human Rights.
It ruled France wrongly denied an appeal of his 1998 conviction for deporting
Jews in World War II.
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About this page: nytaliens - A few newspaper articles concerning
treatment of enemy aliens and civil right around the world in World War II, the early years.
Last updated on August 24, 2002
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