May 31, 2005
Japanese Internment Camps in WWII
For over a century, the United States has been one of the most powerful and influential states on the globe. However, every nation has made mistakes in its past. Throughout our country's history, certain groups have had to endure horrible injustices: the enslavement of African-Americans, the removal of Native Americans, and discrimination against immigrants, women, homosexuals, and every other minority. During World War II, the government crossed the line between defending the nation and violating human rights, when it chose to relocate Japanese residents to internment camps. The actions taken by the U.S. government against Japanese Americans and Japanese living in the United States were not justified.
Much of the support for the camps was probably fueled by fear. The attack on Pearl Harbor was unlike anything the United States had ever experienced before, and the events of that day must have had devastating effects on Americans' sense of security. In 1942, most of the American public was in favor of internment (RTAP, 122), but it was not necessary. A person's heritage does not determine his or her personal opinions. But, paranoia led American military leaders assumed that anyone of Japanese descent was automatically loyal to the Emperor of Japan and in full support of the Pearl Harbor attack. Many of the internees had a deep love for the U.S. and had either raised their children here, or had spent their entire lives in the U.S. There was vehement opposition to the violent action taken by Japan, as there is with any act of bloodshed.
Unfortunately, the Japanese-Americans living on the west coast were given no time to show what their loyalties were: they were expelled from the area. They were shipped off to remote locations in the more barren sections of the country. The living conditions at the camps were inadequate at best. Residents were forced to endure...