Japanese Internment Camps
United States, Africa and World
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the internment of Japanese Americans on the West coast of the United States. On going tension between the United States and Japan rose in the 1930’s due to Japan’s increasing power and because of this tension the bombing at Pearl Harbor occurred. This event then led the United States to join World War II. However it was the Executive Order of 9066 that officially led to the internment of Japanese Americans. Japanese Americans, some legal and illegal residents, were moved into internment camps between 1942-1946. The internment of Japanese Americans affected not only these citizens but the United States as well.
The tension that had been increasing between the United States and Japan during the 1930’s, caused Americans to be suspicious of Japanese Americans. Americans assumed that if there were ever a war, Japanese Americans would side with the enemy. Though an attack from Japan was a thought, many never believed that it would actually occur because Hawaii was the strongest American base in the Pacific. A report by Major General Fredrick L Martin, an Army aviator, and Rear Admiral Patrick N.L. Bellinger, a naval airman, stated that if an attack did happen it would be the most dangerous form of attack against the fleet at Oahu. (Nextext 12) On December 7, 1941, 181 Japanese fighters, dive-bombers, and torpedo planes headed to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and attacked the Pacific Fleet. (Nextext 10-11). On this day, all of the Pacific Fleet battle ships, except Colorado, were at Pearl Harbor and on the airfields about 400 Army, Navy, and Marine Corps planes were parked as protection against sabotage. (Nextext 11-12) The attack by Japan sunk or damaged eight battleships and ten lesser ships. Also, according to official statistics, 2,390 American soldiers and civilians were killed and 1,178 more were wounded. (Robinson 59) Later in the afternoon on December 7, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with his military advisors, which included, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Navy Secretary Frank Knox, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and two military service chiefs, to read them a draft message to Congress asking them for a declaration of war against Japan. (Nextext 18) The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his official address to Congress on the attacks by Japan and less than an hour later Congress, with one objecting vote approved the declaration of war against Japan. (Nextext 18) As a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, The United States joined World War II, which had begun almost three years prior, in Europe, in September of 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. (Robinson 40) (Robinson 32) The bombing at Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war against Japan ultimately led to the mass interment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans. President Franklin D Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, ten weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack. The order gave the Secretary of War and the military commanders power to exclude all persons, citizens and aliens to protect against sabotage and espionage. (Nextext 37) “Shortly thereafter, all American citizens of Japanese descent were prohibited from living, working or traveling on the West Coast of the United States.” (Nextext 37) This act, which is often called the internment of Japanese Americans, is better known as their confinement. Though what happened to Japanese Americans is not comparable in regards to the brutality evident in other crucial historical events such as, prisoners in the Nazi death camps or the degradation of African Americans, it has been referred to as the worst civil rights violation by the federal government in the twentieth century. (Robinson 1) Soon after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 military officials working with a new federal agency known as the, War...