A Defense of Internment

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“Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities.”

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Executive Order 9066
February 18th, 1942

On February 19, 1942 due to wartime measures, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. Executive Order 9066 allowed military commanders to exclude any or all people from designated military areas. This power was used to relocate approximately 110,000 Japanese American settlers on mainly the West Coast. With constant demeaning and terrorizing that occurred within America against the Japanese settlers, one incident put the American’s anger over the top, the Niihau Incident . In this incident, a Japanese Plane was shot down, and three local Japanese Americans saved its pilot. An act like this is what spurred even more anti-Japanese attitude within America, and ultimately gave America a reason to begin interning Japanese Americans. Americans should believe though, that the treatment of Japanese settlers in the United States during World War II was just and necessary. For many reasons, this holds true. First, people of Japanese descent living in America were in severe danger as seen by the many anti “Jap” acts that were going on. Second, the living conditions and overall treatment of the Japanese in the camp was fair and satisfactory. Third, the United States knew of Japanese secret code MAGIC, and they could not afford putting this knowledge in the wrong Japanese hands. Fourth, there was evidence to believe, provided by code MAGIC that there were Japanese spies living in America. Finally, America had to in some way respond to Pearl Harbor for the mental health of its own citizens and protect their home soil. It is easy for people in hindsight to say that the internment of the Japanese Americans was unjust, but in wartime, this internment was necessary for the health of the United States as a whole. The United States all in all made an effective calculated decision when they decided on interning Japanese Americans within their soil. There was a lot of racism towards the “Japs” and therefore, they needed protection from civilian attack. This move was especially popular within American farmers who resented Japanese Americans for stealing business from them; these farmers continuously threatened Japanese farmers. Even the Western Defense Commander came out and said, "a Jap's a Jap.… It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen or not.… Racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race." This labels every single person from Japanese background as an enemy. Even when the Japanese were finally allowed to leave the camps, some were reluctant. They were scared of the uncertainty outside and preferred the safe life they had within the camps. The fact that these people were scared to leave the internment camps and did not want to go onto their normal life, which they enjoyed, means that they much have really felt that their life was in grave danger. It was dangerous for Japanese Americans at this time. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans were unified against Japan, Germany, and the other Axis powers. This created extreme tension within the security of the country. Anti-Japanese sentiment even became prominent enough that in a national survey in 1944, thirteen percent of the American population was in favor of the extermination of all people of Japanese descent. It simply just was not safe for them in America. A stat such as that shows the extreme hatred and radicalism against the Japanese. That is why the internment protected the Japanese against lethal forces outside the camps. Americans saw Japanese as sub humans due to the suicidal tactics used by kamikaze pilots. Also, the internment protected Japanese communities against mob violence, which was prevalent on the...
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