Japanese Internment

Topics: Japanese American internment, Japanese American, World War II Pages: 8 (2962 words) Published: November 24, 2008
Bryan G. Hancock

U.S. History 1302

Wednesday 1800-2100

15 October 2008

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the United States was filled with panic. Along the Pacific coast of the U.S., where residents feared more Japanese attacks on their cities, homes, and businesses, this feeling was especially great. During the time preceding World War II, there were approximately 112,000 persons of Japanese descent living in California, Arizona, and coastal Oregon and Washington. These immigrants traveled to America hoping to be free, acquire jobs, and for some a chance to start a new life. Some immigrants worked in mines, others helped to develop the United States Railroad, many were fishermen, farmers, and some agricultural laborers. Despite all they had contributed to society, they were looked upon with disdain and discriminated against. According to a document on Gale Group’s History Resource Center, “Although their internment was a direct result of animosities raised by the attack on Pearl Harbor, the wartime treatment of Japanese Americans is also symptomatic of the anti-Asian sentiment present in the western United States since the arrival of Chinese as laborers on the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s. When overcrowding in Japan also sent waves of immigrants eastward in search of opportunity, West Coast states and cities passed laws discriminating against foreign-born Japanese and established segregated schools. In 1924 the U.S. government passed the Alien Restriction Act, which prevented recent Asian--but not European--immigrants from owning property and obtaining citizenship.” All Japanese were looked upon as being capable of sabotage. However, they contributed to economic expansion of the United States. Japanese only owned four percent of the farmland in California, but were able to produce more than one-tenth of the total value of agricultural resources. Whites resented the Japanese immigrants, but reaped economic profit from the Japanese-Americans' discipline and hard work. Due to this, they upheld their disconnection with the rest of the Americans. Many felt they had superiority, creating tension and disconnection. Despite keeping to themselves for the most part, they were able to prosper, and as indicated above, overcome the adversity and prove themselves to be an asset to this country and worthy of the rights granted to anyone that came to this land to start life anew. Even though we were also at war with Germany and Italy, and though Executive Order 9066 also applied to those of German and Italian ancestry, only those of Japanese ancestry were forced to evacuate.

Due to pressure from state leaders on the West Coast, President Roosevelt, on 19 February 1942, signed Executive Order 9066. This resulted in the imprisonment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. The order itself does not specifically list anyone of Japanese descent, rather it gives almost unlimited power to the Secretary of War or “the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate”. According the transcript of the order itself, “whenever he [Secretary of War] or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefore, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order”. Basically, there are no...

Bibliography: www.ourdocuments.gov
Executive Order 9066, found on www.ourdocuments.gov
http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/89manzanar/89manzanar.htm The War Relocation Centers of World War II: When Fear was Stronger than Justice
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/japanese_internment/background.htm
Document number BT2113102619, source citation for article "America At War: The Internment of Japanese Americans (1940s)." American Decades CD-ROM. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Document number BT2419100638, source citation for article "Japanese American Internment Camps." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. St. James Press, 2000. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
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