Japanese American Internment During World War Ii

1467 words - 6 pages

Japanese-American Internment was the relocation of many Japanese-American and Japanese descendents into camps known as “War Relocation Camps” during World War II (specifically after the attack on Pearl Harbor). In 1942, the United States government relocated and interned approximately 120,000 Japanese-American citizens and people of Japanese descent into relocation camps. This internment lasted for about four years, and was backed by the government as well as the president. The last relocation camp was closed in January 1946, five months after World War II officially ended.
The internment and cruel treatment of the Japanese in the U.S. stemmed from a fear of a full-pledged invasion from Japan and also from years of racial prejudice against the Japanese. Like the Chinese, the first Japanese immigrants were originally viewed as a cheap source of labor, but shortly after they became targets of anti-Asian campaigns, specifically called the “yellow peril.” This prejudice began as the Japanese slowly moved from farm laborers to farm owners and owners of small businesses. “As successful farmers, fruit growers, fishermen, and small businessmen, their ability to do well with little and to overcome great odds made them objects of envy by some members of the white community.” White Americans (specifically White Farmers) soon began to build a prejudice against the Japanese and supported the internment.. The Japanese were not the only minorities to be segregated. In the 1930s, America as a whole was a place with little tolerance towards people of different color (Native Americans were to live on reservations, African-Americans, Asians, and other minorities were barred from many jobs due to race).
Already segregated by years of racial prejudice, Japanese Americans were even more condemned by the attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan. Immediately after the attack, the U.S. declared war on Japan. In the days that followed, there were many presidential proclamations that declared strict restrictions on German, Italian, and Japanese residents in the U.S. In the months that followed, the restrictions for aliens from Japan continued to increase, while they were substantially relaxed for German and Italian aliens. This was most likely due to the false negotiations and the unexpected attack from Imperial Japan causing the government to become concerned with the loyalties of Japanese citizens. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government came to the conclusion that it was a very real possibility that Imperial Japan could attempt a full-scale invasion of the United States starting from the West Coast. General John L. DeWitt, commanding officer of the U.S. Army's Western Defense Command, pursued to remove all “enemy aliens” from the West Coast, due to being deemed the most susceptible area to be attacked. General Dewitt recommended the government’s evacuation of all Japanese from the coastal areas of California, Oregon, and Washington state. ...

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