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Japanese Internment Essay

1918 words - 8 pages

Japanese Internment

In 1942, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were "relocated" to areas far from their
homes, out of the fear the United States Government held inside their hearts. Japan had
just bombed Pearl Harbor. Many of the U.S. seaport areas on the West coast were
inhabited by Japanese-Americans. General DeWitt provided a "security plan" for both
United States citizens (Caucasian) and the Japanese-Americans...or so it was stated.
However, when seeking the fine details of this incident, will we ever know the absolute
truth? The Official Government documents drastically contrast the first-hand accounts of
what it was like in those "Pioneer Communities." Each source changes the story behind
the Japanese-American Internment slightly. Can truth truly exist once it becomes a part
of the past? By looking at both governmental and personal accounts of the Internment,
only small similarities carry throughout.
In the "Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry," John L. DeWitt,
lieutenant general of the Western Defense Command, posted on April 30th, 1942,
instructed all Japanese descendants, whether born inside or outside of the United States
that they were not to change residences after 12:00 PM on this very day, and that all
would be evacuated from their homes no later than May 7th, 1942 - only one week later.
There were no reasons behind this "evacuation," and there were no explanations as to
what was going to happen after such an evacuation. Thorough plans for preparation were
provided, such as the offering of assistance from the Civil Control Station to help sell or
dispose of all personal or business property, and to provide temporary residence for all
Japanese in family groups. The instructions on this evacuation were very precise, and did
not allow for any compromise:
...2. Evacuees must carry with them on departure for the Assembly Center, the following
(a) Bedding and linens (no mattress) for each member of the family;
(b) Toilet articles for each member of the family;
(c) Extra clothing for each member of the family;
(d) Sufficient knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls, and cups for each member of
the family...
As is obvious, it seemed the government had a very specific plan in mind for these
thousands of Japanese-Americans. But no reasoning was offered to the victims of this
plan. Each citizen and "alien" (Non-American born Japanese were not allowed to
become citizens - evidence of previous racism against those of Asian background) were
expected to fully accept and obey what the government had expected of them. Most of
them did. It was a trust of the government - it was the center of everything, and the
President and his men held a great deal of respect - and the government officials must
have had sufficient reason for doing such a thing to it's people. We know now that this
"relocation and evacuation" was...

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