Japanese Internment Essay

1274 words - 6 pages

Since its establishment in 1775, the term “freedom” has been the rallying cry of the people of the United States; however, “freedom” was not by definition equal to all persons of the United States. We have made much progress in the area of freedom but one could argue that the term “freedom” was only for the white male/female population of the United States. We made our first step with Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery, then with the Progressive Era and women’s rights, however, anyone who was not of American or “white” decent, have been persecuted in one way or another. In 1942 President Roosevelt, under the negative influence of a fear of the general population and much of his adversaries signed the executive order, which ordered the relocation of about 120,000 Japanese-American citizens to internment camps in order to “protect” our country from its “enemies.”
With the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Empire of Japan, a panic swept across the United States and many Americans, to include government officials, became paranoid that anyone of Japanese descent would in fact be loyal to their mother country instead of the United States of America. General DeWitt said specifically in a conference on 4 January 1942 to Mr. Rowe who worked for the Attorney General at the time, “The threat is a constant one, and it is getting more dangerous all the time. I have little confidence that the enemy aliens (referring to the immigrants from Japan, Germany and Italy or anyone of those descents) are law-abiding or loyal in any sense of the word. Some of them, yes; many, no. Particularly the Japanese. I have no confidence in their loyalty whatsoever.” In this conference, General DeWitt, requested that he be granted by the Attorney General to be able to search and seize any enemy alien without having to go through the proper channels of the law such as obtaining a search warrant to make an arrest, he wanted essentially blanket authority to do as he saw fit.
It was not even a month after this conference that General DeWitt had with Mr. Rowe that President Roosevelt approved and signed the executive order, ordering thousands of Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian Americans into internment camps across the United States. Of the roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were forced to leave their homes and businesses, two-thirds of the population had actually been born in the United States. Posters and signs were posted all over areas which had high Japanese descent population giving instructions on what to do and what would happen to them; because many did not know if they would be able to return to their homes or businesses they sold their homes and businesses at a fraction of the value, losing much money in the process.
Within days of the President signing the executive order, anyone of Japanese descent living on the West Coast were given just days to pack all of their belongings and head out for the internment camps....

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