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The Influences On The Signing Of Executive Order 9066 By President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1697 words - 7 pages

Extended Essay:
Previous to the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941, tensions had been forming between the USA and Japan in the pacific. The US had cut of most supplies to Japan with the fear of Japanese expansion. The conflict that had been escalating between Japan and China since 1937 had the US treating Japan with great cautiousness. They had been monitoring Japanese Americans in anticipation of a surprise attack. However the attack on Pearl Harbour still shocked and outraged the American nation and affected the American psyche. After being assured that “a Japanese attack on Hawaii is regarded as the most unlikely thing in the world”(1), the sudden mass ...view middle of the document...

Previous to Pearl Harbour, as the War Department made their inaccurate assumptions about the strength of the Japanese Naval Forces, they concluded that “the primary threat to American military bases in Hawaii lay in potential sabotage by the local Japanese-American population”(2). The airplanes at Pearl Harbour had even been ordered by General Walter Short, local army commander, to mass together in order to protect themselves from this local sabotage, something that never happened. Instead, it made it easier for the Japanese task force to take out all the planes at once.
Following the attack, the entire outraged citizenry looked to the white house for leadership. Waves of anti-Japanese hatred and mistrust swept through streets of the US. People were ringing up demanding revenge against Japan and pledging their aid in the war effort. On December 8th President Roosevelt referred to the attack as a “date which will live in infamy” and asked congress for a declaration of war against Japan, which was passed. However, plans that had previously been approved by FDR were already being put into action before the bombing had barely ended. Roosevelt had long before considered war against Japan inevitable. Roosevelt blended both Republicans and Liberal Democrats into his administration to avoid potential criticism or discriminatory accusations. Territorial governor of Hawaii, John Poindexter, declared unlimited martial law in the territory after a meeting with General Short. The entire population was to live under direct military rule, including the local Japanese Americans. A curfew was installed by the military that soon began to round up “suspicious” Japanese citizens.
In the aftermath, President Roosevelt sent secretary of the navy, Republican Frank Knox, to Hawaii in order to meet with navy officials, inspect the damage and evaluate the implementation of martial law. However, as early as 1933, Knox had publicly advocated the internment of Japanese Americans from Hawaii “before the beginning of hostilities threatens”. This trip lasted a mere 36 hours. Knox submitted his findings to the president, but FDR knew to be cautious of his assessment and recommendations. Knox recommended “the Secretary of War take all the aliens out of Hawaii and send them off to another island”(3). He was claiming that vital location information had been passed on to Japan’s military leaders through Japanese fishing boats. Although Knox’s comments may have contributed to Roosevelt’s doubts over disloyalties, the President received another report from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover which discounted Knox’s assertions and was certainly a factor in preventing the President from making any impulsive and immediate decisions.

In the meantime, even though struck by confusion, the initial action being taken by the President was underway. On December 7th and 8th FDR signed proclamations which gave the FBI the authority to arrest any “alien” in the U.S whom they thought to be...

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