japs

The distrust between the Americans and the Japanese following Pearl Harbor led to these terrible living conditions and the mistreatment of so many undeserving citizens. U.S president Franklin D. Roosevelt issued executive order 9066 ordering all Japanese Americans to evacuate the West Coast because it was the closest bordering state to Japan. People feared that many were spies and that their loyalty remained to Japan. There were ten camps in total scattered all across the west from California to Arkansas. The camps held nearly 120,000 people. During this time they were stripped of all rights and treated as if prisoners of war. Nearly two-thirds of the prisoners were born in America and the remaining were aliens who were denied citizenship. This did not come without opposition though, as there were two very famous court hearings involving the camps. Hirabayashi v. the United States and Korematsu v. the United States were both well-known court cases during the early 1940s. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the legality of the relocation given the social status of Japanese Americans in society after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Being in these camps was both demoralizing and insulting to Japanese Americans. Their families were torn apart, separating the women and children from the men. They were given just six days to sell their homes and belongings for small sums of money because their future was so uncertain. Those that choose not to leave were still forced out and into the camps. Due to the isolated location of the camps, they had to endure harsh weather conditions. The camps were surrounded with barbed wires and the prisoners were watched from above in the guard towers. Once they arrived, they were given one bedroom apartments that included an army cot, blankets, and a small heating stove. Their freedom was simply taken away from them. But this did not stop them from creating a community within the camp. They created schools, churches, newspapers, and farms. Fortunately, the nightmare concluded after the 1946 banishment of Japanese American camps and it is estimated that around 70,000 people will receive compensation for the violations of liberties.

The treatment of the Japanese Americans was despicable. The discriminating acts that took place are unfair and reflect poorly on the United States during this time period. Countless lives were lost and so many more destroyed for no factual reason other than where their cultural roots stem from. What I believe to be truly remarkable is that after being forced into these circumstances and risking their own persecution nearly 33,000 Japanese Americans came forward to serve during WWII, many of which went on to become highly decorated soldiers. This allegiance to protecting America shows how wrong the U.S. was to implement the order 9066. In my opinion, the settlements the survivors received are minute compared to the misery and suffering the United States subjected them to.