In 1942, President Roosevelt issued an executive order stating that all Americans of Japanese descent would be forced to be relocated inland, out of the Pacific military zone. The fear that caused this executive order was caused by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Roosevelt’s order affected 117,000 people of Japanese descent.
No action by the United States government is harder to justify than the internment (which literally is defined as the state of being confined prisoner) of Japanese Americans. As the government is fighting a war for the rights of human beings, it is denying human rights to its own people!
As we look back in time at the internment of Japanese Americans, we are shocked that something like this could have happened. But lets take a moment to look back at the history of our country. We were a nation founded on the removal of Native Americans from their land, we restricted immigration from certain countries based on racism, and then segregated our people based on the superiority of one race! This kind of prejudice is still evident today as a portion of the American population condemns Mexican immigrants, and support a wall being built to keep them out.
I can not imagine what it would be like to be a Japanese American during this time. This would show many people that citizenship could almost be flexible, and rights could be taken away at any time in the name of national security. As a Japanese American, to be rounded up and jailed for something out of your control would be comparable to rounding up German Americans and forcing them into internment camps because of the actions of the Nazi’s. They have no control over the actions of these countries, and no blame should be put on them.
Fear is a very weak foundation of policy yet it is something that is turned to often as justification to take power away from certain groups of people. This has been seen in many points in our history.
Mackenzie3/29/16. “From Citizen to Enemy: The Tragedy of Japanese Internment.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 26 Apr. 2012, http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/world-war-ii/essays/from-citizen-enemy-tragedy-japanese-internment.