December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese pilots, destroying five Navy battleships and leaving destruction behind. Over 2,400 Americans died and 1,170 wounded. This was a huge victory for the Japanese for now until the United States dropped the Hydrogen Bomb causing the Japanese to surround the war. This war started conflicts between Japanese and the Americans on our own U.S. soil. The government could have rounded this situation in a better form than essentially jailing Japanese for something beyond their control. A citizen born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements (www.uscis.gov). If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth. For allowing the government, taking away your citizenship is extremely wrong.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the secretary of war to designate military zones within the U.S. from which “any or all persons may be excluded.” The order was not targeted at any specific group, but it became the basis for the mass relocation and internment of some 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans, including both citizens and non-citizens of the United States (www.theatlantic.com). President Roosevelt putting General John L. DeWitt the head of Western Defense Command to take charge of this Executive Order. The objectives of the order were to prevent espionage and to protect persons of Japanese descent from harm at the hands of Americans who had strong anti-Japanese attitudes (www.archives.gov). The American people were scared that Japanese Americans would betray them and have connections to the enemy. Also, the American people heard stories about the Japanese army treating the captured American soldiers like sick animals. Starving the troops, making them walk for hundreds of miles in the intense heat without water or food, and also beating them to near death. This horror to the Americans “deep-seated hatred for the Japanese,” the president was afraid that the Americans would do the same to the American Japanese; so this was a safe call for them (Images of the Enemy pg. 698).
Mid-March 1942 Roosevelt came up with the War Relocation Authority, to force remove 38,000 Japanese immigrants and about 72,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps. (Internment Camps pg.698). There were about ten internment camps located in the United States. These camps where heavenly guard. Each prisoner was numbered on their coats. The Japanese waited at abandoned stables or stockyards; for their transportation to the camps. Many of the prisoners complied quietly with the order, while some protested against the wholesale violation of their civil right. All the camps were built by the army and resembled military housing. The differences of these camps, it was surrounded by barbed-wire fences with watchtowers armed guards. Each room measured 20 by 100 to 120 feet, divided into four to six rooms. It housed one family or more. Most of these camps had a communal mess hall, bath and shower, and a recreation hall. These camps were not well built, it contained cracks in the floor and walls, planks nailed to studs which were covered by tar paper with no interior wall (www.mtholyoke.edu). To make sure that Japanese and Japanese Americans were being treated well, the Office of War Information hired a photographer; Dorothea Lange to document the behavior of the Internment Camps (Internment Camp pg. 699).
The United States government treated Japanese Americans better to a certain standard for their protection than the Japanese is treating the American soldiers who were captured during the war. There were more than 140,000 white prisoners in the Japanese prisoner of war camps. Of these, one in three died from starvation, work, and punishments or from diseases for which there were no medicines to treat. Camps were encircled with barbed wire or high wooden fencing and those who attempted escape would be executed in front of other prisoners. In some camps, the Japanese also executed ten other prisoners as well. Escape attempts from Japanese camps were rare (historyonthenet.com). We see and hear gruesome details from the movies showing the horrendous conditions the American prisoners where kept. Men that were mistreated and abused by the Japanese, making them work in fields. When hearing these stories put hatred against the Japanese. The Japanese army was forced to torcher our men by a higher rank leader or officer.
We all mistreated the Japanese people for putting them into internment camps, they didn’t have the choice to be free, and they were forced to be put away for their own safety. If I was in the hands of this situation I’d be extremely paralyzed that my own freedom has been taken away just cause of a safety concern of my life being at risk. Also, not just my life being at risk but, everyone else that is around me could be in targeted. I know that I would fight for my civil rights because I know what our law represents and why we have those laws to protect who we are. To me, the government wasn’t really changing the law just for the safety of those people but using it’s as an excuse for racism. The Japanese people did not have the power to fight back for their rights because of how many Americans were against them made them feel weak. Is it ok to treat citizens differently because of their heritage? The government has so much power to abuse our civil rights, especially to those who haven’t anything to deserve this kind of treatment
Keene, Jennifer D., et al. “Chapter 23: World War II.” Visions of America: A History of the United States, Pearson, 2015.
http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/japanese-american-relocationHistory of the United States, Pearson, 2015.