the Japanese in “Internment” Camps, 1945
When The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, the United States went into an uproar. So much so that the president at the time, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made the Executive Order 9066- allowing the Secretary of State to declare certain areas as military zones, and moving the supposed “threats to National Security,” Japanese Americans, into Concentration Camps (Keene 698). Anyone of Japanese Descent, would therefore be taken out of their homes, with only one bag for their stuff, and be put into small, cramped tar-paper covered barracks. They fit as many as 25 people in each barrack, and they had no plumbing or cooking necessities.
The internment of these Japanese Americans made them feel betrayed by the place that they had come to call home. Even today, they remember the cold, dust, and isolation that they had from their fellow peers. The justification for the Internment Camps (mostly on the West Coast), was that they were a threat to National Security, and could be spies for the Japanese, even though it was thought that less than 3% of the Japanese population was not loyal. They had their homes, money, cars, and businesses just taken away. They had their freedom taken away. Over 40,000 Japanese were forced from their homes (Keene 698).
As America, we pride ourselves in being the “land of the free.” So what made it okay for us to round up some of our citizens based on race and place them in Concentration camps like the Germans did to the Jewish? Honestly, there is no good excuse. We used “National Security” as a reason, but that is so ridiculous. None of the American citizens of German or Italian descent were rounded up. What it comes down too is having a scapegoat for what the Japanese Army did to Pearl Harbor. It was a personal attack. I would feel so betrayed if I was rounded up based on my race for what the country I came from did.
The Japanese Americans feel like they do not have to be loyal to the United States anymore because we were not loyal to them in their time of need. Even today, they feel the stinging pain of that time period; the harshness and judgement and tarnished reputation that they will never forgive and never forget. Let’s use this as a lesson in the future. As our esteemed president Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”