On December 7th 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. US citizens feared another attack and war this fear seized the country. State reps pressured President Roosevelt to take action against those of Japanese descent. On February 19th, 1942, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under the terms of the Order, some 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the US were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. The US justified this by claiming that there was a very real fear of those of Japanese descent “spying” for the Japanese. This was irrational seeing more than two thirds of those interned were American citizens and half of them were children. None had ever shown disloyalty to the nation. In some cases family members were separated and put in different camps. During the entire war only ten people were convicted of spying for Japan and these were all White men.
The camps continued until the war ended in 1945. the fear of another attack stopped. The Japanese where freed and left to rebuild their lives as best they could. Some left and moved pack to Japan completely done with the United States. During the rebuilding process Two disadvantages the Japanese faced was they where poor many had lost their businesses, occupations and property and lingering prejudice. They suffered from being “generalized” and being accused of Being spy’s some Japanese report young children saying to Their parents “he’s probably a spy.” The Seattle Council of Churches an organization that helped with the return of the Japanese to the west coast. They helped by aiding the Japanese in its struggle to re-establish themselves back onto the west coast. They educated the city on Christian values of hospitality and acceptance, hoping it would cause people to accept the Japanese back. The council established hotels to function as temporary housing and it also created the United Church Ministry. The United Church Ministry provided many services to the returning Japanese. It set up a program to provide jobs, housing, and social services including counseling and medical care. The Council also set up a program in the community by sending out enlistment cards. People could sign up to sponsor and provide temporary or permanent housing to the Japanese. This program was overwhelmingly successful, many people were expressing their willingness to welcome the Japanese back. The Council’s ability to bring the city together was inspiring to many independent groups, who decided to join in with the Council rather than go a separate way.
How did the Japanese feel about this? Rob kashiwagi said. “as far as I’m concerned I was born here and according to the constitution that I studied in school, that I had the bill of rights to protect me and until the very last minute I got onto the evacuation train I said this can’t be how could they do this to American?” Putting myself in this shoes is difficult, what we did to our own people is horrible. Today we have been attacked by other nations on a few different occasions. We did not assume every person of this ethnicity was a threat or spy. They were not stripped of citizenship and pushed into camps. The United States acted irrationally when this decision was made. If was in put into this situation I would feel lost and betrayed by the very county who gave me all my rights. I would return to my home land in Japan or go to a different country. I would not stay in the country that stabbed me in the back. During this ending of the war with so much happening it would be hard to trust that the government would not do it again, even with all of the organizations helping. faith in the United States died for many Americans.
Japanese internment camps. History.com editor. 2009
US history editor. 2009