The Struggle of the Japanese Americans During World War II

During World War II (WWII), the government had many questions to answer about what to do with Japanese Americans in the United States. There was no evidence, but many believed that the Japanese Americans were still loyal to their main land country Japan. With the surprise events at Pearl Harbor (where 2,335 American soldiers died, 1,143 were wounded, and eighteen ships destroyed) Congress decided to put Japanese Americans in camps.  


With many Americans thinking that Japanese Americans would be spies or would try to do acts of violence, they imprisoned 127,000 Japanese Americans into 10 camps. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) did this with the Executive Order of 9066. Half of these Japanese Americans where kids, and they were in the camps for up to four years. Over two-thirds were born in the United States (some even faught for America in World War I) and were still forced to sell their property and move to camps (Ross).


These 10 camps did not have very good living conditions. All the camps were overcrowded and were “tarpaper-covered barracks of simple frame construction without plumbing or cooking facilities of any kind” (Ross). Coal and heat was not in an abundance, so they covered up in as many blankets as they were allowed. Food rations were only 48 cents per person. They were offered to leave the camps if they would join the United States military, only about 1,200 people chose this way out. Many dies in the camps from bad medical care, emotional stress, or by military officers if they did not follow orders. Kids were required to attend school and families ate together at large dining halls.  


The fall of these camps came mostly in 1944, about three years after the Executive Order of 9066. In FDR’s fourth term he rescinded the act and all the camps were close by the end of 1945. The United States found 10 spies for the Japanese in America during WW II, and all 10 of them were not of Japanese descent (Ross).


This had to be tough on families, to have to sell everything, move into a terrible camp even though you did not do a single thing wrong to get there. These camps probably gave the Japanese the wrong drift about America. They probably think that us Americans are terrible people but we were just take the precautions of war (Ross).


Ross, Shmuel, and Ricco Siasoco . “Japanese Relocation Centers.” Infoplease, Infoplease, 2000. Web.  

6 thoughts on “The Struggle of the Japanese Americans During World War II

  1. I think that it is sad that what happened to the Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I agree that at the time the official thought that they were doing what they that they could do to save America from getting attacked, but you have to think of what that treatment did to the people who were forced into Interment camps. Like you said they they were force to live in unimaginable conditions for years and that their were also Japanese-American war veterans whom fought for the U.S. in WWI and also children who were forced to live like that. Being that my great-grandmother came over from Japan to the U.S. with my American great-grandfather who was over seas, before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the fact that she was being forced into those camps when all she wanted and anyone wanted was freedom is heartbreaking. I couldn’t imagine what was going through so many Japanese people who had done nothing wrong. At least for myself when I learned about WWII it was mainly focused on Hitler and what he did to the Jewish people (putting them in concentration camps) it is like Prof. French said in her video about the differences and similarities about Hitler and FDR. Granted that FDR didn’t go into the same extent of killing and working people to death they did both segregated people (of different race and one specific race) into a camp and that Hitler was a harsh ruler and dictator in his ways. I feel that they both did it for the same basic reason because they thought that they were protecting their country/people.

  2. It is sad to picture the moral compass here. It was completely lost. Although the American people were afraid, they turned against their own. America is known for her cultural ethnicity, and at the drop of a hat they turned on people of a different race. I understand fear, but that is no excuse.

    1. I agree, when times got tough the US lost sight of what was moral and did what fear pushed them to do. They made internment camps which were comparable to concentration camps. The US turned to locking up an entire ethnicity, which although was proved constitutional in a time of war, was very morally wrong.

    2. To think that in the end the 10 spies that were found weren’t even of Japanese descent is saddening. Japanese-Americans and immigrants faced severe injustice during this time. What was done to these people is unforgivable.

  3. This was a great blog very informative! A lot of new information I did not. What they did to the American Japanese is something they’ll never for get and I hope nothing like this will ever happen again.

  4. I agree that it must have been tough on families to live in the awful conditions. I support the fact that the children attended school and the fact that there at least was a way out, no matter how bad it was, compared to the internment camps the Nazi’s put up.

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