Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Japanese American Incarceration

During World War II, the American military became concerned that Japenese Americans were secretly working for their enemy: Japan. "In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive order 9066, which allowed military authorities to enact curfews, forbid people from certain areas, and to move them to new areas." This is called internment. They were required to live in very basic camps which did not have cooking facilities or running water. Governments during war must find a balance between national security and the rights of citizens, but not every case is equally balanced, especially in this case. The military had the right to remove Japanese-American citizens from their homes and place them wherever the felt they best fit just because of their Japanese culture. In this situation, the government did not find that balance, because they basically just ripped people out of their homes because they weren't certain if they were dangerous to the United States or not. Their citizenship was taken away in the seconds it took to invade and evacuate these towns, which is exactly how Fred Korematsu, a U.S. citizen born in America of Japanese parents, felt as a victim of this executive order. He said, "Congress, the President, and the military authorities did not have the power to issue the relocation orders. Also that because the order only applied to people of Japanese descent, the government was discriminating against him on the basis of race."

The United States was fighting the war against three main countries: Japan, Germany, and Italy. Although Executive Order 9066 was written did not specify a race, it was used for the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. The government claimed that incarceration was for military "protect" Japanese Americans from the treatment they might face as a result of Pearl Harbor. It is known that the government reiterated the fact racial prejudice did not play a role in their treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII, but that is not true. Very few Germans and Italians if any were taken out of their homes and forced to move compared to the Japanese. These Japanese Americans were mass incarcerated because of their ethnical background while Germans and Italians, also at war with the U.S., were treated as any other U.S. citizen should. Racial Prejudice was one of the largest contributing factors to Executive Order 9066 and how the government treated these Japanese Americans during the war. 

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