FYI (This is a biased written paper written if one were to defend Japanese Internment) The Necessity of Japanese Internment Much controversy has been sparked due to the internment of the Japanese people. Many ask whether it was justified to internment them. It is a very delicate issue that has two sides, those who are against the internment of the Japanese-Americans and those who are for it. With World War II raging in the East, America was still, for the most part, very inactive in the war.
When America took a stand against Japan by not shipping them supplies, Japan became very upset. Japan, being a big island that is very overpopulated with little natural resources, depended on America to provide them with an assortment of supplies including scrap metal and oil, vital items that are needed in a time of war. Japan retaliated by declaring war on America and attacking Pearl Harbor. This surprise act led to many soldiers deaths and millions of dollars of damaged army equipment, including air craft carriers and planes. As a result to Japan declaring war, the Japanese-Americans were asked to and eventually forced to do their duty to the country and report to internment camps until the war conflict was over. Many opposed this act for a couple of reasons.
One reason was that people felt that it was a huge hypocrisy that the Japanese were being interned while the Italians and Germans, also our enemies, were still walking around free in America. Another reason why many were against the internment was because many of the Japanese had already been in America for some time now. The Issei, the first generation of Japanese people that immigrated from Japan, had immigrated many years ago. A whole another generation of Japanese children had already began growing up in America called the Nissei.
They were automatically U.S. citizens for they were born in America and for the most part were like other American children. Anti-Internment activists also said that the Japanese were being robbed of their rights as U.S. citizens. However, there are two sides to everything. There are a number of reasons why the internment of the Japanese people had to take place. Japan was a major threat to the United States which made anyone of Japanese descendent a potential traitor and threat to America's security. No one was quite sure what they were capable of.
The Japanese people were also foreigners and very different from the people that lived in America. They had slanted eyes, they were somewhat smaller, they ate very different food, and they had an unusual obsession of being very clean. It was shown that they were very sneaky too, which was demonstrated by the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was justifiable to intern the Japanese-Americans because one, they attacked our mainland, two, this triggered a chain reaction of discrimination and distrust towards them, and three, if they were truly Americans, they would show their patriotism by going to the camps and understanding the concern the government had with them.
The Japanese-Americans had to be interned because the Japanese people were the first country to formally declare war on the United States and attack our mainland. Some question the United States government on why they did not intern the Italians and Germans, for they too were at war with the United States. The answer to that is simple. Germany and Italy never declared war on the United States, we simply intervened with their plans. Japan on the other hand attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii with no warning what-so-ever. President Roosevelt continually met with representatives from Japan to try and make a peace arrangement, it did not work out though.
Japan did not stop there. They also made an effort to try and take over Alaska. It was a plan to start in the tip of America, Alaska, and then slowly fight south of Alaska to conquer the rest of America. It did not work though for the United States stationed a fair amount of soldiers in Alaska and built many other air bases there.
One wittiness said", It was June 3, 1943, a huge carrier-based Japanese force attacked Dutch Harbour, and all hell broke loose (Annette Island, Alaska in World War II)". It was very clear that the Japanese were serious about going to war with the United States and they were willing beat us no matter how they had to do it. The Japanese also had to be interned for their own safety. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and attacks in Alaska, many Americans had strong feelings against Japanese people. Much propaganda was made to encourage the removal of Japanese-Americans from cities and to be put in internment camps. One man in California said, "It was a bitter-sweet day when the Japanese went to the interment camps for they contributed much to our society, but at the same time much hate was directed towards them (Japanese Internment 1942 -- - Military Justification?
)". Although it seems like a cruel thing to do, the truth is the government was trying to protect them and at the same time keep some kind of composure among the public of the United States. Various hate crimes were also occurring to Japanese people such as vandalism to their homes and stores. Due to the war, the government did not have much money to put them in the greatest conditions. However, they were still living much more comfortably than the soldiers fighting in war and the Jews in ghettos and concentration camps.
The Japanese-Americans also a variety of activities that they could participate in, such as sports and even schooling for children. The Japanese-Americans could not be trusted too. Due to a number of factors, the war being the main one, America was marked by xenophobic tendencies. When Japan declared war on the United States, many felt it was an acceptable reason to have xenophobic tendencies and hate towards the Japanese, even those who lived in America. You can not blame them, these immigrants killed thousands of our men that were protecting our country in Pearl Harbor and off the coast of Alaska. This was a clear sign that they could not be trusted.
Even if they were born in America, they could still be involved in plotting against the United States. Many of the rumors that were spread around accused the Japanese of immigrating to the America with intentions to take over the world, to send spies and to sabotage different things. Many of these accusations were taken seriously, too, because the majority of the Japanese people seemed to be very intelligent and very capable of being involved in an anti-American conspiracy that has to do with Japan. They also were bilingual and could communicate in Japanese making it hard for America to try and uncover their plans. Although there was no conclusive evidence of this, the government had to take the proper precautions to protect U.S. citizens and its interest in the war so they could win. Lastly, the Japanese had to go the internment camps as their civil duty.
Although they were very skilled people and many were educated well, they still could not function properly in a America's society during the war. In order for America's general public to stay under control and protect itself from any possible conspiracies, the government felt they had to shield them from society. Doing this helped Americans gain much respect for the Japanese-Americans though... Many people from the Nissei generation decided to enroll in the army and fight against the Axis powers. One of these units was the 442nd regiment, an all Japanese unit.
They were known as one of the toughest units and came out of the war as one of the most decorated soldiers. By respecting the United States government's wishes, the Japanese-Americans were able to receive approval from the general public once again. Although it may have been tough, the internment of the Japanese was very justifiable. If it was any other country, the same precautions would had to have taken place.
By helping fight in the war and being rather obedient in the internment camps, the Japanese-Americans truly showed that they could be trusted, even though their brothers and sisters across the Pacific had attacked America.
1. Japanese Internment 1942 -- - Military Justification? 4 Jan.
2001 web 2.
War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona, 1942-1946 4 Jan.
2001 web 3.
Grolier's Encyclopedia CD- ROM November 1999 Japanese Internment 4 Jan.
Annette Island, Alaska in World War II 4 Jan. 2001 web Annette.