Executive Order 9066 Essay

The Japanese Internment was facilitated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was put into action after the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. In the attack sixty four military personal and fifty seven civilians were killed. Several hundred ships and air crafts were damaged or destroyed and Americans feared another attack. On December 7th, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 9066. The President issued this order following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This order gave the military permission to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense.

After enforcing this order 120,000 Japanese people living on the West Coast, most of who were U. S. citizens, were excluded from certain areas and incarcerated. Many were forced to live in camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Most of the Japanese were incarcerated for up to four years. With a total of ten “concentration camps” there was inadequate medical care which led to some deaths. According to Roosevelt the Executive Order was a “military necessity” to attempt to protect against domestic espionage and sabotage.

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I believe Roosevelt issued this order out of fear of another attack and to try to protect the United States and its people. But, I also think it quickly turned into racial prejudice. I believe the actions of the President turned to racism because he had no proof that the Japanese Americans had engaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Also, in the Executive order it states to protect the safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense. Weren’t all the Japanese people who were held in these camps American citizens? I believe that the President and the American people could have handled this in a very different and humane way.

I could imagine that there would be higher security alertness and an activation of more troops to protect America, but to treat every Japanese American like terrorists and place them in camps was not the solution! I could agree with a response attack against Japan, but didn’t think the camps for the Japanese Americans was the correct action. As a result of inadequate nutrition and health care and their livelihoods destroyed many Japanese Americans that were held in the camps continue to suffer psychologically and also have resulted in heart disease and premature death.