Japanese On one side were the Axis

Japanese Internment
Camps were created as a fearful response by President Roosevelt to the bombing at
Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had three main reasons to bomb Pearl Harbor. First,
the Japanese had an increased need for natural resources because they wanted to
expand throughout Asia and into the Pacific. The United States also had an
interest in the same natural resources. So, Congress placed restrictions on
doing business with Japan. In addition to the restrictions, Japanese assets were
frozen. So, the Japanese could not access money in accounts held in the United
States during this time. In 1939, President Roosevelt moved the U.S. Pacific
Fleet from California to Pearl Harbor. This move was a direct threat to Japan’s
expansion plan. More than 2,500 Americans were killed; 18 ships and 300 planes
were destroyed at Pearl Harbor. However, the Japanese were not able to expand
into the Pacific or acquire more natural resources and U.S. restrictions were
not lifted as a result. In response to Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt
ordered that all Japanese Americans be placed into Internment Camps to avoid
attack from within. People shouldn’t allow fear to drive them to make
irrational decisions. The decision to place Japanese Americans into internment
camps is an example of an irrational decision made out of fear and an example
of racial discrimination made by the U.S. government towards some of its
country’s own citizens.

       Japanese Internment Camps were created during
World War II, which is a conflict that went on for 6 years and was fought between two groups of countries. On one side were the Axis
Powers, including Germany, Italy and Japan. On the other side were the Allies.
They included Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the
Soviet Union, China and the United States. World War II had no
compromise. The Germans just simply surrendered. Japanese Internment Camps
themselves were a conflict and compromise. The conflict is the Japanese Americans
being forced into internment camps and the compromise is that they tried to
live as normal lives as possible and were later freed. President Ronald Reagan
also gave them an official apology and offered over 100,000 surviving Japanese
Americans $20,000 in restitution to show the regret and remorse that the United
States government felt for their discriminatory acts and unfair treatment of
the Japanese Americans. Even though the apology and money could never make up
for what happened to them, it was at least an opportunity for the U.S.
government to admit they were wrong and attempt to make amends.

      President Roosevelt, the 32nd President
of the United States, started the Japanese Internment Camps by signing an
executive order on February 19, 1942 to place more than 127,000 Japanese Americans
living on the West Coast into internment camps to avoid war on American soil.
Among those detained, sixty two percent of them were legal United States
citizens. It is considered an internment camp when a person or specific group
of people are placed in prison or some other kind of detention, generally
during wartime. Japanese Internment Camps started in 1942 and they ended in
1946. In 1944, a Japanese American man brought a law suit against the United
States Government for violating his constitutional rights. In the case
Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court sided with the United States
government. Their decision was based on the executive order being a necessity
of war and not on the fact that innocent people were arrested without being
given their due process.

Most of the
Japanese Americans placed into Japanese Internment Camps were West Coast
residents. There were Japanese Internment Camps located in many states
including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa,
Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey,
New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah,
Washington, and Wyoming.  The following
were names of Japanese Internment Camps: Granda, Heart Mountain, Jerome,
Manzanar, Minidoka, Poston, Rohwer, Topaz, Gila River, and Tule Lake. President
Roosevelt allowed local government officials to designate any area as a
military area allowing them to incarcerate anyone of Japanese ancestry. Nearly
5,000 Japanese Americans voluntarily moved outside of the exclusion zone before
March of 1942. Most of the remaining Japanese Americans were removed from their
homes against their will (with less than 48 hour notice), detained, and placed
into Japanese Internment Camps with very few of their personal belongings. It
was later discovered that the United States Census Bureau assisted the
internment efforts by providing the government with personal information. This
confidential information helped locate and evacuate anyone of Japanese descent
from their homes and into the camps quickly and easily.

Americans were held in military style buildings with bare minimum living
conditions and very little privacy. Many of the Japanese Internment Camps were makeshift
because they were built quickly and they were not fit for housing the number of
people that were placed in them. Sometimes entire families were forced to live
in one room cells. The buildings were surrounded by barbed wire fences and
armed guards to prevent escape. Although Japanese Internment Camps were
sometimes located in remote areas where weather conditions weren’t always favorable,
the prisoners were often expected to grow their own food and be self-sufficient
regardless of their less than ideal conditions. Several people died in these
camps due to stress and lack of medical care.

            Surviving Japanese Americans were
released from Japanese Internment Camps following the Public Proclamation
issued by Major General Henry C. Pratt that stated that as of February 1945
that all Japanese internment camps were to be closed. The last Japanese Internment
Camp closed in 1946 once the Germans had surrendered and World War II had ended.
Japanese Americans were then free to go back to their old lives, but
unfortunately due to the amount of time that they had been imprisoned and the
circumstances under which they were taken and that they endured in the
internment camps, most of them didn’t have much of their old lives to go back to.
Communities where they lived were not the same. Many of the people living in
the places most affected were now paranoid and in fear of the Japanese
Americans. So, many Japanese Americans were forced to move to other areas of
the United States to get jobs and start over. Many believe that in addition to
the fear of attack and betrayal that drove the President to sign the executive
order to create Japanese Internment Camps, there was also an urgency to regain
the economic positions once held by Caucasian Americans from the Japanese
Americans. Many Japanese Americans struggled financially after being released.

The United States
government finally apologized to the Japanese Americans in 1988. Each surviving
Japanese American was offered $20,000 in return for our government’s actions
during World War II. After Japanese Americans left the internment camps, they
had trouble getting jobs and loans. Some of the Japanese Americans had died or many
had been injured during their time in the internment camps. This is an example
of how you should never let fear decide your choices. The Japanese Americans
were forced to go to internment camps and were later released. They were able
to go back to their daily lives and were offered $20,000, but their lives were
never the same. The Japanese Americans stuck through the harsh conditions of
the Internment Camps and they later stuck through the harsh conditions of not
having enough money and not being able to get a job. The Americans said sorry
and tried to make it up to them. They had realized their mistake and tried to
make it right. It still isn’t right that they discriminated against these
people out of fear. Japanese Americans should have never had to leave their
homes, jobs, and go through the unfair conditions of the Internment Camps.

All in all, the
Japanese Internment Camps were not okay. The U.S. government let their fear take
over and it caused them to make an impulsive decision that discriminated against
over 100,000 Japanese Americans and changed their lives forever. The conflict
and compromise was that many Japanese Americans were forced to leave their
homes, jobs, and lives behind to go to unsanitary and crowded internment camps
just because their families were originally from Japan. Many were U.S.
citizens, none of them were guilty of any crimes or conspiracy against the U.S.
government, and some even lost their lives. Survivors were later let go,
apologized to, and offered $20,000, but this does not erase the fact that they
were uprooted, held captive, and treated horribly. This was a terrible mistake
and large conflict that affected many innocent lives. Although it may seem to
be solved since they were evidently released, it doesn’t change the fact that
it should have never happened in the first place.

The discrimination
by the United States government was a very bad decision that turned many people
against Japanese Americans and negatively impacted their reputation for no explainable
reason. They let fear control their actions and they did not exercise fair
judgment. There was little living space and food available in the Japanese
Internment Camps. Those who were held captive suffered greatly and were permanently
affected by their experience in a negative way. It is very important to study
incidents like those that led up to the decision to relocate Japanese Americans
into Internment Camps, so that the same mistakes will not be made in the
future. No one should be treated unfairly or discriminated against based solely
on where they are from or the color of their skin.