History 108 Response on a discussion post

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The Internment Camps

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In the early 1940’s, the United States was riddled with emotion as they had just joined the great and bloody World War II. Many Americans blamed this on the Japanese because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, therefore, causing more racism and suspicion of the Japanese Americans living in the United States. On February 19, 1492, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorized the internment of the Japanese within the United States. Twelve days later, this was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast.

Since the bombing of Pearl Harbor society rushed to enlist. The number of the all-Japanese U.S. Army unit fighting during the WWII An estimated 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the military during and immediately after World War II, about 18,000 in the 442nd and 6,000 as part of the MIS (Niiya). But not all Japanese Americans were eager to serve a government that had forced so many of them and their families into internment camps. Some in the camps refused to cooperate with the draft until their rights were restored. In the article “In and Out of the Tule Lake Segregation Center: Japanese Internment in the West” author Rosalie H. Wax explains “long and complicated questionnaires included some thirty questions. The crucial questions were numbers 27 and 28” (Wax 15). The loyalty questionnaire they were forced to sign, which asked them to renounce allegiance to the Japanese emperor, a provision many found insulting.

Therefore, some of these men fought while their families were interned Japanese Americans were forced to deal with the stress of enforced dislocation and the abandonment of their homes, possessions, and businesses. Without information about where they were being taken, how they would be treated by the government, or how long they would be gone, uncertainty about their future loomed large. In the article “In and Out of the Tule Lake Segregation Center: Japanese Internment in the West” author Rosalie H. Wax explains “One young man, then age fifteen, remembered “many a night when we discussed the possibility of relocating. But they would say, ‘Where? With such a large family?’ We had absolutely no resources.” When these young people had suggested that they relocate alone” (Wax 16). Within the camps, Japanese Americans endured brutalized conditions including poor housing and food, a lack of privacy, inadequate medical care, and substandard education. Feelings of helplessness emerged under the racially segregated colonial conditions where white administrators wielded power and set policy, and were Japanese Americans were treated more like prison inmates than individuals.

Works Cited

Niiya, Brian. “Japanese Americans in military during World War II.” Densho Encyclopedia. 13 Jun 2018, 14:41 PDT. 29 Oct 2018, 23:06

Wax, Rosalie H. “In and Out of the Tule Lake Segregation Center: Japanese Internment in the West”, 1942-1945


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