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History of Japanese Internment Camps - Research Paper Example

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574138 Japanese Internment Camps After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States declared war and entered into World War II. This was after several months of trying to stay out of the war by denying what sort of atrocities Hitler was committing in Europe…
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Download file to see previous pages They had to stay within one of the ten “relocation camps” just because their ethnic heritage was Japanese, because Japan had attacked the United States and because Americans were frightened. After such an intense effort to deny how Hitler was systematically obliterating the Jews, the United States did the exact same thing to Japanese Americans. Of course, they stopped short of the gas chambers, but otherwise, the Japanese internment camps were very close to Nazi concentration camps. Even before Pearl Harbor, Americans did not trust Asians, regardless of their ethnicity. In the 1882 the Chinese immigration exclusion bill became law, but most Americans did not differentiate between Asian ethnicities. Many harbored hate for anyone who looked Asian. This feeling was strongest in California perhaps because many Asians began coming to the United States around the time of the California Gold Rush in 1849, and they ended up on the West Coast, many in California. All Asians were exploited for cheap labor, but white Americans began to see Chinese immigrants as the main competition for jobs. The 1882 law stopped the immigration of people from China, but other Asians came to the United States, and they endured the blatant racism that existed. “The experiences of Chinese immigrants foreshadowed those of Japanese immigrants, who began arriving about the same time the Chinese exclusion bill was passed. Japanese immigrants were called Issei, from the combination of the Japanese words for ‘one’ and ‘generation;’ their children, the American-born second generation, are Nisei, and the third generation are Sansei. . . .The Issei mostly came from the Japanese countryside, and they generally arrived, either in Hawaii or the mainland West Coast, with very little money. Approximately half became farmers, while others went to the coastal urban centers and worked in small commercial establishments, usually for themselves or for other Issei” (Burton, Farrell, Lord, & Lord, 2001). This was the population breakdown of Japanese Americans at the time of their forced internment. Some were Issei but most were Nisei or Sansei. Many Japanese Americans were well-respected members of the community, involved in their communities and politically connected. But that did not make a difference when U.S. government officials decided to prevent any sort of internal conspiracy. “Despite many Japanese American elites’ sincere support for the American government, high-ranking federal government officials and military brass removed and interned all West Coast Japanese, basing their decision on several factors. Their considerations involved both strategic military, diplomatic, and political elements, a complex web reflected in the assigning of the removal task to the War Department, and internment to the Justice Department and the WRA. Their decision and implementation took place in stages, beginning with the impounding of assets, then individual removal and internment, voluntary relocation, and, finally, coerced, mass removal and internment” (Hayashi, 2004, p. 76). These “steps” to “voluntary imprisonment” mirrored the same steps that another country, Germany, took when placing another ethnic group, Jews, in their internment camps, which is ironic because that was one of the reasons the United States entered the war. Not specifically because of what was being done to the Jews, no. Previous to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Americans ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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