Japanese American Internment Camps Essay

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Japanese American Internment Camps


Like all issues involving race or war, the question of whether or not it was legal and ethical to make Japanese Americans move to relocation camps in early WWII is a difficult and controversial problem. The internment of around 50,000 Japanese citizens and approximately 70,000 Japanese-American people born in the U.S. living in the American West Coast has become known as a tragedy and mistake. The government even set up numerous projects to apologize to the American citizens who were wronged (Bosworth). Still, at the time that the decision to relocate was made, the actions were constitutionally legal and seen by many as necessary. The actions were not based on racist feelings. It was, however
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Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt was chosen for the job of defending and protecting the West Coast. He became one of the biggest supporters of evacuating the Japanese. The FBI began investigating and arresting people along the coast who were suspected of spying for enemy countries. Not only Japanese Americans were suspected. Italians and Germans were also investigated and imprisoned (Alonso). This is one fact that shows that racism was not the reason the Japanese were evacuated. Japan was the country that attacked Pearl Harbor, not Italy or Germany. DeWitt was hearing false reports of acts of disloyalty to the U.S. and sabotage on the part of Japanese Americans including unusual radio activity caused by contacting Japanese vessels, farmers burning their fields in the shapes of markers to aid Japanese pilots, and fisherman monitoring and relaying to Japan the activity of the U.S. navy (Daniels, 29). Executive Order 9066, signed by President Roosevelt, gave the military permission to label areas "military areas"and to keep out people who were seen as threats (Daniels, Appendix). DeWitt named the west coast a military area in Proclamation 1 in March 1942. This gave him the right to remove all those who threatened the safety of the U.S. from the area. Because even 100 Japanese-Americans who were still loyal to Japan could compromise the safety of the U.S., DeWitt decided that all people of Japanese ancestry had to be…