Purpose: Prevent possible sabotage • Result of:existing prejudice towards Japanese Americans
Anti-Japanese began with Japanese immigration in the 1890s • Americans called this the “Yellow Flood” • Over 100,000 Japanese immigrated
White Americans saw the Japanese as economic competition during the Depression • Created a strong and enduring resentment of Japanese immigrants and their descendents.
“Of all the races ineligible to [sic] citizenship, the Japanese are the least assimilable and the most dangerous to the country. … They come … for the purpose of colonizing and establishing here the proud Yamato race. They never cease to be Japanese.”-Valentine S. McClatchy, A wealthy California Newspaper owner testifying to Congress.
Resentment of Japanese grew into an unfounded suspicion of treachery based more on racism than actual evidence
Government placed restrictions on Japanese Americans and their movements • Executive Order 9066 allowed the military to intern anyone they felt necessary • Lieutenant General John L. De Witt given power to relocate those he saw fit
“For the most part the local Japanese are loyal to the United States … We do not believe that they would be at the least any more disloyal than any other racial group in the United States with whom we went to war.”-Curtis MunsonState Department
“A Jap is a Jap. They are a dangerous element … There is no way to determine their loyalty … It makes no difference whether he is an American; theoretically he is still a Japanese, and you can’t change him … by giving him a piece of paper.”- General De Witt,speaking to a congressional committee.
Vast majority of Japanese Americans were loyal to the US • Tried to show loyalty despite discrimination • "[I pledge to] assume my duties and obligations as a citizen, cheerfully and without any reservations whatsoever, in the hope that I may become a better American in a greater America.” - Japanese American Citizens League Pledge
No Japanese American was ever convicted of treason during World War II • “[Though Japanese internment] was justified to us on the grounds that the Japanese were potentially disloyal, the record does not disclose a single case of Japanese disloyalty.”-Henry Steele CommagerWriter for Harper’s Magazine
Military singled out the Japanese Americans for relocation • Restrictions were not equally applied • Restrictions fell harder on Japanese descent rather than Italians or Germans
70 internment camps were spread out over the country Gila River, AZ Heart Mountain, WY
George Takei (Star Trek’s Mr.Sulu) was placed in a camp in Rohwer, Arkansas • Brothers & sister were given a tag to wear which identified his family • Transported on buses and trains – most possessions either sold or left behind
Incarceration and seizure of property without justification violated due process of law • Deprivation of equal protection under the law violated the Constitution
Section One, Article Fourteen of the Constitution of the United States: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States … are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge [their] privileges and immunities … [nor] deprive life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to an person … the equal protection of the laws.”
American Evacuation Claims Act of 1948 • Government paid $2,500 to each Japanese American individual who was put into an internment camp “Congress recognizes that, as described in the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II.”
Civil Liberties Act of 1988 • Acknowledge the injustice • To apologize on behalf of the people of the United States • Provide a public education fund to inform the public about the internment • Make restitution to those Japanese who were interned