Was the US Government Justified in evacuating Japanese Americans in WWII?
question: Was the United States Government justified in placing the Japanese American people into relocation facilities during the Second World War?
“These shameful acts against men, women and children targeted because of their religious beliefs, ethnicity or national origin violate basic principles of human rights and justice. Misguided violence at the hands of a few dishonors the nation’s legitimate anger and shock over the immense loss of life and destruction from the September 11 attacks in the United States. Since Sept. 11, monitoring groups around the country have received several hundred complaints alleging crimes apparently motivated by bias and hate.” (Human Rights Watch, news release, 24 Sept. 2001)
Racism can be defined as a person being bias against another race. Depending on the current economic situation anyone could be considered a racist. During the First and Second World Wars, the American people were more than happy to show hatred towards the people of Germany. During the Second World War though, the American People were hit harder by an enemy that was closer to home. In the Western states, the Japanese were a very predominate race. They worked alongside of the American People. They ate with them, strolled down the street with them, American People even shopped at the places of business of the Japanese.
This was greatly affected after the events of that infamous morning of Sunday, December seventh, nineteen forty one. It was a day that every American person, no matter their race, ethnicity, and even whether they had a family member or friend in the military or not, mourned the loss of 2,335 American Service Members, 68 Civilians, and 1,178 wounded service members (1997 The History Place). This created a hate towards the peoples of the Empire of Japan. This lead to the posters and propaganda with Tokyo Kid, and the Japanese People being portrayed as Monsters.
If we were to fast forward to that early Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, you can probably remember what you were doing. Personally I was Seven years old and I walked into the Library that morning and saw it on the television. I was too young to understand what was happening so when I asked the librarian what it was, she said “Oh it is nothing important” and shut it off. It did not register to me at the time that is was to be the deadliest attack on American Soil. 2,819 People died from that attack ( “September 11 by Numbers.” New York Magazine 2011). This caused the American People to to loathe the Muslims and that lead to a general dislike towards people of the Middle East. There were a total of 1,714 reported attacks on people of Middle Eastern descent ( “September 11 by Numbers.” New York Magazine 2011). How does this relate to the Second World War?
After Pearl Harbor, The American people stopped buying from the Japanese, and anyone of Japanese descent was labeled as an enemy or a Spy. This caused the American People to fear them in society. The Government claimed that the reason that they evacuated the Japanese American People was that it was possible that they could be spies. This is very likely since they did not have the technology that we do today. Today, a background check can be done in a matter of minutes. Then, it would have taken days. There are rumors that there were Japanese Spies in Hawaii that would report to the Japanese Government on what the United States Military was doing there. They were a citizen of Hawaii and they fit right into society. This is one of the reasons the American Government was uneasy. It would have been too easy for the Japanese to have a spy in a city as San Francisco or Los Angeles. This caused President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. This placed every Japanese American and anyone of interest into a concentration camp.
I am taking this second part of the qquestion as a “What is your opinion on this situation?” I completely agree with it. Although I rather be free than safe I think that in order to protect the majority you must get rid of the threat. It is like taking a precaution in case their would be a problem, like Y2K. Not knowing whether there would be mass chaos or not, everyone took the precautions in case something did happen. What is the difference when the US Government takes precautions? The Empire of Japan suddenly and deliberately attacked the Naval, Army, and Air Forces of the United States. Nat Turner, The Oklahoma City Bombing, the World Trade Center Bombing, and the World Trade Center Attack of 2001 are all examples of were the American Government took certain measures to ensure the safety of the American People. Airport, Subway, and Train security has multiplied tremendously since those occasions. These are the limited situations where the Government should step in. If the American Government had not stepped in and put some safety measures in then the Terrorists would feel as though they can come over and kill the American People whenever. The Government however should only require the agencies of said occasions to fix the problem. These should only go as far as to make the American People feel safe…not uncomfortable. By placing the American People in more and more safe measures then they will become more reluctant to use the resources that are vital to the function of the United States. If we take drastic measures to prevent disasters solely because of what terrorist have done already…they win.