On December 7,1941 Japan raided the airbases across the islands of Pearl Harbour. The “sneak attack” targeted the United States Navy. It left 2400 army personnel dead and over a thousand Americans wounded. U.S. Navy termed it as “one of the great defining moments in history”1 President Roosevelt called it as “A Day of Infamy”. 2 As this attack shook the nation and the Japanese Americans became the immediate ‘focal point’. At that moment approximately 112,000 Persons of Japanese descent resided in coastal areas of Oregon, Washington and also in California and Arizona.3
In many times throughout history groups of people have been discriminated against based on race or religion. These people receive inferior rights because of the discrimination. In some cases they do not get citizenship, in others they are segregated from others, and physically harmed. Two groups of people that faced discrimination near World War II (WWII) were the Jewish people and Japanese Americans. Both groups faced very different types of discrimination by different oppressors with different motives yet their treatment was very similar and many events paralleled each other. The treatment of Japanese in WWII internment camps was as harsh as the Holocaust's treatment of the Jewish people.
Life for the Japanese and Japanese-Americans living in Washington in 1941 suddenly became chaotic with the bombing of American Naval Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii by the Empire of Japan. People turned their fear and outrage on the Japanese, both foreign born and the Japanese citizens of the United States of America. The government and many others believed that the Japanese living on the West Coast posed a risk to our nation’s security. On December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt sent out Public Proclamation No. 2525 declaring that anyone within the United States and not naturalized can be held, apprehended, restrained or removed as alien enemies . On the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States government in Washington sent FBI agents to begin arresting the some of the 9,600 Japanese-Americans living in King County. They took into custody both first generation Japanese known as Issei as well as some second generation Japanese known as Nisei, who by all rights were citizens of the United States. Many of those arrested as potential saboteurs and spies were teachers, Buddhist priests, leaders of community organizations and other officials. Those Japanese not arrested had their travel restricted, business licenses revoked and their financial assets frozen.
Previous to the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941, tensions had been forming between the USA and Japan in the pacific. The US had cut of most supplies to Japan with the fear of Japanese expansion. The conflict that had been escalating between Japan and China since 1937 had the US treating Japan with great cautiousness. They had been monitoring Japanese Americans in anticipation of a surprise attack. However the attack on Pearl Harbour still shocked and outraged the American nation and affected the American psyche. After being assured that “a Japanese attack on Hawaii is regarded as the most unlikely thing in the world”(1), the sudden mass destruction of the U.S Navy’s Pacific fleet and deaths of roughly 2400 U.S soldiers and civilians as a result of such an attack undoubtedly lead to confusion and racial hatred amongst many US citizens. The assumption on the War Department’s behalf that Japan’s Navy were incapable of launching a full scale assault on the US Navy’s chief Pacific base was more than inaccurate. As a result, the US Naval base was unprepared and was quickly taken out. A hidden bias would soon become evident in both average civilians and higher positioned government officials. This bias against Japan aided in the formation of the Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) on February 19th 1942.
“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” These words were spoken the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The bombing of Pearl Harbor cost more than 2,000 lives and nearly destroyed 20 naval vessels. Eight of these ships happened to be battleships, but luckily no aircraft carriers were in the area. On December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt gave his address to the nation. He ended this address with, “I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire,” thus beginning the United States role in WWII.
President Roosevelt stated, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941-- a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…. Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense….I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire,”¹
Imagine one day you’re told to pack your bags and leave your home for a prison camp and you have no clue when or if you will return. This was decreed by Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans. The island on which I live was the first location in the U.S. to implement this persecution of residents of Japanese descent. Prompted by war hysteria, this injustice was recognized in a presidential apology as a constitutional failure. The lessons gleaned from executive order 9066 can be applied to current issues in our world, nation, and even college campuses. Growing up with this awareness, I am acutely attuned to discrimination of groups based on their ethnic or religious identities
In only two hours, more than 2,400 innocent lives were taken, 1,000 additional people were wounded, 20 U.S. ships were destroyed, along with over 300 airplanes. Most Americans would consider this one of the deadliest attacks in the history of the United States (Maranzani, “5 Facts About Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona”). Seventy-five years ago today, the Japanese rained bombs and bullets down upon the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack caused a lot of debate on if America should declare war on Japan in return. On December 8, 1941, one day after the attack, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), 32nd President of the United States, presented his “Pearl Harbor Speech” to explain what had just happened, how he felt, and how the United States should deal with the situation. His purpose is to inform his audience what has provoked his decision to go to war with Japan, persuade Congress to declare war, and
The famous Infamy Speech was spoken December 8th, 1941 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States at the time of Pearl Harbor. FDR was a moving speaker for the American people. The speech was very patriotic by calling congress to vote for a Declaration of War against the Empire of Japan. By proclaiming the “attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago,” Roosevelt suggests the attack was conducted with the intent not to negotiate with the ambassador. This guides the American people towards hate against the Japanese. The disliking of the Japanese is strengthened when Roosevelt reports that “very many American lives have been lost.” By saying ‘American’ lives, it draws the American people into
December 7, 1941 was a day of great tragedy. At 07:48 in the morning the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii. This attacked caused the destruction of seventeen ships and one hundred and eighty eight aircraft as well as killing two thousand four hundred and three Americans. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt took to the microphone to address congress and the American people. This speech by President Roosevelt was effective in convincing congress to declare war on Japan by using ethos, pathos, and also logos.