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Internment of Japanese Americans: An Imprudent, Contentious Endeavor

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An unavoidable conundrum. To play it safe, or be the enemy? Following the jolting attack on Pearl Harbor, a great deal of Americans believed that the Japanese Americans, also called Nikkei, were untrustworthy and associated with the enemy. Rumors flew that the Nikkei exchanged military information and had obtained secret connections. However, these claims were never brought to light, and to this day simply remain rumors. The U.S. government became suspicious about these accusations and demanded action. On Thursday, February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 9066, which called for an evacuation of Japanese Americans on the west coast with the excuse of a “military necessity.” The government’s impetuous enforcement of Executive Order 9066 in reaction to public hysteria, not only violated the rights of Japanese Americans, but also triggered pointless effort and attention towards the internment camps. The United States government had no authority to intern Japanese Americans on account of their ethnic background. People argued that it was acceptable because the Japanese immigrants in the United States posed a threat, but in reality, “more than two-thirds of the Japanese who were interned in the spring of 1942 were citizens of the United States” (Ross). The Nikkei had the same rights as any American born citizen, yet they were interned. The public concluded that all people of Japanese ancestry were saboteurs, heightening racial prejudices. Furthermore, the accusation of disloyalty among Japanese Americans prompted the state department to send Agent Curtis B. Munson to investigate this matter among the Japanese Americans; leading to his conclusion that, “there is no Japanese problem on the west coast…a rem... ... middle of paper ... ...tional Historic Site. nps.com. 27 July 2006. Web. 3 Mar. 2010. “Japanese American WWII Internment Camp.” Topaz Internment Camp in Utah. Qman.com. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. Kleffman, Sandy. “Japanese-American Internment Camp Reopens as Bittersweet National Park.” Contra Costa Times. EBSCOhost. 3 May 2004. Web. 7 April 2010. Randall, Vernelia R. “Internment of Japanese Americans in Concentration Camps.” Race, Racism and American Law. The University of Dayton School of Law. Wed 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2010 Ross, Shmuel, and Ricco Villanueva. “Japanese Internment in WWII.” infoplease.com. © 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. Web. 31 Mar. 2010 The LegiSchool Project. The Japanese- American Internment During WWII: A Discussion of Civil Liberties Then and Now. California State Capitol, May 2, 2000. Print
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