Japanese Internment

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After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States was filled with panic. Along the Pacific coast of the U.S., where residents feared more Japanese attacks on their cities, homes, and businesses, this feeling was especially great. During the time preceding World War II, there were approximately 112,000 persons of Japanese descent living in California, Arizona, and coastal Oregon and Washington. These immigrants traveled to American hoping to be free, acquire jobs, and for some a chance to start a new life. Some immigrants worked in mines, others helped to develop the United States Railroad, many were fishermen, farmers, and some agricultural laborers. Inevitably, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that began World War II, Japanese-Americans were frowned upon and stereotyped because of their descent. However, Japanese immigrants contributed to economic expansion of the United States. Whites resented the Japanese immigrants, but reaped economic profit from the Japanese-American residents’ discipline and hard work. Japanese-Americans of this time seem to be attacked; however, they choose to uphold their disconnection with the rest of the Americans. Many Japanese felt they had superiority over Americans, creating tension and disconnection. Nevertheless, Japanese were resented and disliked by whites. Due to pressure from state leaders near the west coast, President Roosevelt, on February 19, 1942, signed Executive Order 9066. This resulted in the which resulted in the violent imprisonment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. When the government gave its internment order, whites rounded up, imprisoned, and exiled their Japanese neighbors. In 1942, 110,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States were relocated to ten internment camps. More than two thirds of those sent to internment camps, under the Executive Order, had never shown disloyalty and were also citizens of the United States. In April 1942, the War Relocation Authority was created to control the assembly centers, relocation centers, and internment camps, and oversee the relocation of Japanese-Americans. It took another forty years for the US government to recognize the violations of this population's constitutional rights. The internment camps were permanent detention camps that held internees from March, 1942 until their closing in 1945 and 1946. Although the camps held captive people of many different origins, the majority of the prisoners were Japanese-Americans. There were ten different relocation centers located across the United States during the war. These Japanese Americans, half of whom were children, were incarcerated for up to 4 years, without due process of law or any factual basis, in bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.

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