EBSCOhost. 3 May 2004. Web. 7 April 2010. Randall, Vernelia R. “Internment of Japanese Americans in Concentration Camps.” Race, Racism and American Law.
Japanese Internment The decision to imprison Japanese Americans was a popular one in 1942. It was supported not only by the government, but it was also called for by the press and the people. In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, Japan was the enemy. Many Americans believed that people of Japanese Ancestry were potential spies and saboteurs, intent on helping their mother country to win World War II. “The Japanese race is an enemy race,” General John DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command wrote in February 1942.
Was the internment of Japanese Americans a compulsory act of justice or was it an unwarranted, redundant act of tyranny which breached upon the rights of Japanese Americans? During World War II thousands of Japanese Americans were told by government officials that they had twenty-four hours to pack their things, get rid of any belongings of theirs, and to sell their businesses away for less than retail value. Although many people thought the Japanese American internment was needed to ensure U.S. security during the war against Japan, these relocation centers were unnecessary violations of Japanese Americans’ rights. These concentration camps are unconstitutional because they infringed upon the Japanese Americans’ first, seventh, and eighth amendment rights. The argument for the opposing viewpoint states that these relocation centers were needed to ensure U.S. security during the war against Japan.
Investigation into these elements as well as records of public opinion withheld before and after the attack will determine if ignorance towards and favorable opinions of the Japanese were influenced solely by the government. B: Summary of Evidence On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy led an attack on the United States Naval Base in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The same day US Attorney General Francis Biddle directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to arrest any suspected enemy aliens, and by the end of the day 737 Japanese civilians were arrested without trial. On December 8, the United States declared war on Japan and was brought into World War Two. Following the attack a great fear of more attacks by the Japanese swept over United States citizens.
Although many people know about the mistreatment of Native Americans and African Americans, consequently many Americans overlook the mistreatment of Japanese Americans on our own soil. "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...As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense...With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God." That speech was addressed to the nation by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, America entered WWII and anti-Japanese hysteria struck like the Bubonic Plague. At the time over 120,000 Japanese-Americans lived in the US, and about 110,000 resided in the West Coast.
The Japanese-American Internment in Topaz, Utah For as long as mankind can remember, prejudice in one form or another has always been apparent in the world. For some, it is religion, color, or race. But, during the second world war, prejudices were directed at people whose nationalities weren't of native American blood. The Japanese-Americans were exploited and forced into "relocation camps" during World War II all because the American government thought of them as a threat to American society, for fear that they were conspiring with the Japanese government to try and overthrow the United States government. In 1941, the number of Japanese Americans living in the continental Unites States totaled 127,000.
Troops and the Mutilation of Japanese War Dead, 1941-1945." Pacific Historical Review 61.1 (1992): 53-67. Print.
Having a father as a lawyer and gaining inspiration from Harper Lee’s award winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird Guterson was able to make a very accurate reenactment of a trial of a Japanese-American in the time period from 1940 to 1955, the era of World War 2. Japanese-Americans lived their lives in fear because the world they lived in saw them as the enemy. Even worse is that Japanese-Americans were round up and put into internment camps in the name of National security. If a government could be so cruel as to imprison its own people for no other reason than that of their descent then how could a Japanese-American get a fair trial? The answer is that a Japanese-American could not get a fair trial in that time because of the racism present in the hearts of non Japanese-Americans as well as in the courts across the Nation.