The United States' Treatment of Japanese Americans During World War II

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On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 allowing the military to exclude “any and all persons” from designated areas of the country as needed for national defense. These “any and all persons” were Japanese Americans, 2/3 citizens and 1/3 aliens, and the designated area was the West Coast of the United States. The Executive Order to place the Japanese living in the United States into internment camps was deemed necessary due to the recent attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, by Japan. The United States government gave several justifications, both military and constituently for the decision of the camps. However, not all of the Japanese Americans took the order in stride. There was resistance by the Japanese to the government policy and lawsuits were filed going all the way to the Supreme Court. In recent history, the Supreme Court has reversed a few judgments from the 1940s. The question of civil liberties over national security of the Japanese Americans in the 1940s is parallel to Arab Americans after September 11, 2001. There are several military and constitutional justifications the United States government had in placing the Japanese in internments after the attack on Pearl Harbor. These justifications can all be related to National Security, with fear of future attacks, sabotage and espionage, and doubt of Japanese American’s loyalty. The main purpose of the government is protection under the constitution. To ensure national security, the privacy of one maybe evaded to secure millions. Very few advocates of civil liberties stepped forward against the internments regardless of the constitutional rights being invaded of the American citizens and resident aliens. The milit... ... middle of paper ... ...t civil liberties. The Executive Order 9066 in 1942 and the passing of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 both prompted claims of civil liberties violations. Overall, when the country is invaded, National Security trumps civil liberties. In conclusion, the United State Government did justify its actions for internment camps of Japanese Americans during World War II. However, how these fears and concerns were handle is a matter of violation of civil liberties even though it is the governments duty to preserve democracy. The Supreme Court has viewed past injustices as learning tools for future issues. Some similarities have appeared in modern history to the Japanese Americans injustices with the Arab Americans. Overall both groups have had to sacrifice their personal privacy at the cost of national security of the whole country.

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