Washington Japanese Internment Camps Essay

Washington Japanese Internment Camps Essay

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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.
The Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 and thus began the removal and imprisonment of over 110,000 Japanese-Americans from the West Coast from what the government designated as military areas. It should be noted that more than two-thirds of the Japanese-Americans were actual citizens of the United States. On March 30, 1942, two hundred and seventy-four Japanese–American residents of Bainbridge Island in Washington became the fir...

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...d to end the war in Europe.
Minidoka camp closed October 28, 1945, the Japanese-Americans in January 1945 were finally permitted to return the West Coast though most were encouraged to relocate to the East Coast or the Midwest as prejudice still ran high on the West Coast. It wasn’t until August 10, 1988 that the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed by President Ronald Reagan. It finally provided a formal apology and redress to those Japanese-Americans still living. The tragic reality is that almost half of those imprisoned and stripped of their civil rights died before the act was signed.

Works Cited

Dudley, William. Japanese American Internment Camps. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 2002.
“Camp Harmony Exhibit.” University of Washington Libraries. Web. 06 June 2011.

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