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Japanese American Internment


The United States did not get involved in the early stages of World War II because Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the President of the USA, wanted to keep the USA out of the war. Even though, America was not involved in the early stages of World War II, the USA was providing war supplies to countries like England. England was thrust into the war because Germany declared war on them and was trying to take over England and other European countries as well. The United States had the philosophy that “they wanted to remain separate from world affairs” and felt that the war that was affecting Europe and East Asia was not their main concern.

The United States had no choice, but to get involved in World War II, after war was declared against them when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Japan declared war on the USA on December 7, 1941 when they unexpectedly bombed the military bases in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This time the US could not turn a blind eye to what was happening throughout the world. The main reason that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and declared war on the US was because of the US occupation in the Philippines. Japan wanted to have control over the Philippines to become part of their expanding empire, but the US presence there was making it difficult for them.

When Japan bombed the US on 12/07/41, the Japanese became “Public Enemy No. 1” for America and its citizens. This caused many Americans to dislike and distrust Japanese Americans who were living in the US at the time. The major population of Japanese Americans were concentrated in Western states from California to Washington State. After Japan bombed the Pearl Harbor in 1941, many Americans began to riot against the Japanese Americans in the following ways:

  • Attacking Japanese Americans on the streets for no reason at all.
  • Destroying Japanese businesses and neighborhoods.
  • Making it difficult for Japanese Americans to work and find employment.

The United States government was no better because President Roosevelt signed a bill in 1942 ordering all Americans of Japanese descendant to be placed into internment camps. Many Americans had this “conspiracy theory” that Japanese Americans were spies for Japan and was the cause for Pearl Harbor being bombed by Japan. But, in reality, the majority of Japanese Americans were second and third generation Japanese in America. The Internment of Japanese Americans caused the following problems for the Japanese:

  • Loss of property.
  • Betrayal by the US government.
  • Loss of jobs.
  • Loss of dignity.
  • Loss of pride in being a US citizen.

The United States government do not apologize or give Japanese Americans reparations for their loss during World War II for almost forty years. Until the Reagan Presidency, when President Reagan signed a bill around 1982, acknowledging the injustice Japanese Americans suffered at the hands of the federal government when they were placed into internment camps. The bill also provided monies for reparations to be paid to the Japanese Americans and their descendants who were placed in the internment camps. The Japanese internment camps were uncalled for because many Japanese Americans joined the military during World War II to fight to protect their home country the USA.



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