Japanese Americans during WWII – Essay Example
The paper "Japanese Americans during WWII" is an excellent example of a history essay.
Executive order 9066 of February 19, 1942, was intended as a security measure. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was thought that Americans of Japanese decent might harbor an allegiance to their (or their parent’s) native land. Most of this population was concentrated on the west coast of the United States. Japanese Americans were moved to camps in the interior of the country, far from potential contacts with Japanese agents that could solicit their help for the Emperor.
This was not a constitutional arrangement. Numerous guarantees relative to personal property rights and especially the right to due process were violated by this action. Constitutional rights also violated centered on the detention of persons that have not been charged with a crime and the denial of representation for those that have been accused of a crime.
The experience for these detained Americans was a difficult one. They were placed in housing that was speedily constructed with substandard materials. Many of the bunkhouses were not insulated against the biting winds of winter in northern states such as Utah and Montana. Some families were forced to inhabit spaces that had previously been homes for horses and livestock. A lack of medical care was another reason many prisoners in these camps suffered. Preventable diseases such as cholera claimed lives. It could be argued, however, that the physical difficulties of their situation were even worse than the emotional and psychological turmoil the internment caused. Many families were separated. Fathers were routinely interred away from their families, especially if it was feared that the father has especially close ties to Japan. Many of the prisoners had no connection to Japan. Some didn’t even speak Japanese. They were born in America. Some of them were the second or third generation to be American citizens, yet their country chose not to trust them.
In 1988, Congress apologized to the surviving Japanese Americans interred during WWII. President Ronald Reagan also apologized. The United States government authorized the distribution of 1.6 billion dollars worth of reparation funds to be paid to those interred and their descendants as a gesture of contrition and to reimburse them for lost property.