Many Americans were concerned that Japanese-Americans would work as spies or saboteurs for the Japanese government. Fear, not facts, motivated the United States to imprison approximately 127,000 Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during WWII. During World War II, almost 127,000 American civilians were imprisoned. They were not given a trial and many were never even charged with a crime.
Japanese-Americans were ordered into evacuation centers where they were given three days to leave their homes. Those who did not go were arrested under the Alien Registration Act of 1940 and sent to detention camps. There were two main types of incarceration camps for Japanese-Americans: Manzanar Camp and Sobibor Death Camp. At Manzanar, which was established on February 20, 1942, more than 10,000 people were confined before they could be deported. At Sobibor, which opened in March 1942, more than 700 Jews were murdered.
Manzanar was located near Los Angeles, California and is now a national historic site. Sobibor has been destroyed by fire several times but still stands today in what used to be eastern Poland.
People can still visit Manzanar today because it's part of the National Park Service. There are no plans to reopen Sobibor because it's considered a human rights violation to do so today in the United States.
Based on local population densities and regional politics, Japanese Americans were assigned to concentration camps. More than 112,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast were deported to internment camps in the interior. Their property was seized by the government. No crime or misconduct on their part was required to be punished by imprisonment or death at the hands of the U.S. government.
Japanese Americans were denied many rights granted to other American citizens. They could not vote in federal elections until 1948 when Congress passed a law allowing for their restoration of citizenship. Additionally, they were excluded from serving in military positions during World War II. However, after the war ended, some Japanese Americans were hired back into jobs that had been reserved for whites only. In addition, there were efforts made by some governments to promote Japanese American candidates in open positions. Although this policy may have been motivated by good intentions, it also resulted in the election of several officials who were not responsible for ordering the detention of Japanese Americans.
In California, where about 1,800 Japanese Americans were detained, Governor Culbert Olson ordered their removal in 1942. He based this decision on President Roosevelt's executive order 9066 which called for the evacuation of persons of "Japanese ancestry" from areas deemed necessary for defense purposes. The governor believed that removing these people would improve the security situation for all Californians.
The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced removal and incarceration of around 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps in the country's western heartland, the majority of whom lived on the Pacific Coast. The government's reason for removing these individuals was their concern that they might be able to offer valuable information about the enemy within our borders.
Japanese Americans were singled out for exclusion from civil rights because of their race and because of fears that they were disloyal due to their ethnic background. Many had been employed by American companies prior to being drafted into the military or otherwise recruited into the U.S. Army. Others had never done anything wrong themselves, but were nonetheless denied their constitutional right to travel as citizens of the United States.
The first signs of discriminatory practices against Japanese Americans began to appear shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when President Roosevelt signed an executive order banning the entry of all aliens of Japanese origin. This order was designed to prevent suspected spies from entering the country and to cut off any possible supply line for Japanese forces in Asia. It also served to justify the detention of those aliens who already resided in the United States.
In February 1942, Congress passed the Alien Enemy Act, which allowed for the federal arrest and detention of people believed to be threats to national security.
|Japanese American Internment|
|Cause||Attack on Pearl Harbor; Niihau Incident;war hysteria|
|Most camps were in the Western United States.|
|Total||Over 110,000 Japanese Americans, including over 66,000 U.S. citizens, forced into internment camps|
|Deaths||1,862 from all causes in camps|
In obvious violation of the Geneva Conventions, prisoners were systematically beaten, malnourished, tortured, and forced to labor in mines and war-related companies. According to the Congressional Research Service of the United States, 40 percent of the 27,000 Americans taken prisoner by the Japanese perished in captivity.
American soldiers captured during the Vietnam War were subject to the same practices as their enemy counterparts. The Soviets also used torture against their prisoners. What makes the American experience different is that no official government policy was established to systematically abuse its prisoners. Government officials denied such actions took place until well after the conflict had ended.
During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate soldiers were accused of torturing prisoners. However, only the Union soldiers are known to have engaged in such behavior. The Confederacy adopted a policy of "military justice" that allowed for the execution of soldiers who abused captives. This policy resulted in several high-profile cases that made international news. In one example, a Confederate soldier named John Graves Simkins burned two men alive in the town square of Salisbury, North Carolina. He was later executed.
After the War of 1812, the British practice of using torture on captured soldiers was stopped by Parliament. But the American government didn't adopt this policy until after it became common knowledge that British troops were abusing prisoners.
On February 19, 2017, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, which commemorated the 75th anniversary of the order. Because of worries that Japanese Americans were enemy supporters, about 120,000 people were detained in ten camps. The last one closed in 1952.
Japanese Americans were incarcerated despite being U.S. citizens with no prior criminal records. Many were stripped of their homes, businesses, and all their possessions. Some estimates say that $1 billion was spent on incarcerating Japanese Americans. Their children weren't allowed to attend some schools until 1975 when a court case decided that segregation was unconstitutional.
Roosevelt acted after Congress refused to pass legislation allowing for their detention. Critics say that by using his authority as commander-in-chief, he violated the Constitution's separation of powers clause by interfering with Congress' role as judge of the military justice system. Others point out that FDR had already granted clemency to more than 11,000 Japanese Americans convicted of violating curfew laws or other minor offenses while their cases were still under review by the Justice Department. Clemency also was given to avoid disrupting the war effort.
After the war ended, most Japanese Americans were allowed to return home. But about 100,000 persons who had not returned were ordered removed from the country. Most of them went to Japan, where they remained confined until the end of the program in 1955.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Japanese internment camps under Executive Order 9066 during World War II. From 1942 through 1945, the US government had a policy of incarcerating persons of Japanese origin, including US citizens, in separate camps. The purpose was to prevent possible sabotage by hiding-out Japanese Americans.
The first camp to be designated was located near Santa Clara, California. By the end of 1944, more than 100 camps had been built. The number of inmates increased from 1,049 on June 19, 1942 to 120,000 by the end of 1945. Most were released between 1944 and 1952 when President Truman ended racial discrimination in American military camps. However today some descendants of those imprisoned remain separated from their families, even after many years have passed.
In response to the removal of Japanese Americans, several civil rights groups filed lawsuits against the government. One case made it all the way to the Supreme Court where they ruled that the incarceration was legal. Critics say that the move was unnecessary as there were not going to be any attacks by Japanese Americans on U.S. soil.
However, many historians believe that the camps helped protect ethnic minorities from being persecuted by the United States during World War II.
After the war, several attempts were made to find a proper way to address issues related to hidden enemies or spies.