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During WWll, many Japanese soldiers, as well as Japanese-American citizens were enslaved and killed in these camps. More than 110,000 people were captured and were brought upon the Western territory, where the majority of the population were 62% American citizens. There were many internment camps like this in the US, such as in Hawaii, holding up 150,000 people of Japanese ancestry. But back then, how were the people who were captured there were treated, and how did some manage to survive through the horrors of such places?
It all started during the World War 2, where President Franklin Roosevelt established his order 9066 all across America which quotes, “Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the Military Commanders… from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose… for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary… to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General… the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas”(Executive Order 9066).After the raid on Pearl Harbor, on February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed the order stating that there will be prevention of raids and cross-country raids on American soil. From the years between 1940-1945, the order regulates the American government to capture any citizen or soldier of Japanese ancestry and withhold them in these camps. Even after the Pearl Harbor incident, which results over 2400 deaths, and the war itself– these camps now are noticed as violations against human rights, and that it is one of the most heinous infringements of the American Civil rights in history. The executive order afflicted over 117,000 people– most of which were US residents. Shortly after, Canada also followed through with the regulation, confining over 21,000 Japanese citizens from its western front, as well as Mexico– although they established their own copied version, they have rounded up 2,264 Japanese people who were later on relocated from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile to the US.
After the relocation, the US military were advised to start evacuations o March 24, where Japanese people had 6 days to dispose any belongings and only bring what they can hold. Anybody who was less than 50% of Japanese descent were to be evacuated, which resulted in 17,000 children who were under the age of 10, and the other several thousand of those who were elderly or handicapped. But those who did not evacuate were to be relocated to assembly centers near homes, from then they were living there for months before they were transferred to more of a permanent war-like camp. The assembly centers were built in remote areas that were not meant for human condition– for farm animals such as cattle and horses. The life inside these assembly centers were pretty similar to those in the outside world, where jobs inside were paying detainees no more than a Private in the Army. Most of these jobs arranged from teachers to doctors and to mechanics. There are those which some assembly centers are similar but are more of the permanent housing camps. These places are called Relocation Centers, and there were a total of 10 of them in the US. Most of these places were a lot similar to barracks with public eating areas. Each one of these relocation centers had their own features, such as schools, working facilities, post offices, and even some had farmland as well as livestock, guarded by wires and towers.
However, most of these camps were not all peaceful. Violence in these centers always occurred. In one camp in New Mexico, an man tried to flee, but was shot and killed on the spot. After the internees were delivered by the trains, two more men were killed trying to flee. On August 4, 1942, a humongous riot went loose in the Santa Anita Center, the shows of violence about low rations and overpopulation. At Manzanar, California, strains of anger resulted in a beating of Japanese-American Citizens League member by 6 unknown masked men. At Topaz Relocation Center, which is located in San Francisco, a man was shot and killed by military personnel for going too close to the edge of the perimeter. After two months, two or three people were shot at for similar reasons. In 1943, an uproar broke out at Tule Lake following an incidental passing– tear-gas was scattered, and martial law was announced until understandings were come to conclusions.
Few years later, the centers were officially closed by the Supreme Court. In Endo v. the United States, it was decided that the War Relocation Authority “has no specialist to subject residents who are arrogantly faithful to its leave policy.” The case was expedited benefit of Mitsuye Endo, the little girl of Japanese settlers from Sacramento, CA. Subsequent to recording a Habeas corpus appeal, the administration offered to free her, yet Endo won’t, needing her case to address the whole issue of Japanese internment. After two years, the Supreme Court settled on the choice, however allowed Roosevelt to start camp terminations before the declaration. One day after Roosevelt made his declaration, the Supreme Court uncovered its choice. For those who was living in these camps and survived told stories of their experiences and mishaps in these places, which led to many autobiographies being published– fortelling their times after the camps and how some are still coping with the horrors and violence in such places.
- Editors, History.Com. “Japanese Internment Camps.” History, A&E Television Networks, 9 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/japanese-american-relocation.
- “Japanese American Internment Camps.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encylopædia Britannica, Inc., 3 May 2019, www.britannica.com/event/Japanese-American-internment.
- Grapes, Bryan J. Japanese American Internment Camps. Greenhaven Press, 2001.
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