Help with thesis on Japanese internment camps.-My thesis is: Althoufh the United States government later issued formal apologies and paid $20,000 to each survivor of the internment...

Help with thesis on Japanese internment camps.

-My thesis is: Althoufh the United States government later issued formal apologies and paid $20,000 to each survivor of the internment camps in 1988, it could not compensate for the horrible conditions and racism that the Japansee Americans faced following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Is that good thesis? Is there any important factors that I am missing? What are some good points that I should talk about in my paper? Should I mention any psychological/mental/health effects of the internments camps on the Japanese?

AND HOW DO I refer to the internees as? Japanese- Americans? Japanese? I dont think i can refer to them all as Japanese Americans because the Issei weren't American citizens. And I can't refer to them as Japanese becasue the Nisei were citizens. Ahhh!!!!!!

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You might refer to them as persons of Japanese Ancestry, which was the term used by President Roosevelt in his order sending them to the confinement camps.

I think your thesis is a good one; but you probably should add some specifics as to racism, etc. Obviously you need to go beyond the fact that the Japanese were confined. One rather salient point, I think, is that there were no similar camps for Americans of German or Italian ancestry, even though both countries declared war on the U.S. There is also the fact that "Jap" soon became a common term for anyone of Japanese descent. You might mention how they were refused service is stores and restaurants and suspected of disloyalty even though many were born in this country. A barber shop in San Francisco carried a sign which read, "free shaves for Japs; not responsible for accidents." Sadly it was all too easy to conflate patriotism and racism during this time. You should also mention the gentleman, an American citizen born in Japan who was asked who he wanted to end the war. His reply was eloquent: When your mother and father are fighting, you dont want anyone to win; you just want the fighting to stop.  Make sure you read the Supreme Court case of Korematsu vs. U.S. in which the Court upheld detention of these people as a constitutional exercise of presidential power. Good luck!

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