For or against The Japanese-American Internment Camps during WW2Thus far, I am against because, I am part Japanese, and my family had talked to me about what had happened. However, I only hear...
Thus far, I am against because, I am part Japanese, and my family had talked to me about what had happened. However, I only hear their opinions, and don't want to be one-sided. I would like to hear your opinions about this topic. It would be appreciated if your opinions were backed up.
The forced internment of Japanese-American citizens was a terrible chapter in American history, a racist kneejerk reaction to to the bombing of Pearl Harbor--another aspect to the "day that will live in infamy." Interestingly, neither white German-Americans nor Italian-Americans living in America were subject to internment or any major reduction of their civil rights. Such a thing could never happen today, as seen by the unrestricted freedoms allowed to Arab-Americans living in the U. S. following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
If you're looking for the other side, it's a bit hard to actually come up with justifications. If I had to argue for it, I would say that in war time it should be "safety first." For all we knew at that point, the Japanese could have been coming to invade the West Coast. In a war of that size, maybe you have to win the war first and worry about legality later. What we did was reprehensible, but you don't want to make such a point of being moral that you put yourself in danger in a serious war like that.
The internment of many Japanese-Americans in WWII is not a bright spot in American history. I'm against any action that denies people their rights without due process. In times of great conflict, hysteria sometimes gets the upper hand and we do things that history does not look back on with approval.
Bridge to the Sun by Gwen Terasaki is an interesting book about an American woman who married a Japanese diplomat. She followed him on his journey as a diplomat, and he was assigned to Washington DC when the attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into the Pacific War. Her husband was interned as an enemy alien, and she chose to take herself and her daughter into the internment camp. They were repatriated to Japan for American diplomats who had been interned in Japan. After the war, her husband surved in the MacArthur government.
For anyone interested in studying the internment, I would start with three camps, Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, and Jerrome in Arkansas.
Manzanar probably has the most information. Ansel Adams went there and took pictures. One in particular has a very nervous looking soldier, who is holding an M-1 rifle while surrounded by a crowd on causally dressed internees. To me they don't look interned, but more like the are waiting for a bus.
Tule Lake must certainly be the most notorious due to the fact that in had the most guards and the most demonstrations. I'm not sure how to charactize them as pro-Japan or anit-American.
Jerome is interesting because an internee painted some really cool pictures about the internment. Unfortunately, I don't remember his name.