Summarize what happened to Japanese-Americans during World War Two. Why did it happen? Who benefited? ...

Summarize what happened to Japanese-Americans during World War Two. Why did it happen? Who benefited?

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Two months after Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7th, 1941, President Theodore Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. It led to the internment of more than 100,000 West Coast Japanese-Americans for the duration of the war.

Fearing that these Issei (first-generation Japanese-Americans) and Nisei (second-generation Japanese-Americans) would pose security risks, the United States government took measures to sequester them in ten remote camps in the Midwest. Prior to leaving, many Issei and Nisei had to sell their belongings and homes off at outrageously low prices; this was the only way they could recoup some of the financial losses they incurred from adhering to Roosevelt's special order. Meanwhile, Japanese-Americans in Hawaii were spared internment because wealthy landowners needed their Japanese employees to work the sugar and pineapple plantations.

The people who profited the most from the internment of Japanese-Americans were white business owners. The forced internment removed successful Nisei businessmen from the economic scene; it bequeathed substantial competitive advantages to whites. Issei like Fred Korematsu challenged Roosevelt's executive order, but the Supreme Court ruled that the president was well within his right to protect the nation during a time of war.

The internment ended in January 1945. Many Japanese-Americans experienced grave emotional upheaval and financial challenges in the process of re-assimilating into American society. In 1948, the American government attempted to right the wrongs to Japanese-Americans by paying out $37 million in reparations. However, it wasn't until 1988 that legislation was approved to pay out an additional $20, 000 to survivors and efforts were made to formally apologize to the Japanese-Americans for their forced internment.