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APUSH - Japanese Internment Camps
Transcript of APUSH - Japanese Internment Camps
May 30, 2013
APUSH Period 3
APUSH Final Project How did World War II affect the lives of Japanese Americans? Why was the American government so motivated to subdue Japanese Americans during World War II? Most of those evacuated were U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens. Internment Camp Specifics Japanese Americans were forced to evacuate their homes and leave their jobs; in some cases, family members were separated and put into different camps. President Roosevelt called the ten facilities "concentration camps." Some Japanese Americans died in the camps due to inadequate medical care and the emotional stresses they encountered. Several were killed by military guards posted for allegedly resisting orders. Ten detention camps held internees from March 1942 until their closing in 1945 and 1946. Amache (Granada), Colorado. Opened August 24, 1942. Closed October 15, 1945. Peak population 7318. Origin of prisoners: Nothern California coast, West Sacramento Valley, Northern San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles. 31 Japanese Americans from Amache volunteered and lost their lives in World War II. 120 died here between August 27, 1942 and October 14, 1945. In April, 1944, 36 draft resisters were sent to Tucson, AZ Federal Prison. Gila River, Arizona Opened July 20, 1942. Closed November 10, 1945. Peak Population 13,348. Origin of prisoners: Sacramento Delta, Fresno County, Los Angeles area. Divided into Canal Camp and Butte Camp. Over 1100 citizens from both camps served in the U.S. Armed Services. The names of 23 war dead are engraved on a plaque here. The State of Arizona accredited the schools in both camps. 97 students graduated from Canal High School in 1944. Nearly 1000 prisoners worked in the 8000 acres of farmland around Canal Camp, growing vegetables and raising livestock. Heart Mountain, Wyoming Opened August 12, 1942. Closed November 10, 1945. Peak population 10,767. Origin of prisoners: Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, Central Washington. In November, 1942, Japanese American hospital workers walked out because of pay discrimination between Japanese American and Caucasian American workers. In July, 1944, 63 prisoners who had resisted the draft were convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison. The camp was made up of 468 buildings, divided into 20 blocks. Each block had 2 laundry-toilet buildings. Each building had 6 rooms each. Rooms ranged in size from 16' x 20' to 20' x 24'. There were 200 administrative employees, 124 soldiers, and 3 officers. Military police were stationed in 9 guard towers, equipped with high beam search lights, and surrounded by barbed wire fencing around the camp. However, it was later documented that "our government had in its possession proof that not one Japanese American, citizen or not, had engaged in espionage, not one had committed any act of sabotage." Rather, the causes for this unprecedented action in American history, according to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, "were motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." Almost 50 years later, through the efforts of leaders and advocates of the Japanese American community, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Popularly known as the Japanese American Redress Bill, this act acknowledged that "a grave injustice was done" and mandated Congress to pay each victim of internment $20,000 in reparations. The reparations were sent with a signed apology from the President of the United States on behalf of the American people. The period for reparations ended in August of 1998. Despite this redress, the mental and physical health impacts of the trauma of the internment experience continue to affect tens of thousands of Japanese Americans. Health studies have shown a 2 times greater incidence of heart disease and premature death among former internees, compared to non-interned Japanese Americans. Even prior to the creation of war-time internment camps, life for Japanese Americans had been difficult. They suffered from discrimination at the hands of both government and community. On November 24, 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt and Japan agree on ‘The Gentlemen’s Agreement”. This agreement said that only families of the Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) could immigrate to America. This agreement lasted until 1908. In 1913, California passed the Alien Land Law, which prohibited “aliens ineligible to citizenship” (i.e. all Asian immigrants-including Japanese) from owning land or property, though it permitted leases lasting up to three years. The law was meant to discourage immigration, primarily Japanese Americans, and to create an inhospitable climate for immigrants already living in California. In 1920, California extended the Alien Land Law to prohibiting leasing land to “aliens ineligible to citizenship”. This law was passed in reaction to the intensification of anti-Japanese sentiment, and because the 1913 Alien Land Law was doing little to stem Japanese immigration. By 1925, leasing land was also prohibited in Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Missouri. In 1922 court case, Ozawa v. U.S., had the Supreme Court reaffirming that Asian immigrants were not even eligible for naturalization. Ozawa did not challenge the constitutionality of racial restrictions but instead attempted to have Japanese classified as white. In 1940, the Alien Registration Act (the Smith Act) was passed by the US Congress that required all aliens to register with the US government and be fingerprinted. As well, President Roosevelt signed the Two Ocean Navy Expansion Act. This act was the first step in preparing America for war against Germany, Japan, or both. February 25, 1942: the Navy informs Japanese American residents of Terminal Island near Los Angeles Harbor that they must leave in 48 hours. They are the first group to be removed en masse. March 18, 1942: the president signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA) with Milton Eisenhower as director. It is allocated $5.5 million. March 21, 1942: the first advance groups of Japanese American "volunteers" arrive at Manzanar, CA. The WRA would take over on June 1 and transform it into a "relocation center." Within two weeks, nearly all ten camps are filled to legal capacity, if not over capacity. Internment Camp Living Conditions At first the Japanese Americans went to temporary relocation centers, which were racetracks, fairgrounds, and open areas surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by US military personnel. Eventually they were taken to the ten permanent relocation centers that were run by War Relocation Authority. Interment camps were located in remote areas in isolated areas such as deserts or swamps. Each camp had its own administration building, school, hospital, store, and post office, but the actual housing conditions for Japanese Americans in internment camps were very different from the average home. Each camp was comprised of block arrangements, and each block had 14 barracks. Internees were housed in these barracks, and sometimes an entire family lived in a one-room cell. They had to live in animal stalls, such as horses, pigs, and cow stalls. The stalls came with a wood burning stove, a light hanging from the ceiling, and a cot for each person. There was very little privacy and no plumbing existed. Internees tried to make the best of their situation. They started schools and churches, and enjoyed watching and playing sports. Children played games like hide and seek. When the internees had free time they played, but never got too close to the fence or searchlights. If the internees got too close, they were immediately shot. In legal reports, guards on duty stated that internees were trying to escape. The camps were guarded by eight towers with machine guns and searchlights swept the grounds between two places. Court Cases April 11, 1943: James Hatsuki Wakasa, a sixty-three-year-old chef, is shot to death by a sentry at Heart Mountain camp while allegedly trying to escape through a fence. It is later determined that Wakasa had been inside the fence and facing the sentry when shot. The sentry would stand a general court-martial on April 28 at Fort Douglas, Utah and be found "not guilty." June 21, 1944: the United States Supreme Court rules on the Hirabayashi and Yasui cases, upholding the constitutionality of the curfew and exclusion orders. After Pearl Harbor, all Japanese-American men of draft age, except those already in the armed forces, were classified as 4-C, enemy aliens, forbidden to serve their country. Then, in early 1943, the government reversed its policy on military service. U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson announced that the U.S. Army would now accept Nisei as volunteers. Stimson apparently had been moved after receiving a letter from Henry Ebihara, a Nisei.
“I only ask that I be given a chance to fight to preserve the principles that I have been brought up on and which I will sacrifice at any cost,” Ebihara wrote, “Please give me a chance to serve in your armed forces.” Twelve hundred Nisei immediately signed up from behind the barbed wire in their encampments. Eventually, eight thousand Nisei would serve. While many recruits volunteered, not all Japanese Americans were eager to serve government that had forced so many of them and their families into interment camps.
Japanese Americans not only fought in the war but helped as interpreters and translators in the war against Japan. They served in the Military Intelligence Service, intercepting secret Japanese communication, often making quick translations of battlefield messages and orders of Japanese officers.
With time, the Japanese-American soldiers would be recognized for their bravery and sacrifice. The End!