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Essays on the World War II experience of Japanese Americans

World War II experience of Japanese Americans

The World War II was among the 20th century’s central events that left a major scar on the Americans and the Japanese. This war involved six continents with the major participants being the Japanese and the Americans. It caused significant human suffering and several deaths. The experiences of the people during this war were devastating and this led to the Asia and Europe national boundaries’ redrawing. This also caused many people to relocate while millions became homeless. The experience from the World War II was greater for America and Japan because major participants caused Americans to seize Europe investment.

Due to this war, there was power struggle in Europe and this created an important chance for the leaders like Hitler and Stalin to control Europe. Nevertheless, Germany and Japan controlled most parts in Europe and this prompted President Roosevelt to enter into the war in order to support Europe. The aim was to enhance freedom. America declared war on Japan after the Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan on December 7th 1941. The Japanese Americans lives were changed in thousands after President Roosevelt signed the executive order. Japanese Americans were assembled, evacuated and relocated in thousands to the internment camps at the time of this war. The Executive Order 9066 took away the liberties, freedoms and personal rights of Japanese Americans. The 3 vital aspects of the experience of World War II include:

  • Prejudice and racism

This is among the vital aspects of World War II experience. Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not incarcerated despite bombing of the Pearl Harbor. The only individuals that were detained were from Hawaii and these were mostly skilled professionals. This implies that removal of the Japanese Americans that were incarcerated from West Coast area in masses was a racially motivated move. Most groups with agricultural interests and local politicians had for a long time opposed the presence of Japanese Americans in the area. Thus, Pearl Harbor incident was used in speeding up their call for the removal of Japanese Americans in this region.

This war was fought by the Americans in three fronts that included Germany; Italy and Japan compared to the Japanese Americans. Despite having vague terms that did not specify ethnicity, the Executive Order 9066 was used in incarcerating Japanese Americans. The claim of the government was that the incarceration was among the necessities of the military because it ensured that Japanese Americans were protected from racist retribution that they were facing in regards to Pearl Harbor bombing. Majority of Japanese Americans that were incarcerated were guilty of sabotage or espionage because they saw themselves as American loyal.

  • The camps

The jurisdiction of the WRA over the Japanese Americans that were evacuated from Washington, Oregon and California where they lived was long and it lasted from 1942 to 1946. WRA was also in charge of the resettlement programs that were extensive. It initiated the resettlement program which captured the segregation and registration processes. Families that were evacuated were required to abandon their possessions that included land, businesses, pets and houses. They left with only what they were able to carry. A train or bus was used to move the families to assembly centers. Before being moved to the ‘relocation camps’, they were required to wait at the assembly ground.

The details of the segregation and registration program were overseen by the authority of the WRA. The evacuated families stayed in bad conditions at the remote areas’ relocation camps in California, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Colorado and Utah which were under WRA’s control. Armed soldiers guarded the facilities with a barbed wire fence. At the time of the incarceration, these camps served as communities with about 8000 people within the barracks-like structures. People worked and studied from these facilities. The government controlled medical care, food provision and schools. Camp jobs were held regularly in agriculture and food service as well as medical clinics and teachers.

  • Postwar resettlement

This experience was also important at the time of the war. It was at this time that President Roosevelt rescinded the Executive Order. This led to the release of the Japanese Americans to the temporary resettlement facilities and housing. In 1946, camps were closed when the war came to an end. After being released, the internees had to start rebuilding lives. This was a difficult time for them especially when it came to bonding with the communities after the war. Most of them lost their liberties, homes, businesses, properties and savings. People who were born within Japan were not allowed to be US citizens until 1952.

The evacuation claims act was signed by President Truman in 1948. This provided for the Japanese Americans’ compensation for the economic losses that they suffered during incarceration. After the World War II, the Americans’ opinions about Japanese Americans changed because Japan underwent the rebuilding process with the help of US military. Japanese Americans were now popular for amiable relations, hard work and intelligence. These new perspectives changed the Americans minds and perception of their coexistence with the Japanese Americans.

These were some of the opinions that caused the receivership of their first generation that was naturalized to become the US citizens in 1953 via the McCarran-Walter Act. The efforts of rebuilding what was lost by the Japanese Americans had several constraints including the imprisonment memories that kept surfacing. Most of them needed justification of the harsh environments that they were put into at the time of the war.