The internment of Japanese-Americans in pictures, 1942-1944

The detention of Japanese-Americans in camps during World War II was one of the most prominent violations of civil liberties in American history. According to the 1940 census, 127,000 individuals of Japanese descent lived in the United States, most of whom lived on the West Coast.
A third were born in Japan, and in some states could not own land, could not naturalize as citizens, or could not vote. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan in December 1941, rumors about a conspiracy among Japanese-Americans to sabotage the war effort were fueled by racial prejudice.

In early 1942, the Roosevelt administration was pressured to remove people of Japanese descent from the West Bank, seeking to end Japanese competition, a public fear of sabotage, an unpopular group, and a stand against military officials. the politicians expected to be.

On February 19, 1942, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which forced all Japanese-Americans, regardless of loyalty or citizenship, to evacuate to the West Coast. No comparable order applied to Hawaii, which had one-third of its population being Japanese-Americans, or to Americans of German and Italian descent.

Ten internment camps were established in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas, which eventually housed 120,000 people. Many were forced to sell their property at a huge loss before departure.

Social problems that surrounded the apprentices: the older Issi (immigrants) were deprived of their traditional honor when their child, the Nisi (of American descent), were allowed solitary authority positions within the camps. 5,589 Nisi renounced their US citizenship, although a federal judge later ruled that the renunciation made behind barbed wire was void.

Some 3,600 Japanese-Americans entered the armed forces from the camps, as did another 22,000 who lived in Hawaii or outside the transfer area. The renowned All-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team won many decorations for its actions in Italy and Germany.

In January 1944, a Supreme Court decision halted the detention of American citizens without cause, and the exclusion order was rescinded, and Japanese Americans began to leave the camps, most to rebuild their former lives. were returning home. The last camp closed in 1946.

In 1980, under increasing pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and deterrence organizations, President Jimmy Carter launched an investigation to determine whether the government's decision to house Japanese Americans in internment camps was justified. He appointed the Commission on Wartime Rehabilitation and the Detention of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate the camps.

The commission's report, titled Personal Justice Denied, found little evidence of Japanese allegiance at the time and concluded that the imprisonment was a product of racism. It recommended that the government pay compensation to the survivors.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which apologized for the detention on behalf of the US government and authorized the payment of $20,000 (equivalent to $41,000 in 2016) to each camp survivor.

The law acknowledged that government action was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and the failure of political leadership". The US government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion (equivalent to $3,240,000,000 in 2016) in compensation to the 82,219 Japanese Americans who were interned and their heirs.

Of the 127,000 Japanese Americans living in the continental United States at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 112,000 lived on the West Coast. There were approximately 80,000 Nisei (literally: "second generation"; American-born Japanese with American citizenship) and Sansei ("third generation"; children of Nisei). The rest of the Issei ("first generation") were immigrants born in Japan who migrated to the U.S. U.S. under law were ineligible for citizenship.

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