1942 – U.S. President Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans.


Never forget …

Many Americans worried that citizens of Japanese ancestry would act as spies or saboteurs for the Japanese government.  Fear — not evidence — drove tPublicly posted instructions for Japanese-Americans to turn themselves inhe U.S. to place over 127,000 Japanese-Americans in concentration camps for the duration of WWII.War II. Their crime? Being of Japanese ancestry.

Despite the lack of any concrete evidence, Japanese Americans were suspected of remaining loyal to their ancestral land. Anti-Japanese paranoia increased because of a large Japanese presence on the West Coast. In the event of a Japanese invasion of the American mainland, Japanese Americans were feared as a security risk.

Succumbing to bad advice and popular opinion, President Roosevelt signed an executive order in February 1942 ordering the relocation of all Americans of Japanese ancestry to concentration camps in the interior of the United States.

Evacuation orders were posted in Japanese-American communities giving instructions on how to comply with the executive order. Many families sold their homes, their stores, and most of their assets. They could not be certain their homes and livelihoods would still be there upon their return. Because of the mad rush to sell, properties and inventories were often sold at a fraction of their true value.     Internment Camp BarracksAfter being forced from their communities, Japanese families made these military-style barracks their homes.

Until the camps were completed, many of the evacuees were held in temporary centers, such as stables at local racetracks. Almost two-thirds of the interns were Nisei, or Japanese Americans born in the United States. It made no difference that many had never even been to Japan. Even Japanese-American veterans of World War I were forced to leave their homes.

 

Relocation Camps

Most of the ten relocation camps were built in arid and semi-arid areas where life would have been harsh under even ideal conditions.orced to leave their homes.

Ten camps were finally completed in remote areas of seven western states. Housing was spartan, consisting mainly of tarpaper barracks. Families dined together at communal mess halls, and children were expected to attend school. Adults had the option of working for a salary of $5 per day. The United States government hoped that the interns could make the camps self-sufficient by farming to produce food. But cultivation on arid soil was quite a challenge.

Evacuees elected representatives to meet with government officials to air grievances, often to little avail. Recreational activities were organized to pass the time. Some of the interns actually volunteered to fight in one of two all-Nisei army regiments and went on to distinguish themselves in battle.

Fred Korematsu        Fred Korematsu challenged the legality of Executive Order 9066 but the Supreme Court ruled the action was justified as a wartime necessity. It was not until 1988 that the U.S. government attempted to apologize to those who had been interned.

Fred Korematsu decided to test the government relocation action in the courts. He found little sympathy there. In Korematsu vs. the United States, the Supreme Court justified the executive order as a wartime necessity. When the order was repealed, many found they could not return to their hometowns. Hostility against Japanese Americans remained high across the West Coast into the postwar years as many villages displayed signs demanding that the evacuees never return. As a result, the interns scattered across the country.

In 1988, Congress attempted to apologize for the action by awarding each surviving intern $20,000. While the American concentration camps never reached the levels of Nazi death camps as far as atrocities are concerned, they remain a dark mark on the nation’s record of respecting civil liberties and cultural differences.

ushistory.org

 

 

On February 19th 1942 Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066


World War Two – Japanese Internment Camps in the USA

State representatives put pressure on President Roosevelt to take action against those of Japanese descent living in the US.

On February 19th 1942 Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under the terms of the Order, some 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the US were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. The US justified their action by claiming that there was a danger of those of Japanese descent spying for the Japanese. However more than two thirds of those interned were American citizens and half of them were children. None had ever shown disloyalty to the nation. In some cases family members were separated and put in different camps. During the entire war only ten people were convicted of spying for Japan and these were all Caucasian.

“It was really cruel and harsh. To pack and evacuate in forty-eight hours was an impossibility. Seeing mothers completely bewildered with children crying from want and peddlers taking advantage and offering prices next to robbery made me feel like murdering those responsible without the slightest compunction in my heart.” Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara speaking of the Terminal Island evacuation.

They were housed in barracks and had to use communal areas for washing, laundry and eating. It was an emotional time for all. “I remember the soldiers marching us to the Army tank and I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because I could see this long knife at the end . . . I thought I was imagining it as an adult much later . . . I thought it couldn’t have been bayonets because we were just little kids.”  from “Children of the Camps”

Some internees died from inadequate medical care and the high level of emotional stress they suffered. Those taken to camps in desert areas had to cope with extremes of temperature.

The camps were guarded by military personnel and those who disobeyed the rules, or who were deemed to be troublesome were sent to the Tule Lake facility located in the North California Cascade Mountains. In 1943 those who refused to take the loyalty oath were sent to Tula Lake and the camp was renamed a segregation centre.

In 1943 all internees over the age of seventeen were given a loyalty test. They were asked two questions:

1. Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered? (Females were asked if they were willing to volunteer for the Army Nurse Corps or Women’s Army Corps.)

2. Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization?

In December 1944 Public Proclamation number 21, which became effective in January 1945, allowed internees to return to their homes. The effects of internment affected all those involved. Some saw the camps as concentration camps and a violation of the writ of Habeas Corpus, others though, saw internment as a necessary result of Pearl Harbor. At the end of the war some remained in the US and rebuilt their lives, others though were unforgiving and returned to Japan.

historyonthenet.com

1986 – The U.S. Senate approved a treaty outlawing genocide. The pact had been submitted 37 years earlier for ratification.


  • Participation in the Genocide Convention
    * Signed and ratified  
    *Acceded or succeeded

CHICAGO, NOV. 4 — More than four decades after the horror of the Nazi Holocaust, President Reagan made genocide a crime under U.S. law today, signing legislation implementing a 1948 treaty first endorsed by President Harry S Truman.

The Genocide Convention Implementation Act that Reagan signed in an unusual ceremony at O’Hare International Airport here adds the United States to a list of nearly 100 countries that have approved the United Nations pact.

With a group of Jewish leaders watching, Reagan said, “We gather today to bear witness to the past and learn from its awful example to make sure we are not condemned to relive its crimes.” Truman requested the Senate’s ratification of the treaty in 1949.

But it was not until 1986 that the Senate, breaking a conservative blockade that lasted for decades, gave its consent to the implementing legislation.

The House gave final approval to the measure in mid-October. The legislation meets the requirements under the treaty that signatory nations define genocide and make it a crime.
Under the law, any U.S. national or any person in the United States who kills members of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group with the specific intent of destroying that group “in whole or in substantial part, may spend his or her life in prison.”
The White House said that Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), who fervently supported the treaty for 19 years, was unable to attend.

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