History Essay

Japanese internment camps

The Japanese internment in the United States was the forced incarceration and relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II. In particular, more than 130,000 citizens of Japanese-American origin were incarcerated at internment camps in America on suspicion that they were loyal to Japan or because they were of Japanese ancestry. The government feared that a potential Japanese invasion of America’s West Coast, which had a high population of the Japanese-Americans could result in the Japanese-American population declaring their loyalty to Japan. As such, in 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order, commonly referred to as Executive Order 9066, which forced the Japanese into concentration camps. These camps have commonly been referred to as the Japanese internment camps. This article provides several facts relating to these camps. These facts show that there was no justification for the unfair treatment that was meted out against Japanese Japanese-Americans.


            Statistics compiled by Dudley (12) reveals that more than 65 percent of the people of Japanese descent who were forced into the internment camps during World War II was born in America. In addition, most of these people had never visited Japan; hence, just like any other American citizen, they did not know much about Japan. Dudley (12) also reveals that the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was one of the main factors that facilitated the construction of the internment camps and the forceful imprisonment of people in the camps. Since the camps had not been completed at the time President Roosevelt signed the order, most of the prisoners were initially relocated to temporary shelters, including racetracks and stables.

            Overall, 16 temporary shelters, including 13 assembly centers in California, were opened to accommodate about 92,000 Japanese women, children, and men until more permanent camps (internment camps) were completed. These people had to leave behind all their possessions including homes and businesses. American World War I veterans of Japanese descent were among the people forced into the internment camps in 1942 (Dudley 12). Precisely, the government built 10 internment camps for the Japanese and Japanese-Americans living in the country. These camps were located in rural regions across seven states in the western United States including Idaho, California, Utah, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Wyoming. Besides, these camps were constructed in regions that made it extremely difficult for the prisoners to farm; therefore, the prisoners were mainly forced to eat the grub.

            Fortunately, these internment camps had mess halls, schools, and barracks. Besides, adults could choose to work for about five dollars per day. Nevertheless, life here was extremely uncomfortable and difficult, as people had to endure extremely cold temperatures during winter and hot temperatures during summer. Although the prisoners had the option of leaving the camps if they agreed to join the U.S Army, only a few prisoners (roughly 1,200) took this option. Two years later, in 1944, President Roosevelt was forced to rescind the order, allowing the people to leave the internment camps. Correspondingly, the U.S government closed down the last internment camp in 1945.

            In conclusion, as demonstrated above, the Japanese and Japanese Americans endured painful experiences while at the internment camps. The internment camps were not only too cold or hot depending on the prevailing weather patterns, but were also located in regions unfavorable for farming and other agricultural practices. Most importantly, the unfair treatment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans were not justified.

Works Cited

Dudley, William. Japanese American Internment Camps. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,    2012. Print.    

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