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Japanese Internment Camps: A Misguided Step Towards “Winning The War”

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Presentation on theme: "Japanese Internment Camps: A Misguided Step Towards “Winning The War”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Japanese Internment Camps: A Misguided Step Towards “Winning The War”

2 Reading Handout Highlight 8 Facts you did not know about Japanese Internment Camps Provide 3 pieces of evidence from the article on why this event occurred Provide your perspective on whether you believe this incident violated constitutional rights

3 In the beginning of the US’s participation in World War II, the government commenced the internment of Japanese Americans in order to prevent possible sabotage from spies.

4 The government felt that this was a necessary step in order to protect the American people.

5 Although the government felt they were helping to ensure victory, they were really violating civil liberties and due process of law.

6 Their actions were in protest to Japan’s unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor. Their attempt to protect the American people was indirectly the result of an existing prejudice towards Japanese Americans.

7 The anti-Japanese sentiment started even before Pearl Harbor. It began with Japanese immigration in the 1890s and early 1900s, which white Americans called the “Yellow Flood.”

8 During this era, over 100,000 Japanese immigrants entered the US.

9 The white Americans saw the Japanese as economic competition for land and jobs, especially during the Great Depression. These circumstances created a strong and enduring resentment of Japanese immigrants and their descendents.

10 “Of all the races ineligible to [sic] citizenship, the Japanese are the least assimilable and the most dangerous to the country. … They come … for the purpose of colonizing and establishing here the proud Yamato race. They never cease to be Japanese.” -Valentine S. McClatchy, A wealthy California Newspaper owner testifying to Congress.

11 After the the unprovoked bombing of Pearl Harbor, the resentment towards the Japanese grew and evolved into an unfounded suspicion of treachery based more on racism than actual evidence.

12 Curtis Munson, a State Department employee who was sent to investigate the loyalty of the Japanese on the West coast, stated in his report:

13 “For the most part the local Japanese are loyal to the United States … We do not believe that they would be at the least any more disloyal than any other racial group in the United States with whom we went to war.” -Curtis Munson

14 Despite the findings of Munson and the FBI, the government placed restrictions on Japanese Americans and their movements. Later they passed Executive Order 9066 which allowed the military to evacuate anyone they felt was necessary and intern them in designated areas.

15 Lieutenant General John L. De Witt was the chief of the Western Defense Command, and as chief he was concerned with the “enemy” aliens in his area. Influenced by his superiors and his own personal bias, he was given power and even encouraged to relocate those he saw fit, most of them being of Japanese descent.

16 Identifying Propaganda In the You tube clip: see if you can identify the propaganda –Listen to what the message is saying –Tone and voice –Visual: how is the relocation being displayed?

17 Youtube Clip

18 Photo Analysis Activity







25 “A Jap is a Jap. They are a dangerous element … There is no way to determine their loyalty … It makes no difference whether he is an American; theoretically he is still a Japanese, and you can’t change him … by giving him a piece of paper.” - General De Witt, speaking to a congressional committee.

26 "[I pledge to] assume my duties and obligations as a citizen, cheerfully and without any reservations whatsoever, in the hope that I may become a better American in a greater America.” - Japanese American Citizens League Pledge

27 Although the government and the American people were suspicious of Japanese Americans and acted on these suspicions, no Japanese American was ever convicted of treason in support of Japan during World War II.

28 “[Though Japanese internment] was justified to us on the grounds that the Japanese were potentially disloyal, the record does not disclose a single case of Japanese disloyalty.” -Henry Steele Commager Writer for Harper’s Magazine

29 The military restrictions and incarceration of “enemy aliens” was not equally applied. The restrictions fell much harder on those of Japanese descent than those of Italian or German descent, even though the US was at war with Germany and Italy as well as Japan.

30 The incarceration of “enemy aliens” and the seizure of their property without justification violated due process of law. It singled out Japanese Americans for their ancestry and deprived them of equal protection under the law as stated in the Constitution.


32 Section One, Article Fourteen of the Constitution of the United States: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States … are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge [their] privileges and immunities … [nor] deprive life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to an person … the equal protection of the laws.”

33 All of these aforementioned pieces of evidence contributed to the wrongful and unnecessary mistreatment of Japanese citizens during World War II.

34 The American government’s actions towards Japanese Americans were rooted in a desire to protect the American people as a whole. Their good intentions were corrupted by existing prejudices and the pressures of the War.

35 Koremotzu v. US p. 768 and p. 998 Who won?

36 U.S. Compensation for Japanese Americans 1988: surviving internees receive $20,000 (60,000 left).

37 This war hysteria, coupled with the government’s and the people’s strong desire for a sense of control over the situation, resulted in the injustice perpetrated upon innocent American citizens.

38 This violation of civil rights is an example of “taking a stand” gone astray.

39 Letter Sent to Japanese Americans In 1990 from President Bush Sr.

40 Video on Internment Camps ZShq8&feature=related ZShq8&feature=related

41 Credits Quotations, Textual Information and Images: Korematsu v. United States: Japanese-American Internment Camps by Karen Alonso America’s Concentration Camps by Allan R. Bosworth Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and WWII by Roger Daniels Behind Barbed Wire, The Imprisonment of Japanese Americans During World War II by Daniel S. Davis Behind Barbed Wire, The Story of Japanese-American Internment During World War II by Lila Perl “Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II” – Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum Oracle Thinkquest Online Library College of Behavioral and Social Science

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