Japanese interment camps, if you're like me, are unheard of. The camps happened during World War II. It was a sad situation that America seems to hide because there is no way to justify what they did. American citizens had their rights stripped away before their eyes. They were treated awful despite what the Constitution said.
Japanese interment camps began after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The repercussions of Pearl Harbor stereotyped Japanese people as untrustworthy. In February of 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 9066. It permitted the military to find a way around the constitutional safeguards of the American citizens. It was a form of "protection" for America. This led to the arrests of many Japanese Americans, citizen or non-citizen. They were forced to leave their jobs and many faced public attacks. Nearly two-thirds of the internees were U.S. citizens. There were a total of 127,000 relocated into the camps altogether.
After President Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 9066, he also authorized the evacuation and relocation of people from military bases. California, Washington, and Oregon were all declared military areas. This is when the process of relocating the Japanese began. Relocations were very upsetting and confusing. Japanese were required to register and receive a number of identification. The only had a few days to gather all that they could carry from their homes and businesses.
Until the camps were finished being made, they were held in places called “temporary centers.” These “centers” could be a horse stable at a racetrack or an animal stall at a fairground. The individuals had no privacy and all their daily needs had to be done in public facilities. The internees could be waiting for a week up to many months before being relocated to their assigned camp.
The camps were prison-like with barbed wire fencing and guards in watch towers. If anyone tried to flee, they would be shot. Numerous amounts of people, family or not, would be crammed into a small space for living quarters. Again, there was not any privacy. They were served mass produced grub to eat. In the summer, the camps were too hot, while in the winter, the camps were too cold. The adults had the choice to work for $5.00 a day. The government had hopes of the internees becoming self-sufficient and be able to raise and grow their own food. Adults also did things to make the living quarters better. The children were educated in schools that were provided.
Star Trek actor, George Takei, lived in an internment camp from the ages five through eight. He described it as a prison-like experience. He also stated that a lot of people died from disease and illnesses because they did not have adequate medical care. His experiences were similar to the ones listed above.
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