Japanese Internment Camps

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World War II

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Japanese Internment Camps

Internment for the Innocent?

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Americans were frightened and made inequitable decisions against Japanese-Americans.


Japanese attack Pearl Harbor

Feb. 19, 1942

May 9, 1942



Executive Order 9066 andCivilian Exclusion Order No.27 unwelcome Japanese

The Japanese leave their homes and go to the internemnt camps by train.

Japanese Internment Camps in the USA

Internment camps are shut down and people start packing their suitcases to go back home.

President Roosevelt lifts Civilian ExclusionOrder No.27

Nov. 111944

Evacuation Claims Actprovided partialrepayment for lost ordestroyed property of anyperson that was in aninternment camp.

Japanese-American Internment

A great number of Americans unwelcomed the Japanese, before, and after the Japanese were ordered into the internment camps.

Explanation andmap of internmentcamps.

Loyalty QuestionaireQuestions: ninth paragraphdown.

The majority of the Japanese Americans in the internment camps had to stay where they were and could not do anything outside of the barbed wire fence. They would do a lot to preoccupy themselves. Some camps offered jobs for the Japanese Americans and would pay them from eight to nineteen dollars a month. While the adults worked, the kids went to school. Each camp functioned as a school district for first graders to students in high school. Athletic competitions, theater companies, dances, and Boy Scout troops were some of the activities the people in the camps could attend. Some Japanese Americans played ping pong, badminton, and cards. They also participated in hobby and talent shows and arts and crafts (Jones). During the struggle of being in the internment camps, the Japanese did whatever it took to absorb themselves in activities that would take their mind off of the war and the terrible lives they were living.

While some people stayed inside the internment camps, others went into combat. There were 30,000 Japanese Americans that were eligible to serve in the war for the United States. In order to serve, they had to pass a loyalty questionnaire. Some men, called “no-no boys”, were jailed for resisting the draft into the war (Carnes 100). Out of the number of Japanese Americans who served for the United States, 5,000 people became MIS language specialists who translated call signs, code names, and battle plans for enemy naval, air units, and bases. Another 3,700 men served in combat zones. Some men, chaplains and medics, were only armed with a prayer book or a medic’s bag and were seen as one of the U.S. Army’s secret weapons. The average Japanese solider was 5’ 4” in height and weighed 125 pounds. They were very small and their uniforms had to be altered to fit (Jones). The Japanese had the option to serve for the U.S. in order to get out of the dreadful camps.

The Japanese have gone through an era of bigotry in the United States. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. This caused great dispute because it was unexpected and Civilian Executive Order Number 27 unwelcomed the Japanese. The order was issued in April, 1942 and about a month later, the Japanese were forced to leave their homes. Some Americans were utterly against the compulsory act of forcing the Japanese to move out of their homes. Others wanted the Japanese gone. They displayed their feelings toward the Japanese by hanging signs up that said that the Japanese weren’t welcome, that the Japs should keep moving, and this is a white man’s neighborhood. After the Japanese left their homes, they were compelled to the internment camps. They were allowed to take anything that they could carry in their two hands. Some people tried to take suitcases but they were a lot to handle and took much effort to lug around (Carnes 92-100). It was a very difficult for some of the Japanese to leave all they have known. The struggles the Japanese had to face were very tragic

Life after World War 11 was very difficult for the Japanese Americans who were just freed from the internment camps. Although, each individual received a 25 dollar payment and a transportation ticket, the homes and businesses of the Japanese Americans were lost. A lot of people vied for jobs and would do anything to earn the money they thought they deserved. When they returned to their neighborhoods, some communities welcomed old neighbors home. Other communities vandalized some of the things the Japanese Americans owned and threatened life and property against them (Carnes 92-100). In 1948, The Evacuation Claims Act provided partial repayment for the lost or destroyed property of the Japanese Americans. Twenty-eight years later, President Gerald Ford revoked Executive Order 9066 and formally apologized to the Japanese Americans (Jones). The Japanese found it very difficult to accept the late apology after what they were put through many years ago. The years after the Japanese were released from the internment camps were very troubling. They had to go through the terrible struggles of living in the internment camps. The Japanese ate food they were not accustomed to, they lived in bizarre conditions, and could only do so much to occupy themselves. A great number of them were allowed to serve in the war for the United States. They were unwelcomed and some communities did not accept their return. The Japanese Americans wanted nothing more than to be accepted after they came home from the internment camps. Some people did not even have a home because the homes were lost. They believed that they did not deserve what they were forced into. The Japanese Americans will always remember the stress and torture they were put through in the 1940s.

The West Coast was divided into 108 exclusion areas and all residents, aliens and citizens, of Japanese Americans were ordered to report to a central point in their neighborhoods. They were then sent to internment camps. The camps were not suitable for the myriad of Japanese Americans. Some camps served rice, macaroni, and potatoes while others served kidneys, livers, chitterlings, gizzard, tongues, brains, discolored cold cuts, over boiled Swiss chard, and moldy bread (Jones). In one camp, the Tanforan Racetrack, people were forced to live in small, crowded horse stalls. There was manure, horse hair, and dirt everywhere. There were no ceilings and the Japanese Americans had to sleep on hay for mattresses. It was very uncomfortable for them and they lived in terrible conditions. In another internment camp, in Topaz, Utah, the life there was a little bit better than in Tanforan. Although it was dry, dusty, and lifeless, it was a lot cleaner. The Japanese Americans there had bigger and better barracks. There was only one light bulb and there were no chairs or tables. There was very harsh and frigid weather in the winter and scorching weather in the summer (Carnes 99). The Japanese Americans had to suffer through the weather and the unsanitary barracks of the internment camps.


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