America and World War II Essay
It should be noted that internment order for all Japanese Americans came few weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack. Before the attack, Americans had racial prejudice and economic envy towards Japanese. The Pearl Harbor solidified such attitudes. Americans, especially leaders were also fearful of the impending attack from Japanese military and perceived the Japanese as a national security risk and had to be placed under guard in isolated places (Japanese-American Internment, 2014). Whether or not the internment was appropriate is something that is not clear to many. This paper tries to resolve this controversy. The justification is based on the thesis statement that the internment of all Japanese Americans was not the best measure.
Before justifying the thesis statement, it is important to critically analyze the factors that contributed to the internment of the Japanese Americans. Existing sources reveals that the decision to evacuate and remove Japanese living on the West Coast was not based only on the Pearl Harbor disaster. It was partly as a result of anti-Japanese sentiment from the early part of the twentieth century. The Americans perceived Japanese as enemy aliens and hence were considered a potential threat to national security during wartime (Hirabayashi, 1999). This perception was worsened by the fact that there were arms found in Japanese homes and businesses when they were searched by FBI shortly after Pearl Harbor. Another factor that supported the internment is the fact that most Japanese were concentrated in close proximity to highly sensitive military areas. In addition, there was presence of Japanese ethnic organizations that was bound to support the Japanese emperor and the county. Americans also feared the presence of Kibei. Although Kibei appeared to be loyal to America, it was feared that this group of second-generation Japanese Americans was likely to be pro-Japanese.
Despite the many claims and justification that Japanese Americans were perceived as security threat, I believe that imposing internment to the Japanese was not the best solution. This is because not all Japanese Americans were involved in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In fact most of Japanese testified that they were totally unaware of the plan and attack. One of the Japanese American once testified “We were frightened, but…we frantically wanted to do what was American. We were Americans and loyal citizens, and we wanted to do what Americans should be doing. So we were wrapping Red Cross bandages and trying to do what we could to help our country. In fact there is a group or Japanese League called the Japanese American Citizens League which was a strong pro-American voice in the Japanese American community. A closer look at this league reveals that the members, which are mainly Japanese Americans were doing all they can to prove their loyalty. In addition, a study conducted by government intelligence had already found out that Japanese were not likely to be a national security threat. In addition, intelligence information gathered by Chicago businessman Curtis B. Munson, who was a special representative of the State Department, reveals that “There will be no armed uprising of Japanese…” He adds that most Japanese are loyal to the United States. His research was based on interview with Naval intelligence, British Intelligence and FBI agents in Hawaii. I also believe that the “enemy alien problem” was just an issue of an attitude that came about are a result of fear and not reason.
Keywords: American and World War 2 Essays, Term Papers, Research Papers
Hirabayashi, G. (1999). A Japanese American War Hero. Recalls Pearl Harbor. Document 25-2
Japanese-American Internment. (2014). Retrieved July 27, 2015, from