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World History: Japanese Internment Camps

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Throughout history with hunts have been a sadly common trend, people being “hunted” and persecuited for their religious beliefs, their culture, and just simply being themselves. Witch hunts throughout history have ruined lives and served as a scapegoat for difficult situations. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Americans went into a panic they believed that Americans of Japanese descent would turn on their new Country and fight for their “homeland” Japan. So Americans reactively to the Pearl Harbor bombing and turned on their Japanese American counterparts and went on a witch hunt so to speak for them. Japanese Americans were forced to get rid of family heirlooms such as samurai swords, they had to sell their homes, quit their jobs and were forced to be held in isolated camps. This was allowed to happen because the president at the time Franklin Rosevelt established executive order 9066 this stated: Americans of Japanese descent were to be held in internment camps. These camps and the isolation of Japanese Americans now that we look back on it was a very shameful time of American history.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a tragic event in American history. Pearl Harbor was a naval base near Honolulu Hawaii and on December seventh 1941 it was the sight of a massacre. Japanese fighter planes rushed to the naval base and dropped their bombs, nearly twenty American naval vessels were either damaged or destroyed, three hundred fighter plans fell to the ground, and nearly 3,400 Americans were either wounded or killed (more killed). The next day Franklin Rosevelt asked congress to declare war on Japan. This whole ordeal led to mass hysteria across America that Japanese Americans would turn against them. So a modern day witch hunt occurred, because the definition of a witch hunt is: a campaign directed against a person or group due to a superficial reason. This was precisely what was happening, American used Japanese Americans as scapegoats for their fear and rage against Japan, Americans accused Japanese Americans of conspiring to turn against them. People who were of Japanese descent but had lived their whole lives in America were persecuted and sent to these internment camps with horribly disgraceful conditions.

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The effects of this example of a modern witch hunt were awful. When Japanese Americans were slowly released from the internment camps it was essentially impossible to go back to their normal lives once they were out. They were still persecuted in their everyday lives and it was hard for them to find homes and things like that, considering the fact that they had to sell their homes for incredibly low prices this is not surprising. After all was said and done in the end only ten people were actually convicted of conspiring against the U.S. and helping Japan. But these citizens all ten were not even of Japanese descent, so the internment camps were really just an incredibly racist unnecessary percusion.

In the end this Japanese American witch hunt was just born out of ignorance and the need for control. The Japanese Americans were certainly not guilty of what they were being accused of. The executive order 9066 that was put into place was really just a legal coverup for an incredibly racist period of time. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Americans just needed the feeling of control over their lives and themselves, so they came to the conclusion that the only way to have this sense of control that they felt they had lost was to take away other people’s sense of security. So these internment camps were created to control Japanese Americans, but that may not even be the worst part, the worst part is the fact that after this whole ordeal was said and done these Japanese American men, women, and children couldn’t go back to their old lives it was practically impossible. So they had to struggle to restablish themselves, which was very difficult considering the fact that establishing themselves in the first place was hard enough. 

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