Japanese American Interment

World War II caused many tragedies all over the world. One of them was the severe discrimination that Japanese Americans had to suffer due to the fact that the country of their ancestors was involved in the conflict with the U.S.

The attack on Pearl Harbor touched Americans deeply. Up until that point, the war was a phantom that, despite being scary, was not real in the mind of people because the devastation occurred on another continent and Americans were not directly involved in the conflict. This changed when the ugly face of the war turned to the U.S. Lives that were lost in the attack unified the nation in their sorrow, which quickly turned into hate. At this time, the government started with propaganda that was supposed to promote national unity and lift the morale of the people. It was not an easy thing to do, seeing as how young American soldiers got directly involved in the war effort and started to lose their lives on foreign shores. It is human nature to forget about personal conflicts when they have to unify against a common enemy. Therefore, it was essential to give them an enemy, as an abstract idea of fascist Germany was just not enough to rally the nation.

This is how Japanese American internment came around. The Japanese were the real enemy in the eyes of the Americans, as they were directly responsible for the attack that made the U.S. enter the war. As such, it was the face of a Japanese soldier that an average American envisioned when thinking about the war. This is why one national minority was excluded from the general mood of the American national unity that prevailed in the country. Japanese Americans were subjected to severe discrimination, which resulted in their interment after being officially approved by President Roosevelt in 1942. This is how concentration camps, which were the horror of Europe due to the fascists, came to be on American soil.

Although the conditions that the Japanese Americans were forced into during their internment were not as inhumane as the ones that the captives of war and Jews had to suffer on the European continent, the very fact that American people, regardless of their ancestry, were treated this was is abhorrent.

The order of segregation was officially revoked and Congress even tried to apologize to the Japanese Americans who survived the internment camps by awarding each $20,000 in 1988. However, the level of hostility towards this particular national minority was and still remains high.

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