Japanese-American Internment - Summary

America’s relationship with Japan, a former ally and friend, was spinning out of control during the summer of 1941. The two countries disagreed, among other things, about Japan’s conquests in China.

Lacking important natural resources, the Japanese Empire needed American oil and other goods. Seeing that as a bargaining chip, the United States placed an embargo on Japan.

Japan did not back down. When America cut off all oil shipments, government officials in Tokyo vowed to get their own oil - by conquering Southeast Asia.

On the 18th of August, Congressman John Dingell of Michigan sent a letter to President Roosevelt. He had an idea which might cause Japanese officials to change their minds about Asian conquests.

What if the U.S. government rounded up 10,000 Japanese-Americans who lived in Hawaii? What if America incarcerated those people? Maybe such action would ensure Japan’s “good behavior.”

By early the next year, Dingell’s suggestion took flight - with FDR’s blessing. America would round up her citizens of Japanese ancestry, and incarcerate them in some manner.

Before long, more than 112,000 people were in internment camps surrounded by watch towers and barbed wire. Even the United States Supreme Court approved, in Korematsu v United States.

In this story behind the famous case, step back in time to discover what happened during “relocation” of Japanese-Americans. See hundreds of pictures, from America’s national archives, which show the impact of the government’s action on the lives of ordinary people.

Observe children, in their best clothes, leaving their homes. Read headlines of the day and see shops which were forced to close. Virtually visit internment camps where many U.S. citizens were forced to live during the war. Learn why Justice Frank Murphy called the relocation a “legalization of racism,” and discover when the country finally apologized for what happened.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Feb 19, 2017

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"Japanese-American Internment" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2002. Sep 16, 2019.
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