Was Executive Order 9066 Justified? Ryan Bettencourt American History CHA 3U Mr.G. Carbone January, 19th, 2018 Racism has been shown to be prevalent throughout human history, and there have been conflicts because one group of people think they were more superior than ‘lesser humans’ During conflicts racism is especially prevalent, groups call the people of another ethnicity derogatory names or they imprison them based on their appearance. This usually led to resentment and violence toward the oppressor. After the attacks on Pearl Harbor Americans were very afraid of spies living among them. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 into law, which put all Japanese Americans or people of Japanese descent into internment camps. Was Executive Order 9066 justified? An examination of racial profiling, hardships, and constitutional violations will prove that Executive Order 9066 was unjustified. Many people agree that Executive Order 9066 was wrong and it should not have been implemented because it was racially profiling Japanese Americans. This was shown through hysteria, racism, and false pretenses. Firstly, Americans were very hysterical. During the Second World War people were scared that some of the Japanese who were living in the United States, may be spying on the US or that they had sympathies for Japan’s war cause. And that made the Americans very suspicious. “In the days after the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941, suspicion fell on Japanese American communities in the western United States.” 1 Secondly, the law was racist. They interned the Japanese who lived in the United States for generations. Executive Order 9066 did not just put Japanese immigrants in internment camps, they also put American citizens in those camps. “Within a week the Nisei (U.S.-born sons and daughters of Japanese immigrants) of southern California’s Terminal Island had been ordered to vacate their homes, leaving behind all but what they could carry.” 2 Thirdly, they were imprisoned on false pretenses. The vast majority of the Japanese living in the U.S were not a threat to national security. The executive order stated that the law was to “protect against espionage and against sabotage to national defense materials,” 3 which was a completely outrageous claim, since many Japanese Americans did not have the thought to even turn against the United States. “Action, in fact, had already been taken. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Office of Naval Intelligence had compiled lists of likely security risks before the war.” 4 In conclusion, Executive Order 9066 was unjustified because it was racially profiling the Japanese living in the U.S. On the other hand, people argue Executive Order 9066 was justified because of the threat, espionage, and national security. Firstly, the threat of more attacks. Many Americans believed that the Japanese were a threat. The attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S was caught by surprise and this left the majority of their navy fleet destroyed. Americans were worried about more attacks on the mainland U.S would happen after Pearl Harbor. “After the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese aircraft on December 7, 1941, the U.S. War Department suspected that Japanese Americans might act as saboteurs.” 5 Secondly, the threat of espionage. Some Americans believed that Japanese Americans were disloyal to the United States and that they would be helping Japan and plot more attacks. There was a lot of fear so people protested to remove Japanese Americans from the West Coast. So, to make sure the American people were safe Executive Order 9066 was signed. “Executive Order 9066 was designed to protect against espionage and sabotage, and there was no time to weed loyal from disloyal residents. Time and speed were of the essence. American blood had been spilled.” 6 Thirdly, a risk to national security. Americans thought that Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans would rise up and threaten national security. This was a real fear for the West Coast since there was a large Japanese American population there. This made government officials argue that there should be something passed to prevent such an event. “At the outset of World War II military and government officials strongly believed that aliens, as well as citizens, of Japanese descent on the U.S. West Coast posed a grave security risk. These authorities argued vehemently that a strong “fifth column” would soon rise and threaten national security.” 7 In conclusion, some people argue Executive Order 9066 was justified because of a threat, espionage, and national security. It was agreed upon that the hardships the Japanese faced during and after the war was completely unnecessary, and it was wrong. This can be seen through a lot of racism, loss of personal belongings, and helplessness. Firstly, the Japanese faced a lot of racism. When the Japanese were able to leave the internment camps they faced a lot of push back from Anti-Japanese groups not wanting them to resettle. The goal of these Anti-Japanese groups was to prevent Japanese Americans from settling the west coast again “During internment, various anti-Japanese groups formed up and down the West Coast. In Seattle, the two most prominent anti-Japanese groups were the Remember the Pearl Harbor League (RPHL) and the Japanese Exclusion League (JEL).” 8 Secondly, they lost their homes and personal belongings. When the executive order was enacted and people were forced from their homes, they were only able to bring whatever they can hold or put in a suitcase. This meant a lot of their personal belongings were left behind. George Takei talks about when he was taken away to the camps “I remembered some people who lived across the street from our home as we were being taken away. When I was a teenager, I had many after-dinner conversations with my father about our internment. He told me that after we were taken away, they came to our house and took everything. We were literally stripped clean.” 9 Thirdly, people suffered from distress in the internment camps. A lot of people who were stuck in the camps felt very helpless in their situation, due to the barren location of the camps, and the lack of running water in rooms. “for most internees they must have seemed as alien as the surface of the moon. Life in the camps had a military flavor; internees slept in barracks or small compartments with no running water, took their meals in vast mess halls, and went about most of their daily business in public.” 10 In conclusion, Executive Order 9066 caused people hardships which included, the loss of jobs, loss of property, and helplessness. Thirdly, Executive Order 9066 violated the Constitution and it was very clear it did. It is shown through the violation of the 5th Amendment, 6th Amendment, and 14th Amendment. Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes, they were never given a trial in court to appeal this, and they were imprisoned without a trial. The Fifth Amendment states that, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.”11 It can be said that the Japanese didn’t get this right, but instead they were forcibly removed from their homes without trial. Secondly, they violated the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment states that “in all criminal prosecution, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial journey of the state and district where a crime shall have been committed.” 12 Japanese Americans did not have a fair nor speedy trial, they did not even receive one instead, they were sent away for the fact that they were Japanese. “Japanese Americans who were picked up in the FBI sweep were denied a speedy trial or access to any legal representative. They could not call upon witnesses nor confront accusatory witnesses.” 13Thirdly, Executive Order 9066 violated the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment states that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or poverty, without due process of law.” 14 As shown, the executive order completely disregarded the 14th Amendment by depriving the liberty of Japanese Americans and sent them to camps where they were not able to leave. “Nearly 70,000 of the evacuees were American citizens. The government made no charges against them, nor could they appeal their incarceration. All lost personal liberties; most lost homes and property as well.” 15 To conclude, violations of the 5th Amendment, 6th Amendment, and 14th Amendment prove that Executive Order 9066 was unjustified. It has been shown that Executive Order 9066 was unjustified because of, racial profiling, hardships, and constitutional violation. Japanese Americans were targeted for the way they look and thrown in internment camps with no reason. They experienced hardships with the loss of their livelihoods and freedoms. And they were unconstitutionally imprisoned without any fair trial or appeal process. Years later the U.S government recognized its wrongdoing in interning Japanese Americans and apologized to the people and families who were impacted. To conclude, persecuting people because of their identity only leads to tension and resentment. Notes1.”Executive Order 9066.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Last modified 2017. Accessed December 27, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Executive-Order-9066.2. “Executive Order 9066.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Last modified 2017. Accessed December 27, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Executive-Order-9066.3.Siteseen. “Executive Order 9066.” american-historama. Last modified 2017. Accessed January 15, 2018. http://www.american-historama.org/ 1929-1945-depression-ww2-era/executive-order-9066.htm.4. “Japanese Internment: Was the Internment of Japanese Americans Justified During World War II?” History in Dispute, edited by Robert J. Allison, vol. 3: American Social and Political Movements, 1900-1945: Pursuit of Progress, St. James Press, 2000, pp. 102-109. U.S. History in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2876300021/WHIC?u=imgacademy&xid=02128784. Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.5.Encyclopedia Britannica. “Japanese American Internment.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed January 15, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/event/ Japanese-American-internment.6.Japanese Internment: Was the Internment of Japanese Americans Justified During World War II?” History in Dispute, edited by Robert J. Allison, vol. 3: American Social and Political Movements, 1900-1945: Pursuit of Progress, St. James Press, 2000, pp. 102-109. U.S. History in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2876300021/WHIC?u=imgacademy&xid=02128784. Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.7.Japanese Internment: Was the Internment of Japanese Americans Justified During World War II?” History in Dispute, edited by Robert J. Allison, vol. 3: American Social and Political Movements, 1900-1945: Pursuit of Progress, St. James Press, 2000, pp. 102-109. U.S. History in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2876300021/WHIC?u=imgacademy&xid=02128784. Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.8.Speidel, Jennifer. “After Internment: Seattle’s Debate over Japanese Americans Right to Return Home.” Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project. Last modified 2017. Accessed December 27, 2017. https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/after_internment.htm.9.A&E Television Networks L.L.C. “Japanese Internment Camp Survivors: In Their Own Words (PHOTOS).” Biography. Last modified February 16, 2017. Accessed December 27, 2017. https://www.biography.com/news/japanese-internment-survivors-stories-75th-anniversary-photos.10.Library of Congress. “Immigration… Japanese.” Library of Congress. Last modified 2018. Accessed January 16, 2018. https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/alt/japanese4.html.11. .U.S. Const. amend. V § 1, cl. 1 (amended 1791). 12. U.S. Const. amend. VI § 1 (amended 1791).13.Ostgard, Koleen, Chris Smart, Tom McGuire, Madeline Lanz, and Timothy A. Hodson, Dr. “Japanese American Internment Curriculum.” Japanese American Internment Curriculum. Last modified May 2, 2000. Accessed December 27, 2017. http://online.sfsu.edu/jaintern/rightsviolated.html.14.U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1, cl. 2.(amended 1868).15. “Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942).” ourdocuments.gov.Accessed December 27, 2017.https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=74.