On Dec. 17, 1944, Major General Henry Pratt issued Proclamation No. 21, declaring that effective Jan. 2, 1945, interred Japanese and Japanese-Americans would be allowed to return to their homes.
This order brought to an end a tragic episode in American history.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there were fears that Japan would move on to attack the West Coast of the United States, and that the more-than-100,000 Japanese and Japanese descent residents in that area might abet such an invasion. Anyone of Japanese descent was therefore ordered to evacuate away from coastal areas, and those who did not were relocated into internment camps, where they remained until the end of the war.
During the war, 10 Americans were convicted of spying for Japan, but not one was of Japanese ancestry.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill compensating survivors of the camps, and apologized on behalf of the American government.
- Do you think something like this could happen again if a major war were to break out?
- Why do you think Germans residing in the U.S. were investigated individually, but Japanese were treated collectively?
- Do you think loyalty to the principles of the United States should be a requirement for living here? If so, how should one test this? If not, should different treatment be given to people with different understandings of their loyalty and obligations to the regime?
Lange, Dorothea. [Photograph Japanese children holding the American Flag]. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/learning/lesson-plans/teaching-japanese-american-internment-using-primary-resources.html