The Internment of Japanese Americans by David Robson

By David Robson

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Their property and possessions had been sold long ago; they had no jobs and little money. ”63 64 A massive mushroom-shaped cloud forms over Nagasaki, Japan, after US forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city on August 9, 1945. The US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki effectively ended the war with Japan. Many feared that they might again become victims of racism and prejudice. The WRA authorities had no choice but to let those in need of food and shelter stay on at the camps until they found somewhere to go.

Tateishi, whose father was wrongly implicated in the riot plot. “All night long, the searchlights swept the camp, and bands of men could be heard running past our barracks, shouting angrily. ”49 This sense of fear and alienation affected thousands of people in the camps. As a young man, Pat Morita was sent with his family to the Gila River internment camp in Arizona. Morita later became famous as an actor, best remembered for the 1984 movie The Karate Kid. He recalls his camp experience with bitterness and irony.

The Roosevelt administration no longer seriously feared a fifth column attack, and the war abroad appeared to be gradually winding down. But with the 1944 presidential election quickly approaching, the president wanted to protect himself—and his electoral chances— from any negative publicity. American internment policy would officially remain in place, but as more young internees left the camps under WRA leave programs, the practice would, Roosevelt believed, eventually come to an end. That June he said as much: “The more I think of this problem of suddenly ending the orders excluding Japanese Americans from the West Coast, the more I think it would be a mistake to do anything drastic or sudden.

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