Japanese Internment Camps During WWII The perspectives of the Japanese Americans and the US government

Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II Journey Box

4th grade

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, launched a rash of fear about national security, especially on the West Coast. In February 1942, President Roosevelt issued an executive order, 9066, to relocate all persons of Japanese ancestry, both citizens and noncitizens to different internment camps. They were forced to move to locations in California, Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado. From the perspectives of President Roosevelt, the objectives of the order were to prevent espionage and to protect persons of Japanese descent from harm at the hands of Americans who had strong anti-Japanese attitudes. However, from the Japanese Americans perspectives, the executive order affected their lives. They were forced out of school and work. The order affected 117,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were native-born citizens of the United States. This journey box will present you with the perspectives of Japanese Americans and “the rest of America” during the ordeal.

Your journey will begin by looking at a government issued poster (Doc. A). It shows that during World War II, the government did not trust the people of Japanese ancestry, fearing that they were spies for Japan. Next, you will see another a government issued poster (Doc. B). The government ordered all persons of Japanese ancestry to be relocated to internment camps. They were only given seven days to prepare for the move. In (Doc. C), you will compare a before-and-after photo of a second-grade classroom in Seattle. It shows that the classroom was half empty when the Japanese students were gone due to the executive order. Next, you will read a first-person account quote (Doc. D) that shows what it was like living in a camp behind a barbed wire fence. You will also see what had happened when the Japanese Americans returned to their homes (Doc. E). Lastly, you will also analyze a first-person account (Doc. F) of life before, during, and after the internment camp. It shows how the experience at the internment camp negatively impacted a Japanese American's life.

Japanese Internment Camp Sites

Through these six primary sources, you will see the different perspectives of the U.S. government and Japanese Americans. It is important to look at the perspectives of Japanese Americans because at the time, the majority of Americans thought that putting Japanese Americans in internment camps was a patriotic and good thing to do. It was many years later that people recognize how wrong it was to put people in internment camps simply of because of their ethnicity, with the government acknowledged in 1988 the injustice of the internment, and apologized for it. These six primary sources will provide you an understanding of what the Japanese Americans had to go through, from a first-person perspective.

Doc. A

Doc. A

Citation: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/535391

DBQs

1. What do you see in the poster?

2. What is the poster’s message? What is it that trying to tell people about?

3. Why does it say “Don’t discuss your job” in the poster?

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Doc. B

Doc. B

Citation: https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/japanese-relocation/images/order-posting.gif

DBQs

1. What do you see in the poster?

2. How would you feel if you were a Japanese American and saw poster during WWII?

3. Why would the U.S. government do this to Japanese Americans?

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Doc. C

Doc. C How the evacuation of Japanese from Seattle would affect a second grade class in a local school is shown in these two views in Seattle, Washington, on March 27, 1942. At the top is a crowded classroom with many Japanese pupils and at the bottom is the same class without the Japanese students.

Citation: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/08/world-war-ii-internment-of-japanese-americans/100132/#img06

DBQS

1. Where are they?

2. Why were some students missing in the picture below?

3. Compare both pictures. What are the similarities and differences?

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Doc. D

"We saw all these people behind the fence, looking out, hanging onto the wire, and looking out because they were anxious to know who was coming in. But I will never forget the shocking feeling that human beings were behind this fence like animals [crying]. And we were going to also lose our freedom and walk inside of that gate and find ourselves…cooped up there…when the gates were shut, we knew that we had lost something that was very precious; that we were no longer free." Mary Tsukamoto

Doc. D

Citation: http://amhistory.si.edu/ourstory/activities/internment/more.html

DBQS

1. What kind of primary source is this? A participant account - quotes? A journal?

2. How did the this person feel once she was behind the gates?

3. What can we learn from this source?

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Doc. E

Doc. E

Citation: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/08/world-war-ii-internment-of-japanese-americans/100132/#img44

DBQs

1. What do you see in the picture?

2. Where are they?

3. How do you think they feel after seeing the graffiti?

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Doc. F

Doc. F

Citation: http://people.uwec.edu/ivogeler/w188/life.htm

DBQs

1. What kind of primary source is this? A letter? A journal?

2. How do you think the author felt when he was in the internment camp?

3. What effect did the internment camp have on the author?

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