apologize, California, internment, Japanese American, Manzanar, National Historic Site, Pearl Harbor, Perl Harbor, reparation, Ronald Reagan, San-Francisco, United States, War Relocation Camps, World War II
After Japanese attack on Perl Harbor over 110 000 Americans of Japanese descent were forced to leave their houses during 48 hours and were sent to so called War Relocation Camps. It was done as a measure of revenge. People didn’t trust Japanese Americans. Some of them were even accused of being aware of air raids on Perl Harbor. In fact they didn’t know anything about it. Moreover they accepted themselves as citizens of the United States. The famous picture depicts a huge banner saying I Am an American that was hung over the window by a man of Japanese descent. The picture was taken just before his internment.
Even though it was well known that Japanese Americans were innocent anyway they had to leave their houses. Many of them lived at the time in the state of California namely in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. The camps where they were kept were surrounded by wire. Those who tried to escape were shot extrajudicially.
Mostly Japanese Americans were kept in Manzanar camp, California. It was opened in 1945 and closed in 3 years. Nowadays the place serves as the National Historic Site.
The infamous and absolutely unfair internment of Japanese Americans lasted until 1943. In fact the last camp was shut down in 1946. At the time many of the inmates were allowed to leave the camps to work. Later some of the inmates even served in the US Army.
Only in the late 1980s the government officially apologized and paid reparations to people who had to come through humiliating procedure of internment. President Ronald Reagan admitted, “Yes, the nation was then at war, struggling for its survival. And it’s not for us today to pass judgment upon those who may have made mistakes while engaged in that great struggle. Yet we must recognize that the internment of Japanese-Americans was just that, a mistake”.