Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday's History Lesson: 1983 report on the findings of the aftermath of the Japanese American Internment

The following excerpt is taken from page 111 in the book Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress by Mitchell T. Maki, Harry H.L. Kitano, and S Megan Berthold. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999:

"The commission [Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, abbreviated to CWRIC] released its unanimous findings in February 1983 in a 467-page report entitled Personal Justice Denied. The major finding of this report concerned the nature of the incarceration:
The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity. . . The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership. Widespread ignorance of Japanese Americans contributed to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan. A grave injustice was done to American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them, were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.

The CWRIC documented the extensive economic and intangible losses Japanese Americans suffered. The commission estimated that the total losses of income and property incurred by Japanese Americans came to between $810 million and $2 billion in 1983 dollars. The commission also recognized the 'physical illnesses and injuries,' 'psychological pain,' and 'unjustified stigma' resulting from the camp experience."

[Update--July 9, 2008: For further information on the Japanese American Internment/Incarceration, see my post from April 11 (which will give you a link to the DENSHO site)]

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