In times of war, governments often must balance the needs of national security with the civil rights of its citizens. In your opinion, did the Japanese internment order find the right balance between these competing values? Explain your reasons.
No, in my opinion the actions which the government took by instating internment camps was not the right balance between these competing values. The main reason that this was not the right balance was because there was no proof that there was a threat to national security only a concern about security. And in response to the concern the United States took extreme measures in isolating the Japanese, therefore infringing upon their civil rights. As the background states “the American military became concerned about an attack from the Japanese on the mainland of the United States” it does not say that they received word of a planned attack from the Japanese. Therefore, by having no evidence of a threat to national security and revoking the civil rights of citizens in such a colossal way I believe the balance was not right between these values. Rather, I believe a more appropriate approach would have been to increase national security and place the funding used to creating internment camps into the armed forces. I believe that the government infringed too severely upon the Japanese-American's rights in response to such a circumstantial concern.
I do not agree that the racial prejudice does not play a role in the governments treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Racial prejudice, in my opinion, played a huge role with regards to the governments treatment Japanese. The Japanese were discriminated against solely based upon their race. The creation of the curfew by the “Western Command, U.S. Army, which directed that after May 9, 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry should be excluded from that area”. In other words, this issue means that anyone who looks as though they are Japanese should not be allowed to leave their home. By this order being based solely upon the way in which a person looks and not their history or residency or travel displays that the United States Government was prejudice again the Japanese because they immediately associated the physical ape of the Japanese or what they “Japanese ancestry” to be associated with a traitor. These actions display racial prejudice rather than a fear with national security due to the fact that it only focuses upon those who look to be Japanese. There are many people who are loyal citizens or residents of Japan who are not Japanese however during this time the US government did not bring them into question despite being as connected to Japan as possible ancestors were rather they only brought the people who looked Japanese into question, therefore having racial prejudice. The same can be said with regards to attributing those who looked to have had Japanese ancestry to traitors of the country. The US government is again making this assumption purely based upon the fact that they look Japanese not weather or not they have had any contact with Japan so have conduct suspicious behavior which could have easily if not more easily, because they were not being targeted, been accomplished by a US citizen.