Conclusions

In this twenty-first century the lessons of Japanese American relocation and internment are more important than ever. The obvious parallels between Executive Order 9066 and The Patriot Act are frightening. Both grant unprecedented amounts of vaguely defined authority to the government in the interest of national security. There are parallels between the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and also with formal prisoners of war and the Japanese American citizens in the high-security internment camps. Although the Japanese Americans were not physically tortured, some of the studies done on the psychological effects of the internment have shown that the damage was significant. Many of the internees struggled to cope with the fact that despite their loyalty and devotion to the United States they were considered enemies due to little more than their name, facial features, and skin color. The racism and distrust of the general American public towards Japanese Americans – many, in fact almost all, of whom were completely loyal citizens – caused long term social strife in the lives of many of those citizens, and effects of that ostracizing cannot be underestimated. It is startling to think that the American public willingly allowed a large scale forcible relocation of a large number of citizens based on little more than their ethnicity. The excuses of national security and “military necessity” are hollow, but perhaps that is the power of hindsight. What lessons did we (fail to) learn from this less than salubrious episode in America’s history? What mistakes are we now making in spite of those lessons?

Introductory Essay
Conclusions