A Glimpse Back in Time is a feature where I talk about the interesting history behind the books that I read! If you want to see previous posts for this feature, look here!
I'm super excited about today's post because I'm featuring...
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
If you read my September Wrap Up post, you will know that this month ended up being semi-dedicated to The Darkest Minds! I have my reviews of the trilogy and two feature posts about the series up this month! This is the first post of all of that fun!
I was so excited to finally find a way to use my FAVORITE EVER SERIES in this feature. I was perusing Alex's tumblr when I stumbled across an ask that gave me exactly what I needed to feature this book!
So, without further ado, let's learn about Japanese Internment Camps during WWII!
According to the census in 1940, there were about 127,000 people of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. Most of them were living along the west coast. Many of them were second generation Americans, American born of Japanese immigrants.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, rumors started about whether or not Japanese Americans were loyal Japan or not and whether they were going to try and sabotage the war effort or not. A couple months later, in February 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This order forced the relocation of a majority of Japanese Americans to internment camps.
Some people repatriated to Japan. Many joined the several all-Japanese army regimens. And some relocated far enough east to be out of the exclusion zone. But most people endured around four years in the camps.
Life in the camps took on some familiarity with socialization and school for children, but it really messed with traditional family roles. Families were split up and put into different camps in some cases. There were opportunities for menial jobs with a pay of $5 a day, which emasculated the men. Women felt shamed due to a lack of privacy in barrack commodes for dressing and relieving themselves. They couldn't have quiet, traditional family meals. Fathers wound up eating in mess halls with the other men, women fed their infants alone. Cramped spaces had teenagers leaving, which further messed with the traditional Japanese family.
The older people were deprived of respect when only their American born children were allowed to hold any kind of authority position within the camps. These positions were often for meeting with government officials to report problems even though nothing was generally done with these reports. This disrespect had a number of people renouncing their American citizenship. A judge later ruled the renunciations made within camps were void.
There were several court cases brought up against the camps, but the legality was upheld as a military necessity for national security. They feared espionage or sabotage from the Japanese Americans even though it was later documented that the government possessed proof that not a single person engaged in any form of espionage or sabotage.
Deaths occurred in the camps due to inadequate medical care. There were also several people who were killed by guards for not following orders.
As the war came to a close, camps began to close. Most people tried to return home to rebuild their lives. Some people had to start completely over someplace new due to hostility against Japanese Americans. The last camp wasn't closed until 1946. In 1988, restitution payments of $20,000 were awarded to each survivor of the camps.
Japanese internment camps are a huge disrespect of civil liberties by the American government. I think that this is another atrocity of WWII that is little known about. I know I had never heard about these camps before I stumbled across this ask on Alex's tumblr!
Also, after I decided on this topic for my post this month, I saw that Kristen Simmons had a thread about her great grandmother's internment in one of these camps on Twitter.
World War II: Internment of Japanese Americans by Alan Taylor
51e. Japanese-American Internment from ushistory.org
Teaching With Documents: Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II from archives.gov
From Citizen to Enemy: The Tragedy of Japanese Internment by Julie Des Jardins
Children of the Camps: Internment History from pbs.org
Japanese-American Relocation from history.com
Am I alone in this? Is this something that is common knowledge to you? What do you think of the camps in the Darkest Minds being loosely based on these internment camps?