The discussion topic for this module focuses on the U.S. government’s decision t
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The discussion topic for this module focuses on the U.S. government’s decision to round up Japanese and Japanese Americans living in the country and send them to internment camps in 1942. After Pearl Harbor, white Americans – particularly those living in California – turned on communities of Japanese and Japanese-Americans. As the war with Japan intensified, and the U.S. government ramped up a deeply racist propaganda campaign against Japanese, the suspicion and discrimination against Japanese-Americans in the United States also greatly increased. In 1942, FDR signed Executive Order 9066, which ordered more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent to give up their civil rights and personal property – including their homes and businesses – and to move to internment camps scattered throughout the west. The order was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Historians estimate that Japanese-Americans lost more than $4 billion in personal property and wealth because of their internment – although years later their descendants were given a settlement of about $2 billion. In 1944, when the U.S. government offered to release interned Japanese-Americans if they agreed to give up their U.S. citizenship and be deported to Japan (known as the Renunciation Act of 1944), fewer than 10% accepted the offer.
What is the key lesson Americans should learn from the history of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II? In your answer, be sure to make clear whether you think it is appropriate for the government to suspend the civil rights of any group of Americans based on ethnicity and detain them for an unspecified amount of time in a detention center.