Homefront Injustice: The Internment of Japanese Americans During WWII

Edward O’Donnell

Two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government sent 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry—most of them U.S. citizens—to the internment camps. This dark chapter in U.S. history caused many Japanese Americans to lose their homes, farms and businesses, not to mention their dignity and self-esteem. This presentation will examine the role longstanding anti-Asian racism played in leading to internment. It also will assess the impact of internment on the lives of its victims and how they developed a variety of survival and coping strategies. Professor Ed O’Donnell also will explore the deep divisions that emerged within the Japanese American community between those who advocated resistance and those who urged peaceful acquiescence. Finally, O’Donnell will look into the long post-war struggle by Japanese Americans to rebuild their lives and to receive an apology and compensation from the U.S. government.