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Holocaust & The Japanese-American Internment Essay

Humanity. It is disconcerting to think about what we the humans have done to our own race. All because we believe in trying to find a difference such as our ethnicity, intellect, or looks to try to find how we are better than some. Hitler did this to the Jews as he wanted the world to have the Aryan race with the Holocaust, and America did this to the Japanese during the Japanese internment. The Holocaust and the Japanese internment are very different from one another yet they are both very similar to each other. The Holocaust was the systematic mass slaughter of Jews and other groups deemed inferior by the Nazis.

The Holocaust began when Adolf Hitler, the fascist leader of Germany that would lead the world into World War II. He and his followers proclaimed that the Germanic people, or Aryans, were better then others and targeted the Jews as the cause of all previous failures Germany had made. In 1935 the Nazis passed the Nuremberg laws that deprived Jews their rights to German citizenship and forbade marriages between Jews and non-Jews. More laws came to the Jews as well later, even limiting what kinds of works that Jews could do.

However, the situation began to worsen with the Kristallnacht, otherwise known as “Night of Broken Glass. When 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan, a German Jewish youth visiting an uncle in Paris, shot a German diplomat living in Paris, wishing to avenge his father’s deportation from Germany to Poland, the Nazis retaliated with a violent attack on the Jewish community. On November 9, Nazi storm troopers attacked Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues across Germany, murdering about 100 Jews in the process. After Kristallnacht, many Jews saw that violence against them was only going to increase resulting in several German Jews to flee the country.

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Hitler first favored the emigration as a solution to what he dubbed as “the Jewish problem,” but the other countries such as the United States, France, and Britain, stopped the constant immigration of German Jews after admitting tens of thousands. Another plan was put into effect when Hitler discovered he couldn’t get rid of “the Jewish problem” by emigration and so he began to isolate them. He isolated the Jews by having them move to designated cities where they would be herded into desolate, overcrowded ghettos, segregated Jewish areas.

By isolating the Jews in horrible conditions, the Nazis hoped they would either starve to death, or die from disease. This process went by too slowly, however, thus causing Hitler to take a more direct approach. His plan, the “Final Solution,” would lead to about six million innocent people’s deaths. The killings began as units from the SS moved from town to town hunting down Jews across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Together, the SS and their allies rounded up men, women, children, and sometimes babies to isolated spots. The SS would then shoot the people into pits which later became their graves.

Jewish communities that were not taken by the SS were taken to concentration camps were Hitler believed that the horrible conditions of these camps would speed the total elimination of the Jews. The prisoners worked as slaves everyday for either the SS or for German businesses where they were beaten severely or killed for working to slow. The prisoners were given hardly enough food in these camps dieing of starvation or disease. In 1942, however it seemed like the worse had yet to come with the arrival of extermination camps. Extermination camps were equipped with huge gas chambers that could kill up to 6,000 people a day.

SS doctors would separate the strong from the weak or other wise mainly the men from the young, the sick, the elderly, and the women. Those that were put into the weak category would die immediately, while the strong would work till over-extortion. About six million died, and fewer than four million survived, however those that did would never be the same again. The Japanese internment happened during 1942. It was where government propaganda would take a negative effect on society. After the attack on Pearl Harbor many Americans discriminated against the Japanese American.

Everyone that even looked to be Japanese would be mistrusted and be labeled as “the enemy. ” On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt issued an executive order which rounded up every Japanese person that lived in the US as they were seen to be threats to the nation. Many endured names such as being called an “alien. ” In March, the government shipped the Japanese to relocation camps where they were sure to be not in contact with the enemy. Any former possession that the internees might had had were usually gone shortly afterwards as their lands would be repressed.

Despite the fact that most of these Japanese were Nisei, native-born American citizens whose parents were Japanese, and that some volunteered for military service they were still put into these camps. They were housed in barracks and used communal areas, for washing and eating. Over half of those taken in were merely children. These camps were then overseen by military personnel. All internees over the age of 17 were given a loyalty test were they were asked questions. 120,000 Japanese were taken in, and only 60,000 survived.

In 1988, the U. S. Congress passed legislation which awarded formal payments of $20,000 each to the surviving internees. At the end of the war some remained in the US and rebuilt their lives, others however were unforgiving and returned to Japan. Both the Holocaust and the Japanese internment are eerily similar to one another. The Japanese and the Jews were seen to be the enemy and needed to be isolated in camps. The camps had inadequate medical care and the high level of emotional stress the people suffered were too much. Both lived in overcrowded areas and were over watched by the military.

Life in the camps was hard for both the Jews and Japanese. Internees and Jews had only been allowed to bring with then a few possessions. However, internees were given 48 hours to evacuate their homes. Consequently they were easy prey for fortune hunters who offered them far less than the market prices for the goods they could not take with them. A big difference is that while the Jews were given free food, the Japanese were rationed out at an expense of 48 cents per internee, and served by fellow internees in a mess hall of about 300 people.

Internees slept under as many blankets as they were allotted. Leadership positions in both concentration camps and the relocation camps were given to German-born Jews and American-born Japanese. While, the government ideals may have been different, when they spew propaganda they seem to be very alike. While both cases are different, the Japanese internment and the Holocaust are still the same as well. A different location, and different procedures, these two cases had, but still for the same cause of government propaganda.

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