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Introduction In December 1982 the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians CWIRC concluded that the evacuation and incarceration of 120000 Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II were the result of racism war hysteria and a failure of the nations leadership Six months later the commission recommended that the US government offer a national apology and payments of 20000 to the surviving internees as a form of redress On August 10 1988 those recommendations became law when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 This paper will attempt to examine how and why redress passed the most significant factors involved as well the arguments for and against the bills Wartime On December 7 1941 Japans military dropped bombs on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor The next day the United Stated declared war on Japan The first month of the war was relatively calm There were few cases of public panic or hysteria occurring and Japanese Americans were treated no differently than they had been before war began There have been newspaper accounts showing that there was a vast majority of American citizens that were sympathetic to the Japaneses plight of looking like the enemy but being loyal citizens There were also some government officials that were advising the public not to blame the Japanese in America for the war The sympathy was not persistent and it didnt last long There was a majority of people that had always harbored a feeling of resentment and abhorrence towards the Japanese With the advent of the war they plunged into an all-out hate campaign In some areas a few cases of violence against the Japanese including shoot ings and killings occurred These attacks on the Japanese were used as a justification for confining and relocating them it was for their own good to protect them against racist violence As the exclusion movement began to gain more
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