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Anti-Japanese Propagnda Of Ww2 In America

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World War II Anti-Japanese Propaganda

"The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately

attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." (Declaration of

War Against Japan) These words were said by President Franklin D.

Roosevelt in his declaration of war on Japan on December 8, 1941. The

attack on Pearl Harbor marked the official entry of the United States

involvement in World War II and sparked a barrage of anti-Japanese

propaganda. From posters to leaflets, radio messages to the attack on Pearl

Harbor, the public of the United States was constantly the center of

attention for psychological warfare. Propaganda of the World War II period

reflected the American people's anti-Japanese sentiment.

Twenty years after the conclusion of World War I, Germany, Italy,

and Japan started an international aggression campaign that would

eventually bring the United States into a second global conflict. "Let's Put

the Axe to the Axis" was a popular wartime propaganda song pushing action

toward breaking the Axis' power (The Enduring Vision 910). The Axis was

the name given to the German, Japanese and Italian alliance. The Allied

powers were the United States, Great Britain, France, and later, Russia. The

Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis, as it is called, formed in 1936-1937, and the Allied

countries came together shortly after. The United States did not want to

enter the war, and as late as mid-November in 1941, the US felt "the most

essential thing now, from the United States standpoint, is to gain time."

December 7, 1941, the "date which will live in infamy," the United

States was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Until December, the

Japanese had pursued two courses of action for the current situation. They

attempted to get the oil embargo lifted without giving up the territory they

wanted, and to prepare for war. On the other side, the US demanded the

withdraw of Japanese troops from Indochina and China. All of this became

irrelevant by mid-October. Japan's new premier, General Tojo Hideki

secretly set November 29, 1941 as the last day Japan would accept a

settlement with the United States without war. Since the deadline was kept

secret, it meant war was almost certain. The Japanese felt very confident

with their plans for war. The army and navy had proposed to make a fast

sweep of Malaya, the East Indies, Burma, and the Philippines, all while

setting up a defensive perimeter in the central and southwestern Pacific

(Pearl Harbor, Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia). They expected the United

States to declare war but have no intentions of fighting long and loosing

many resources. The only hitch in their plan was a US naval base at Pearl

Harbor, Hawaii. To assure their plans went as intended, the Japanese

decided to make a crippling blow to the base. Around 8 a.m. on December 7,

1941, Japanese airplanes attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese bombers

destroyed almost 200 American aircraft, sank or seriously damaged eight

battleships and 13 other naval vessels and killed or wounded approximately

3000 military personnel in less than two hours (The Enduring Vision

904-905). This attack brought the Unites States into the war on December

8, determined to fight to the end.

The attack on Pearl Harbor also launched a rash of fear about national

security, especially on the west coast. In February 1942, just two months

after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which

relocated all persons of Japanese ancestry, both citizens and aliens, inland,

outside of the Pacific military zone (www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/

lessons/Japanese_relocation.html). In Oregon and Washington, the eastern

boundary of the military zone was an imaginary line that ran along the edge

of the Cascade Mountains and down the "spine" of California from north to

south. From that line to the Pacific coast, the military restricted zones in

those three states were defined. The order was designed to protect persons

of Japanese descent from harm at the hands of Americans who had strong

anti-Japanese attitudes and prevent espionage.

Roosevelt's order affected 117,000 people of Japanese descent. The

Issei were the first generation of Japanese in the country and the Nisei,

numbering 70,000, were the second generation (www.archives.gov/

digital_classroom/lessons/Japanese_relocation.html). Within weeks, all

persons of Japanese ancestry, whether citizens or enemy aliens, rich or

poor, young or old, were ordered to assembly centers near their homes. Soon

they

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