Japanese Internment Camps

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Japanese Internment Camps

Japan's surprise attack on the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, caused the United States to enter World War II. It also stirred hostility against Japanese people in the United States. Many Americans associated Japanese Americans with the Japanese pilots who had destroyed U.S. Navy ships. Following the attack the United States was gripped by war hysteria. This was especially strong along the Pacific coast of the U.S., where residents feared more Japanese attacks on their cities, homes, and businesses. Leaders in California, Oregon, and Washington, demanded that the residents of Japanese ancestry be removed from their homes along the coast and relocated in isolated inland areas (Harth).

As a result of this pressure, on February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized military commanders to designate military areas from which "any or all persons may be excluded."

The military chose to establish curfews for Japanese Americans. The War Relocation Authority was created to administer the assembly centers, relocation centers, and internment camps. Relocation of Japanese-Americans began in April 1942. All people of Japanese ancestry were confined to detention camps until their loyalty could be determined. This resulted in the forcible internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. More than two-thirds of those interned under the Executive Order were citizens of the United States, and none had ever shown any disloyalty (U.S.Com.).

These detention camps were called Internment Camps. Merriam Webster gives the definition of Internment camps as a camp in which enemy aliens, prisoners of war, or others considered dangerous to pursuing a war effort are confined during wartime. Internment camps were built all over the interior West, in isolated desert areas of Arizona, California, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Arkansas and Wyoming. Japanese-Americans were forced to live under...