The Japanese Internment During WWII
In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 into law, which eventually forced close to 120,000 Japanese-Americans in the western part of the United States to leave their homes and move to one of ten 'relocation' centers or to other facilities across the nation. This order came about as a result of great prejudice and wartime hysteria after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Even before the Japanese-Americans were relocated, their livelihood was seriously threatened when all accounts in American branches of Japanese banks were frozen. Then, religious and political leaders were arrested and often put into holding facilities or relocation camps without letting their families know what had happened to them.
The order to have all Japanese-Americans relocated had serious consequences for the Japanese-American community. Even children adopted by Caucasian parents were removed from their homes to be relocated. Sadly, most of those relocated were American citizens by birth.
Many families wound up spending three years in facilities. Most lost or had to sell their homes at a great loss and close down numerous businesses.
The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was created to set up relocation facilities. They were located in desolate, isolated places. The first camp to open was Manzanar in California. Over 10,000 people lived there at its height. The relocation centers were to be self-sufficient with their own hospitals, post offices, schools, etc. And everything was surrounded by barbed wire. Guard towers dotted the scene. The guards lived separately from the Japanese-Americans.
In Manzanar, apartments were small and ranged from 16 x 20 feet to 24 x 20 feet. Obviously, smaller families received smaller apartments. They were often built of sub par materials and with shoddy workmanship so many of the inhabitants spent some time making their new homes...