Franklin Roosevelt Japanese Internment camps were a result of the U.S. President's Executive order 9066 signed into law on February 19, 1942, during World War II. Though Japanese was not specific to the wording, a stroke of a pen authorized the Secretary of War and Military Commanders to designate what was referred to as "Military Zones" deemed appropriate and "any or all persons may be excluded." Those areas deemed excluded were: Western Washington, Western Oregon, the entire Pacific Coast of California and southern Arizona.
The United States declared war on Japan in response to the December 7, 1941, attack on
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, officially entering World War II. Deep seated
in throes of war, by 1942, hysteria began to take root among the citizenry and in the political
arena about the possible collusion by the American Japanese
people with the enemy.
The Pressure was extremely high for President Roosevelt to do something and a decision was finally made to deem them a U.S. National Security threat by Presidential Executive Order.
"Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War."
President Roosevelt's order changed the lives of tens of thousands of people as they were removed from their homes, jobs and livelihood.
The Japanese Americans arrived in thousands at the Santa Anita Race Track, in southern California, which was used as a Processing Center.
Approximately 8,500 horse stables were quickly converted into housing as a make-shift internment camp until everyone could be processed and moved to a permanent location.
Permanent internment camps like the one pictured here were built all
around the United States in remote areas, away from the pacific west coast.
No evidence of any espionage or sabotage by American Japanese was ever discovered during WWII investigations. However, there were several convictions of spying and aiding Japan during World War II but non were ethnic Japanese Americans.
Decades later the Congress passed a bill providing restitution for the Wartime Internment of Japanese American citizens and issued 20,000 dollars to survivors. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law and on August 10, 1988, made a profound apology to the descendents, and a statement of gratitude for the service of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, on behalf of the United States.
"My fellow Americans, we gather here today to right a grave wrong. More than 40 years ago, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living in the United States were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in makeshift internment camps. This action was taken without trial, without jury. It was based solely on race, for these 120,000 were Americans of Japanese descent."
"The 442d made up entirely of Japanese-Americans, served with immense distinction to defend this nation, their nation. Yet back at home, the soldier's families were being denied the very freedom for which so many of the soldiers themselves were laying down their lives."
~Ronald Reagan August 10, 1988, Redress Act
December 1, 1945, the last camp still in operation was the Tule Lake internment camp in Northern California which housed people who were disruptive and disloyal. The internment period finally ended January of 1946.