World War II: Internment of Japanese Americans
|AUG 21, 2011 | 130|
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the secretary of war to designate military zones within the U.S. from which "any or all persons may be excluded." While the order was not targeted at any specific group, it became the basis for the mass relocation and internment of some 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, including both U.S. citizens and non-citizens. In March 1942, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, commander of the U.S. Army Western Defense Command, issued several public proclamations which established a massive exclusion zone along the west coast and demanded that all persons of Japanese ancestry report to civilian assembly centers. On short notice, thousands were forced to close businesses, abandon farms and homes, and move into remote internment camps, also called relocation centers. Some of the detainees were repatriated to Japan, some moved to other parts of the U.S. outside of the exclusion zones, and a number even enlisted with the U.S. Army, but most simply endured their internment in frustrated resignation. In January 1944, a Supreme Court ruling halted the detention of U.S. citizens without cause. The exclusion order was rescinded, and the Japanese Americans began to leave the camps, most returning to rebuild their former lives. The last camp closed in 1946, and by the end of the 20th century some $1.6 billion in reparations were paid to detainees and their descendants by the U.S. government. See also color film of the camps in our video channel. (This entry is Part 10 of a weekly20-part retrospective of World War II) [45 photos]
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Tom Kobayashi stands in the south fields of the Manzanar Relocation Center, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in California's Owens Valley, in 1943. Famed photographer Ansel Adams traveled to Manzanar in 1943 to document the Relocation Center and the Japanese Americans interned there.
Two plainclothes men, left, watch as Japanese aliens are removed from their homes on Terminal Island, a vital Naval and Shipbuilding center in Los Angeles, California, on February 3, 1942. Some 400 male Japanese aliens -- Terminal Island residents -- were rounded up early on February 2 by 180 federal, city and county officers.
(AP Photo/Ira W. Guldner) #
On a brick wall beside an air raid shelter poster, exclusion orders were posted at First and Front Streets in San Francisco, California, directing the removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the first part of San Francisco to be affected by the evacuation. The order was issued April 1, 1942, by Lieutenant General J.L. DeWitt, and directed evacuation from this section by noon on April 7, 1942.
How the evacuation of Japanese from Seattle would affect a second grade class in a local school is shown in these two views in Seattle, Washington, on March 27, 1942. At the top is a crowded classroom with many Japanese pupils and at the bottom is the same class without the Japanese students.
(AP Photo) #
A farewell letter posted in a window of T.Z. Shiota, an importer in San Francisco's Chinatown, in April of 1942, prior to evacuation of residents of Japanese ancestry. The final paragraph reads: "At this hour of evacuation when the innocents suffer with the bad, we bid you, dear friends of ours, with the words of beloved Shakespeare, 'PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW'."
A soldier and his mother in a strawberry field near Florin, California, on May 11, 1942. The soldier, age 23, had volunteered for the Army on July 10, 1941, and was stationed at Camp Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was furloughed to help his mother and family prepare for their evacuation. He is the youngest of six children, two of them volunteers in United States Army. The mother, age 53, came from Japan 37 years ago. Her husband died 21 years ago, leaving her to raise six children. She worked in a strawberry basket factory until last year when her children leased three acres of strawberries "so she wouldn't have to work for somebody else".
A crowd of onlookers in Seattle jam an overhead walk to witness the mass evacuation of Japanese from Bainbridge Island, Washington, on March 30, 1942. Somewhat bewildered, but not protesting, some 225 Japanese men, women and children were taken by ferry, bus and train to California internment camps. The evacuation was carried out by the U.S. Army.
(AP Photo) #
Portraits of evacuees housed in the Manzanar Relocation Center in California, taken by Ansel Adams in 1943. Clockwise, from top left: Mrs. Kay Kageyama, Toyo Miyatake (Photographer), Miss Tetsuko Murakami, Mori Nakashima, Joyce Yuki Nakamura (eldest daughter), Corporal Jimmy Shohara, Aiko Hamaguchi (Nurse), Yoshio Muramoto, (electrician). At its peak, more than 10,000 Japanese Americans were held in Manzanar.
(Ansel Adams/LOC) #
A funeral is held for James Wakasa at the Topaz Relocation Center in, Utah, on April 19, 1943. A military policeman shot and killed James Wakasa near Topaz's barbed wire fence on April 11, 1943. Fellow evacuees protested the shooting and demanded the right to hold a public funeral on the spot where Wakasa was shot. The soldier who shot Wakasa was court-martialed, and later found "not guilty".
After the orders to relocate and detain persons of Japanese ancestry were rescinded, evacuees began returning home, and camps began to close. Here, Shuichi Yamamoto, the last evacuee to leave the Granada Relocation Center, in Amache, Colorado, says "Goodbye" to Project Director James G. Lindley, as the War Relocation Authority camp is officially closed October 15, 1945. Mr. Yamamoto, 65 years of age, was returning to his former home in Marysville, California.