Executive Order 9066 was a United States presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order authorized the secretary of war to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the incarceration of nearly all 120,000 Japanese Americans during the war. Two-thirds of them were U.S. citizens, born and raised in the United States.
Notably, far more Americans of Asian descent were forcibly interned than Americans of European descent, both in total and as a share of their relative populations. (Those relatively few German Americans, and German and Italian nationals in the US, who were sent to internment camps during the war, were sent under the provisions of Presidential Proclamation 2526 and the Alien Enemy Act, part of the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798.)
The text of Executive Order 9066 was as follows:
Executive Order No. 9066
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);
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, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.
I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area here in above authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The White House,
February 19, 1942.
On March 21, 1942, Roosevelt signed Public Law 77-503(approved after only an hour of discussion in the Senate and thirty minutes in the House) in order to provide for the enforcement of his executive order. Authored by War Department official Karl Bendetsen — who would later be promoted to Director of the Wartime Civilian Control Administration and oversee the incarceration of Japanese Americans — the law made violations of military orders a misdemeanor punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and one year in prison.
Using a broad interpretation of EO 9066, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt issued orders declaring certain areas of the western United States as zones of exclusion under the Executive Order. As a result, approximately 112,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were evicted from the West Coast of the continental United States and held in American relocation camps and other confinement sites across the country. Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not incarcerated in the same way, despite the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although the Japanese-American population in Hawaii was nearly 40% of the population of the territory, only a few thousand people were detained there. This fact supported the government's eventual conclusion that the mass removal of ethnic Japanese from the West Coast was motivated by reasons other than "military necessity."
Japanese Americans and other Asians in the U.S. had suffered for decades from prejudice and racially motivated fears. Racially discriminatory laws prevented Asian Americans from owning land, voting, testifying against whites in court, and set up other restrictions. Additionally, the FBI, Office of Naval Intelligence and Military Intelligence Division had been conducting surveillance on Japanese-American communities in Hawaii and the continental U.S. from the early 1930s.In early 1941, President Roosevelt secretly commissioned a study to assess the possibility that Japanese Americans would pose a threat to U.S. security. The report, submitted one month before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, found that, "There will be no armed uprising of Japanese" in the United States. "For the most part," the Munson Report said, "the local Japanese are loyal to the United States or, at worst, hope that by remaining quiet they can avoid concentration camps or irresponsible mobs." A second investigation started in 1940, written by Naval Intelligence officer Kenneth Ringle and submitted in January 1942, likewise found no evidence of fifth column activity and urged against mass incarceration. Both were ignored by military and political leaders.
Over two-thirds of the people of Japanese ethnicity who were incarcerated — almost 70,000 — were American citizens. Many of the rest had lived in the country between 20 and 40 years. Most Japanese Americans, particularly the first generation born in the United States (the Nisei ), identified as loyal to the United States of America. No Japanese-American citizen or Japanese national residing in the United States was ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage.
Americans of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. 11,000 people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees. The interned Jewish refugees came from Germany, as the U.S. government did not differentiate between ethnic Jews and ethnic Germans (the term "Jewish" was defined as a religious practice, not an ethnicity). Some of the internees of European descent were interned only briefly, while others were held for several years beyond the end of the war. Like the Japanese American incarcerees, these smaller groups had American-born citizens in their numbers, especially among the children. A few members of ethnicities of other Axis countries were interned, but exact numbers are unknown.[ citation needed ]
There were 10 of these concentration camps across the country called “relocation centers”. There were two in Arkansas, two in Arizona, two in California, one in Idaho, one in Utah, one in Wyoming, and one in Colorado.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson was responsible for assisting relocated people with transport, food, shelter, and other accommodations and delegated Colonel Karl Bendetsen to administer the removal of West Coast Japanese.Over the spring of 1942, General John L. DeWitt issued Western Defense Command orders for Japanese Americans to present themselves for removal. The "evacuees" were taken first to temporary assembly centers, requisitioned fairgrounds and horse racing tracks where living quarters were often converted livestock stalls. As construction on the more permanent and isolated War Relocation Authority camps was completed, the population was transferred by truck or train. These accommodations consisted of tar paper-walled frame buildings in parts of the country with bitter winters and often hot summers. The camps were guarded by armed soldiers and fenced with barbed wire (security measures not shown in published photographs of the camps). Camps held up to 18,000 people, and were small cities, with medical care, food, and education provided by the government. Adults were offered "camp jobs" with wages of $12 to $19 per month, and many camp services such as medical care and education were provided by the camp inmates themselves.
In December 1944, President Roosevelt suspended Executive Order 9066, forced to do so by the Supreme Court decision Ex parte Endo . Detainees were released, often to resettlement facilities and temporary housing, and the camps were shut down by 1946.
In the years after the war, the interned Japanese Americans had to rebuild their lives but had lost so much. United States citizens and long-time residents who had been incarcerated lost their personal liberties; many also lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings. Individuals born in Japan were not allowed to become naturalized US citizens until after passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.
On February 19, 1976, President Gerald Ford signed a proclamation formally terminating Executive Order 9066 and apologizing for the internment, stated: "We now know what we should have known then — not only was that evacuation wrong but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans. On the battlefield and at home the names of Japanese-Americans have been and continue to be written in history for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the well-being and to the security of this, our common Nation."
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). The CWRIC was appointed to conduct an official governmental study of Executive Order 9066, related wartime orders, and their effects on Japanese Americans in the West and Alaska Natives in the Pribilof Islands.
In December 1982, the CWRIC issued its findings in Personal Justice Denied, concluding that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity. The report determined that the decision to incarcerate was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership". The Commission recommended legislative remedies consisting of an official Government apology and redress payments of $20,000 to each of the survivors; a public education fund was set up to help ensure that this would not happen again (Pub.L. 100–383).
On August 10, 1988, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, based on the CWRIC recommendations, was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. On November 21, 1989, George H. W. Bush signed an appropriation bill authorizing payments to be paid out between 1990 and 1998. In 1990, surviving internees began to receive individual redress payments and a letter of apology. This bill applied to the Japanese Americans and to members of the Aleut people inhabiting the strategic Aleutian islands in Alaska who had also been relocated.
February 19th, the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, is now the Day of Remembrance, an annual commemoration of the unjust incarceration of the Japanese-American community.
In 2017, the Smithsonian launched an exhibit about these events with artwork by Roger Shimomura. It provides context and interprets the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
In the United States during World War II, about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast, were forcibly relocated and incarcerated in concentration camps in the western interior of the country. Approximately two-thirds of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court to uphold the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast Military Area during World War II. The decision has widely been criticized, with some scholars describing it as "an odious and discredited artifact of popular bigotry" and as "a stain on American jurisprudence". Chief Justice John Roberts explicitly repudiated the Korematsu decision in his majority opinion in the 2018 case of Trump v. Hawaii. The case is often cited as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time.
The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was a United States government agency established to handle the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It also operated the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter in Oswego, New York, which was the only refugee camp set up in the United States for refugees from Europe. The agency was created by Executive Order 9102 on March 18, 1942, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was terminated June 26, 1946, by order of President Harry S. Truman.
The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, named after nearby Heart Mountain and located midway between the towns of Cody and Powell in northwest Wyoming, was one of ten concentration camps used for the internment of Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast Exclusion Zone during World War II by executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, upon the recommendation of Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt.
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II. The act was sponsored by California's Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta, an internee as a child, and Wyoming's Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson, who had met Mineta while visiting an internment camp. The third co-sponsor was California Senator Pete Wilson. The bill was supported by the majority of Democrats in Congress, while the majority of Republicans voted against it. The act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
The Gila River War Relocation Center was an American concentration camp in Arizona, one of several built by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) during the Second World War for the incarceration of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. It was located within the Gila River Indian Reservation near the town of Sacaton, about 30 mi (48.3 km) southeast of Phoenix. With a peak population of 13,348, it became the fourth-largest city in the state, operating from May 1942 to November 16, 1945.
The Tule Lake National Monument in Modoc and Siskiyou counties in California, consists primarily of the site of the Tule Lake War Relocation Center, one of ten concentration camps constructed in 1942 by the United States government to incarcerate Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes on the West Coast. They totaled nearly 120,000 people, more than two-thirds of whom were United States citizens.
Minidoka National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in the western United States. It commemorates the more than 13,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during the Second World War.
Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81 (1943), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the application of curfews against members of a minority group were constitutional when the nation was at war with the country from which that group's ancestors originated. The case arose out of the issuance of Executive Order 9066 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had authorized military commanders to secure areas from which "any or all persons may be excluded", and Japanese Americans living in the West Coast were subject to a curfew and other restrictions before being removed to internment camps. The plaintiff, Gordon Hirabayashi, was convicted of violating the curfew and had appealed to the Supreme Court. Yasui v. United States was a companion case decided the same day. Both convictions were overturned in coram nobis proceedings in the 1980s.
The Jerome War Relocation Center was a Japanese American internment camp located in southeastern Arkansas, near the town of Jerome in the Arkansas Delta. Open from October 6, 1942, until June 30, 1944, it was the last American concentration camp to open and the first to close. At one point it held as many as 8,497 detainees. After closing, it was converted into a holding camp for German prisoners of war. Today, few remains of the camp are visible, as the wooden buildings were taken down. The smokestack from the hospital incinerator still stands.
The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) was a group of nine people appointed by the U.S. Congress in 1980 to conduct an official governmental study into the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The Japanese-American Claims Act is a law passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Harry S. Truman on July 2, 1948. The law authorized the settlement of property loss claims by people of Japanese descent who were removed from the Pacific Coast area during World War II. According to a Senate report on the Act, there were concerns about whether the United States government had the right to evacuate and place all people of Japanese ancestry in internment camps. As result of being placed in the Japanese internment camps there was great loss of property, belongings, business, "and the principles of justice and responsible government require that there should be compensation for such losses. "Congress over time appropriated $38 million to settle 23,000 claims for damages totaling $131 million. The final claim was adjudicated in 1955."
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 relocating over 110,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast into internment camps for the duration of the war. The personal rights, liberties, and freedoms of Japanese Americans were suspended by the United States government.
The following article focuses on the movement to obtain redress for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and significant court cases that have shaped civil and human rights for Japanese Americans and other minorities. These cases have been the cause and/or catalyst to many changes in United States law. But mainly, they have resulted in adjusting the perception of Asian immigrants in the eyes of the American government.
Propaganda for Japanese-American internment is a form of propaganda created between 1941 and 1944 within the United States that focused on the relocation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast to internment camps during World War II. Several types of media were used to reach the American people such as motion pictures and newspaper articles. The significance of this propaganda was to project the relocation of Japanese Americans as matter of national security, although according to a federal commission created by President Jimmy Carter in 1980:
The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions that followed from it – detention, ending detention and ending exclusion – were not driven by analysis of military conditions. The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.
The Day of Remembrance is a day of observance for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Events in numerous U.S. states, especially in the West Coast, are held on or near February 19, the day in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, requiring internment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry.
Mitsuye Maureen Endo Tsutsumi was an American woman of Japanese descent who was placed in an internment camp during World War II. Endo filed a writ of habeas corpus that ultimately led to a United States Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. government could not continue to detain a citizen who was "concededly loyal" to the United States.
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga was an American political activist who played a major role in the Japanese American redress movement. She was the lead researcher of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a bipartisan federal committee appointed by Congress in 1980 to review the causes and effects of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Herzig-Yoshinaga, who was confined in the Manzanar, California and Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camps as a young woman, uncovered government documents that debunked the wartime administration's claims of "military necessity" and helped compile the CWRIC's final report, Personal Justice Denied, which led to the issuance of a formal apology and reparations for former camp inmates. She also contributed pivotal evidence and testimony to the Hirabayashi, Korematsu and Yasui coram nobis cases.
The Temporary Detention Camp for Japanese Americans / Santa Anita Assembly Center is one of the places Japanese Americans were held during World War II. The Santa Anita Assembly Center was designated a California Historic Landmark (No.934.07) on May 13, 1980. The Santa Anita Assembly Center is located in what is now the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California in Los Angeles County.
William M. Marutani was the first Asian-American male judge in Pennsylvania (1975). Marutani was the only Japanese American commissioner to sit on the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC).
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