Behind Barbed Wire
Tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in desolate camps for up to four years.
By the end of 1942, some 75,000 American citizens and another 45,000 Japanese nationals living in the United States found themselves uprooted from their homes and sent to one of ten inland American incarceration camps. They lived in temporary tar-paper barrack-like structures surrounded by barbed wire, searchlights and guard towers.
The War Relocation Authority managed ten camps, some with isolation centers, for individuals and families who had been removed from military “exclusion zones.” All of the camps were remote; many were situated in desolate deserts or swamps.
The U.S. Department of Justice administered twenty-seven additional camps where they imprisoned enemy aliens and “dangerous persons.” These included Japanese—as well as German and Italian—nationals from across the United States, and thousands who were deported from Central and South America.