World War II (detail from Pearl Harbor photo)

American Internment Camps

Fearful of threats to homeland security, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. His order authorized the removal of “any or all persons” from areas of the country deemed vulnerable to attack or sabotage. Nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans—two-thirds of them U.S. citizens—were forced from their businesses and homes. Most had only several days’ notice before they were relocated. They were held in internment camps in isolated locations for up to four years. Approximately 11,000 German nationals and 1,600 Italian nationals were arrested, with many interned.

Japanese American grocery store in Oakland, California. Thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans in California were forced to sell their homes and businesses quickly—at an enormous loss
Grandfather and his grandchildren, tagged with their family identification number, await transportation to an assembly center
Trucks carry Japanese Americans to an assembly center at Arcadia, California
Heart Mountain internment camp, Wyoming
Internees pass the time in an art class