• Japanese Internment

    On February 19, 1942, little more than two months after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entrance into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order # 9066, which called for Japanese American citizens living in the western states and Hawaii to be moved to internment camps, many for the duration of the war. The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism during World War II is a reminder of this unjust situation and a memorial to the Japanese Americans who fought in World War II.

    Japanese Internment

    Fun Facts

    • More than 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children were taken from their homes, schools, businesses, and friends to 10 camps in remote areas of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.
    • In most cases, their property was seized or sold and there was nothing for them to return to after the war. They had to start over.
    • S. relations with Japan during the 1930s and 1940s were contentious and suspicious. Government officials believed Japanese Americans might be spies for the Japanese government, even though many of the families taken to internment centers had lived in the U.S. for generations.
    • At the same time, Japanese American men signed up for the draft and joined to fight in the war.
    • In November, 2000 the memorial was dedicated in Washington D.C. to honor Japanese Americans’ sacrifices and contributions during the war and to publicly note the unjust treatment many of them received.
    • The memorial features a sculpture called the “Golden Cranes,” and depicts two Japanese cranes entangled in barbed wire. The piece symbolizes the souls and bodies of those Japanese men, women, and children who were confined during this time.
    • Additionally, a wall lists the names of the 10 major internment camps and another wall includes the names of 800 Japanese American soldiers who died fighting in the war.

    Vocabulary

    1. Internment: to be confined
    2. Contentious: aggressive, quarrelsome

    Questions and Answers

    Question: Where did the Japanese Americans live before they were taken to the camps?

    Answer: Throughout the western states and Hawaii. Many of them lived in communities in California, Seattle, and Portland. Some were farmers living in Idaho and Utah. Most of them had businesses and homes that they lost.

    Question: What happened to the camps after the war?

    Answer: Some of them were torn down, some were used as military areas, and some were used to house Mexican American farm workers, who in most cases, were not treated very well in the communities either.

    Learn More

    Watch a video about the Japanese American internment.

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Tobin, Declan. (2020). Japanese Internment - American History For Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/japanese-internment/

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