The attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7th, 1941, not only spurred the United States to enter into World War II, but also prompted the mass removal of "alien" U.S. Citizens to detention centers (known as WRA camps, internment camps, and relocation centers.) Also see: Exploring America’s Concentration Camps and Densho Digital Repository (Resettlement) Archives.
On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 that authorized the Secretary of War to establish military areas and exclude enemy aliens from these zones.
In March 18th, 1942 the War Relocation Authority was established and by May of 1942, 110,000 Japanese Americans were transferred to permanent WRA resettlement camps. American born Japanese Americans often referred to as “Nisei” were the majority of the interned. Also see: Japanese Relocation During World War II.
In April of 1942, Japanese Americans could leave the camps for college if they were sponsored.
It wasn’t until January of 1943, that the War Department allowed for Japanese American men to become soldiers and to have temporary leave of the camps. Japanese American women were allowed to join the Army Nurse Corps in February 1943. The 442 Regimental Combat Team was established in March 1943 of male internees and Hawaiian Japanese Americans. Japanese American Women, such as Terry Toyome Nakanishi were allowed to join the Women’s Army Corps in noncombat areas in November 1943 and learn skills such as speaking and writing military style Japanese. Also see: 442 Regimental Combat Team Densho Encylopedia and Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal.
The army lifted the West Coast exclusion in January 2, 1945. Also see: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive and Densho.
Come visit this library display at the entrance of the library to explore more!