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Executive Order 9066

Franklin D Roosevelt

Executive Order 9066: Franklin D Roosevelt was the 32nd American President who served in office from March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945. One of the important events during his presidency was the Executive Order 9066 and the establishment of the Japanese internment camps.

Definition and Summary of the Executive Order 9066
Summary and definition:
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 granting the War Department broad powers to designate military areas from which any person could be excluded.

In practice Executive Order 9066 was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent.

The shock of Pearl Harbor and Japanese actions in the Philippines fueled resulted in military, political, newspaper and public pressure calling for the removal and relocation of Japanese Americans living in the West Coast. The purpose of Executive Order 9066 was to protect "against espionage and against sabotage to national defense materials". By 1943, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been forced to leave their homes and move to Japanese Internment camps in remote inland areas of the United States.

Facts about Executive Order 9066
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Executive Order 9066.

Following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the United States declared war on Japan and many American people became suspicious of all Japanese Americans.

In the hours following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the FBI arrested over 1,200 Japanese immigrants who held as potential threats to national security. They were held in War Relocation Authority (WRA) incarceration camps or transferred to U.S. Army internment camps.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury froze the assets of all citizens and resident aliens who were born in Japan

The Japanese treatment of US and Filipino forces in the Philippines during the Battle of Bataan which started on 7 January 1942 increased the belief that Japanese Americans could not be trusted and must be incarcerated to prevent possible espionage and sabotage.

President Roosevelt came under pressure from the military, politicians and the public to remove people of foreign descent from sensitive areas of the country, especially the West Coast  with its long tradition of anti-Japanese sentiment, as a safeguard against espionage and sabotage

The Justice Department initially resisted the implementation of relocation orders questioning the constitutionality of such an action and whether it was a military necessity. The War Department took control and relieved the Justice Department of any responsibility for the implementation of such an order.

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 granting the War Department powers to create military exclusion areas.

The purpose of Executive Order 9066 was to protect "against espionage and against sabotage to national defense materials".

Executive Order 9066 gave the US military broad powers to relocate any citizen from a 60 mile coastal area stretching from Washington state to California, extending inland into southern Arizona to military controlled assembly areas.

In practice Executive Order 9066 was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent although it was also used in a far lesser degree to intern Americans of German and Italian descent.

On April 9, 1942, the Wartime Civilian Control Administration (WCCA), later the War Relocation Authority (WRA),  was established by the Western Defense Command to coordinate the forced removal of Japanese Americans to inland internment camps.

General John L. DeWitt issued over 100 military orders for the removal and incarceration of Japanese ancestry living in the West Coast states.

Ironically, people of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii were not removed or incarcerated.

Evacuation orders were posted in Japanese American communities giving instructions on how to comply with Executive Order 9066. Many Japanese American families sold their homes, their stores, and most of their assets.

Within months, approximately 117,000 people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of whom were native-born American citizens, were removed from regions of the West Coast to Japanese internment camps such as the one at Manzanar.

Until the Japanese internment camps were completed, many of the evacuees were held in temporary centers, such as the stables at local racetracks.

A total of 10 Japanese internment camps were established and military style barracks were constructed to incarcerate the people who had been relocated. The Japanese internment camps were built in remote, barren areas of seven western states. Manzanar was the first of the ten Japanese internment camps to be completed.

The Spartan conditions of Japanese internment camps, in remote and barren areas of the US, were surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Families including their children were housed in cramped "tar paper-covered barracks of simple frame construction without plumbing or cooking facilities of any kind." The people ate in military style mess halls. There was no privacy and people were forced to live in the harsh conditions for up to 4 years.

The Japanese internment camp at Tule Lake was eventually was used as a detention center for people believed to pose a security risk and a "segregation center" for people and families who were deemed "disloyal" and for those who were to be deported to Japan.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt rescinded Executive Order 9066 in 1944 and the last internment camp was closed by the end of 1945.

Facts about Executive Order 9066 for kids: The 1988 Civil Liberties Act
According to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, "were motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." In 1988, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act, popularly known as the Japanese American Redress Bill.

Congress apologized for the action taken to incarcerate Japanese-Americans at Japanese internment camps by awarding each surviving victim of internment $20,000. The act acknowledged that "a grave injustice was done". The history of the Executive Order 9066 and the Japanese internment camps are dark reminders of the nation's failure to respect the civil liberties, constitutional rights and cultural differences of this group of American citizens.

US American History
1929-1945: Depression & WW2

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