Japanese Internment: Righting a Wrong (U.S. National Archives Blog)

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the forced evacuation and relocation of all people in “military areas” who might pose a threat to national security. Since the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor had occurred just months earlier, many believed that people of Japanese ancestry posed that threat, and the entire West Coast was deemed a military area.

Over the next six months, 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent were taken from their homes and put into internment camps—nearly 70,000 were American citizens.

The evacuation forced many to sell their property and businesses at severe losses. Following the war, several groups sought compensation for the internees. Congress subsequently passed legislation providing nominal compensation, but nothing near what was needed to attempt to make up for lost property, let alone the immeasurable loss of civil liberty.  

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