It is interesting to note that, despite the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not incarcerated en masse. Of the total Japanese American population in Hawaii-which made up nearly 40% of the population of Hawaii itself, and a large portion of the skilled workforce-only a few thousand people were detained. The fact that so few Japanese Americans were incarcerated in Hawaii suggests that their mass removal on the West Coast was racially motivated rather than born of "military necessity." Agricultural interest groups in western states and many local politicians had long been opposed to the presence of Japanese Americans and used the attack on Pearl Harbor to step up calls for their removal.
The United States was fighting the war on three fronts — Japan, Germany, and Italy — compared to the number of Japanese Americans, a relatively small number of Germans and Italians were interned in the United States. But although Executive Order 9066 was written in vague terms that did not specify an ethnicity, it was used for the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. The government claimed that incarceration was for military necessity and, ironically, to "protect" Japanese Americans from racist retribution they might face as a result of Pearl Harbor. (These reasons were l...
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...ties. The government provided medical care, schools, and food, and adults often held camp jobs — in food service, agriculture, medical clinics, as teachers, and other jobs required for daily life.
In December 1944, President Roosevelt rescinded Executive Order 9066, and the WRA began a six-month process of releasing internees (often to "resettlement" facilities and temporary housing) and shutting down the camps. In August 1945, the war was over. By 1946, the camps were closed and all of the internees had been released to rebuild their lives.
In the postwar years, these Japanese Americans had to rebuild their lives. The US citizens and long-time residents who had been incarcerated had lost their personal liberties, and many also lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings. Individuals born in Japan were not allowed to become naturalized US citizens until 1952.
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