Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which order a mass incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry (Children of the Camps 1). After the bombing on Pearl Harbor the United States was stricken with war hysteria. The government opened ten different Japanese Internment camps in Tule Lake, California; Minidoka, Idaho; Manzanar, California; Topaz, Utah; Jerome, Arkansas; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Poston, Arizona; Granada, Colorado; and Rowher, Arkansas (Japanese Relocation During World War II 1).
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan” (Japanese American Internment During World War II 1). As soon as America heard these words from the president it sent war hysteria into the heart of the people, especially on the west coast. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which permitted the military to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense (Children of the Camps 1). The orders led to the relocation of 112,000 Japanese Americans along the west coast of the United States (Friends of Minidoka - Twin Falls' Early Nikkei Community 1).
The relocation process was confusing, frustrating and frightening. Japanese Americans were required to register and receive identification numbers (Japanese American Internment During World War II 1). The Japanese Americans only had a few days to either sell all possessions or give it to a close friends or family to watch over the property. The Japanese Americans could only bring what could carry into the relocation centers. Until the official internment camps were completed, many of the evacuees were held in temporary centers, such as stables at local racetracks and fairgrounds. Almost two-thirds of the interns were Nisei, or Japanese Americans born in the United States. It made little difference that many of the people never went to Japan. Even Japanese American veterans of World War I were forced into the camps (Japanese-American Internment 1). Many Japanese Americans waited weeks to months to be moved into the official internment camps.
Daily life in the official camps was difficult for the Japanese Americans. Mary Tsukamoto, a Japanese American stated,
“We saw all these people behind the fence, looking out, hanging onto the wire, and looking out because they were anxious to know who was coming in. But I will never forget the shocking feeling that human beings were behind this fence like animals (crying). And we were going to also lose our freedom and walk inside of the gate and find ourselves… cooped up there… when the gates were shut, we knew that we had lost something that was very precious; that we were no longer free” (Our Story: American History...