The story of the forced internment of Japanese Americans, American citizens, probably most of them born in this country, many multiple generations deep in the USA, is one of the things which sent me down the small government road way back when I was a kid. How was it that the AMERICAN government could do this to AMERICAN citizens? How could we, the land of the free, have a government powerful enough to commit such a horrible injustice? I was young and naive, but fundamentally the crime committed by FDR, and I think it’s fair to say crime, struck me as almost unbelievable.
Sadly it really did happen. There is a reason why my grandmother said that FDR was the closest this country had ever come to a dictator.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, empowering the Secretary of War to designate parts of the country as military zones and exclude people from them as he saw fit.
The result: Approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the west coast were rounded up and relocated, forced to abandon their homes, businesses and possessions. Two-thirds were natural born American citizens.
They were “evacuated” to “relocation centers” (polite euphemisms for concentration camps), 10 of which were built across seven western states.