Japanese americans

   Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 there were mounting fears among the population of the west coast states of subversion or “fifth column” among the resident Japanese American population of about 127,000. As a result President Franklin D. Roosevelt bowed to pressure from local politicians and military advisers and on 19 February 1942 issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the compulsory relocation of Japanese Americans to 10 internment camps established mainly in Arizona and Utah by the War Relocation Authority. Some 112,000 people, two-thirds of whom were American-born (Nisei), were evacuated with only a few days to prepare or to dispose of their property. It was estimated that the total losses for the Japanese Americans were in excess of $400 million. The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in Hirabayashi v. United States (1943) and Korematsu v. United States (1944). Despite this, some 12,000 Japanese Americans served in the U.S. Army, and the 442nd Infantry Combat Team of Nisei troops became the most decorated unit for its bravery in the Italian campaign.
   Following the Supreme Court decision in Endo v. United States (1944) that citizens accepted as loyal could not be detained against their will, the camp inmates were gradually released, but only 58 percent returned to the west coast. The great majority quickly reintegrated back into society, but approximately 7,000 returned to Japan. Congress approved a mere $38 million in compensation in 1948, but in 1988 a full official and public apology was issued to the 60,000 survivors of those interned, each of whom was paid $20,000 in cash.
   In addition to those held in the relocation camps, another 7,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese were held in camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Approximately 2,500 Japanese were interned in two camps in Hawaii. However, the majority of Japanese living in Hawaii were left at large in part because they were too sizeable a section of the population (35 percent), in part because martial law had been declared on the islands, and because of the greater degree of racial integration.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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