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Book Cover
Cover Page


Table of Contents





Brief History

Gila River


Heart Mountain







Tule Lake

Isolation Centers

Add'l Facilities

Assembly Centers

DoJ and US Army Facilities



Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Confinement and Ethnicity:
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An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites

by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord

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Chapter 3 (continued)
A Brief History of Japanese American
Relocation During World War II

In the Aftermath of Pearl Harbor

aliens at Camp Sharp Detention Station
Figure 3.3. Aliens at the Camp Sharp Detention Station prior to transfer to internment camps.
(Clem Albers photograph, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)
Beginning December 7, the Justice Department organized the arrests of 3,000 people whom it considered "dangerous" enemy aliens, half of whom were Japanese (Figure 3.3). Of the Japanese, those arrested included community leaders who were involved in Japanese organiza-tions and religious groups. Evidence of actual subversive activities was not a prerequisite for arrest. At the same time, the bank accounts of all enemy aliens and all accounts in American branches of Japanese banks were frozen. These two actions paralyzed the Japanese American community by depriving it of both its leadership and financial assets.

In late January 1942 many of the Japanese arrested by the Justice Department were transferred to internment camps in Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota. Often their families had no idea of their whereabouts for weeks. Some internees were reunited with their families later in relocation centers. However, many remained in Justice camps for the duration of the war.

After Pearl Harbor, the shock of a sneak attack on American soil caused widespread hysteria and paranoia. It certainly did not help matters when Frank Knox, Roosevelt's Secretary of the Navy, blamed Pearl Harbor on "the most effective fifth column work that's come out of this war, except in Norway." Knox apparently already realized that the local military's lack of preparedness far overshadowed any espionage in the success of the attack but did not want the country to lose faith in the Navy (Daniels 1989:35). This scapegoating opened the door to sensationalistic newspaper headlines about sabotage, fifth column activities, and imminent invasion. Such stories had no factual basis, but fed the growing suspicions about Japanese Americans (J.A.C.P. 1973). In fact, as far as Japanese attacks on the mainland were concerned, the military had already concluded that Japanese hit-and-run raids were possible, but that any large-scale invasion was beyond the capacity of the Japanese military, as was any invasion of Japan by the U.S. military.

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Last Modified: Fri, Sep 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

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