Pre-War to Spring 1942
By 1940, racially motivated hostilities both in daily life and on a legislative level were inflicted upon Nikkei, or people of Japanese ancestry. As early as 1924, legislation such as the Asian Exclusion Act set precedent for the discrimination and prejudice that would culminate in the unconstitutional actions taken against people of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Following the attack on the United States Naval Station at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the US officially declared war with Imperial Japan. Just two months later, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. The executive branch authorized specific areas within the United States as “military zones” in which Japanese Americans, regardless of their status of US citizenship were to be removed and imprisoned against their will without due process for the duration of the war.
Last updated: September 3, 2019