An Enemy Race

This is how Western Defense Commander John L. DeWitt characterized people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. He insisted that even those who had been born and raised as U.S. citizens nevertheless posed a threat because their Japanese “racial strains” were “undiluted.” Under the authority of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, DeWitt ordered the removal of all Japanese Americans from the West Coast in 1942. Allowed to take only what they could carry, they were imprisoned, without trial, in some of the most desolate places in the country. Today, the National Park Service preserves those sites so that visitors may learn their story.

Older Japanese man holds a baby on his shoulders.

Find a Park

Learn more about Japanese Incarceration at these National Park sites.

Last updated: March 2, 2021