The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Many Americans were afraid of another attack, so the state representatives pressured President Roosevelt to do something about the Japanese who were living in the United States at the time. President Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066 which allowed local military commanders to designate military areas as exclusion zones, from which any or all persons may be excluded. Twelve days later, this was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast. This included all of California and most of Oregon and Washington.
Because of this order, 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the U.S. were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. The United States justified their action by claiming that there was a danger of those of Japanese descent spying for the Japanese. However more than two-thirds, approximately 62 percent, of those interned were American citizens and half of them were children. None had ever shown disloyalty to the nation. In some cases family members were separated and put in different camps. Only ten people were convicted of spying for the Japanese during the entire war and they were all white people. None of them were Japanese. Because of the wartime hysteria and prejudice, many Japanese people were forced to leave their homes and go to the intern camps.
However, the military officials were concerned about the loyalty of Japanese descendants. They were considered to be security risks. These concerns were based more on racial bias than on actual risk. There is a quote from the administrator of the internment program, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt. He testified to congress that "I don't want any of them persons here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty. It makes no difference whether or not he is an American citizen, he is still Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty. But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map."
They also feared that the Japanese would sabotage the factories in the United States. They were also concerned about the safety of California's water systems, which they considered to be vulnerable.
The life in the interment camps was hard. The internees were only allowed to bring a few possessions with them. They were only given 48 hours to evacuate their homes and get all of their affairs in order. Many were taken advantage of, because they could not sell the things that they couldn't take with them so people would give them next to nothing for their stuff that they were trying to sell.
They were forced to live in barracks and had to use communal areas for doing things such as their laundry, and washing and eating. Many internees died form inadequate medical care. They also suffered from the high levels of emotional stress that they were under. Some camps were located in the desert. This was also hard on the internees because of the extreme temperatures. The camps were run by the military. They were surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire fences.
Some of the Japenese who were forced to live in the camps did question their loyalty to the United Sates after they were forced to live in the camps. This is because the government had separated them from their families and friends, and had made them live in the camps. In fact, several pro-Japan groups started inside the camps. There were even a few demonstrations and riots.
The government gave everyone over the age of seventeen in the detetion centers a survey. It only had two questions 1. Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered? 2. Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign...