Executive Order 9066

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Sign posted notifying people of Japanese descent to report for relocation.
A girl detained in Arkansas walks to school in 1943.

Executive Order 9066 is a United States presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones. Eventually, EO 9066 cleared the way for the deportation of Japanese Americans to internment camps. The executive order was spurred by a combination of war hysteria and reactions to the Niihau Incident.

Transcript of Executive Order 9066[edit]

"Executive" Order No. 9066

The President

Executive Order

Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas

Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);

Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.

I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.

I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.

This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House,

February 19, 1942." [1]

Relocation Under Executive Order 9066[edit]

As a result, nearly 122,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry on the west coast of the United States were relocated across the country and held in internment camps. Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not incarcerated in the same way, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Niihau notwithstanding. Although the Japanese American population in Hawaii was nearly 40% of the population of Hawaii itself, only a few thousand people were detained there, suggesting that their mass removal on the West Coast was motivated by other reasons than "military necessity." [2]

In fact, Japanese Americans and other Asian Americans suffered from prejudice and racially-motivated fear. Laws preventing Japanese-Americans and other Asian-Americans from owning land and other racially-motivated discriminatory laws existed long before World War II. A study secretly commissioned by President Roosevelt to assess the possibility that Japanese Americans would pose a threat to US security before Pearl Harbor was bombed found that "There will be no armed uprising of Japanese" in the United States. "For the most part," the Munson Report said, "the local Japanese are loyal to the United States or, at worst, hope that by remaining quiet they can avoid concentration camps or irresponsible mobs." [2]

Over 60% of the people of Japanese ethnicity interned, almost 70,000 people — were American citizens. Many of the rest had lived in this country between 20 and 40 years. Most Japanese Americans, particularly the first generation born in the United States (the nisei), considered themselves loyal to the United States of America. No Japanese American or Japanese national resident in the United States was ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage.[2]

Americans of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. 11,000 people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees. The interned Jewish refugees came from Germany, as the U.S. government did not differentiate between ethnic Jews and ethnic Germans (the term "Jewish" was defined as a religious practice, not an ethnicity). Some of the internees of European descent were interned only briefly, while others were held for several years beyond the end of the war. Like the Japanese internees, these smaller groups had American-born citizens in their numbers, especially among the children. A few members of ethnicities of other Axis countries were interned, but exact numbers are unknown.

Relocation Camps Under Executive Order 9066 During World War Two[edit]

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson was responsible for assisting relocated people with transport, food, shelter, and other accommodations.[1] These accommodations consisted of tar paper-walled frame buildings in parts of the country with bitter winters and often, hot summers. The internment camps were guarded by armed soldiers and fenced with barbed wire (security measures not shown in published photographs of the camps). Camps held up to 8,000 people, and were small cities, with medical care, food, and education provided by the government. Adults were offered "camp jobs" with wages of $5/day, and many camp services such as medical care and education were provided by the camp inmates themselves.[2]

Post-World War II[edit]

In December 1944, President Roosevelt rescinded Executive Order 9066. Internees were released, often to resettlement facilities and temporary housing, and the internment camps were shut down by 1946.[2]

In the years after the war, the interned Japanese Americans had to rebuild their lives. United States citizens and long-time residents who had been incarcerated lost their personal liberties; many also lost their homes, businesses, property, and savings. Individuals born in Japan were not allowed to become naturalized US citizens until 1952.[2]

Executive Order 9066 was rescinded by Gerald Ford on February 19, 1976.[3] In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed legislation to create the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). The CWRIC was appointed to conduct an official governmental study of Executive Order 9066, related wartime orders, and their impact on Japanese Americans in the West and Alaska Natives in the Pribilof Islands.

In December 1982, the CWRIC issued its findings in Personal Justice Denied, concluding that the incarceration of Japanese Americans had not been justified by military necessity. The report determined that the decision to incarcerate was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership". The Commission recommended legislative remedies consisting of an official Government apology and redress payments of $20,000 to each of the survivors; a public education fund was set up to help ensure that this would not happen again (Public Law 100-383).

On August 10, 1988, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, based on the CWRIC recommendations, was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. On November 21, 1989, George H. W. Bush signed an appropriation bill authorizing payments to be paid out between 1990 and 1998. In 1990, surviving internees began to receive individual redress payments and a letter of apology. This bill applied to the Japanese Americans and to members of the Aleut people inhabiting the strategic Aleutian islands in Alaska who were also relocated.[4]

The anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 is now the Day of Remembrance, an annual commemoration of the internment in the Japanese American community.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roosevelt, Franklin (February 19, 1942). "Executive Order 9066". U.S. National Archives & Records Administration. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Relocation and Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II". University of California - Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  3. ^ President Gerald R. Ford's Proclamation 4417.
  4. ^ US Government (August 10, 1988). "Public Law 100-383 - The Civil Liberties Act of 1988". Topaz Japanese-American Relocation Center Digital Collection. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]