Japanese Americans at Manzanar and Tule Lake

Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were kept during World War II.

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, led the United States into World War II and radically changed the lives of 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. The attack intensified racial prejudices and led to fear of potential sabotage and espionage by Japanese Americans among some in the government, military, news media, and public.

In February, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War to establish Military Areas and to remove from those areas anyone who might threaten the war effort. Without due process, the government gave everyone of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast only days to decide what to do with their houses, farms, businesses, and other possessions. Most families sold their belongings at a significant loss. Some rented their properties to neighbors. Others left possessions with friends or religious groups. Some abandoned their property. They did not know where they were going or for how long.

Each family was assigned an identification number and loaded into cars, buses, trucks, and trains, taking only what they could carry. Japanese Americans were transported under military guard to 17 temporary assembly centers located at racetracks, fairgrounds, and similar facilities in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. Then they were moved to one of 10 hastily built relocation centers including Manzazar and Tule Lake Relocation Center. By November, 1942, the relocation was complete.

Read more: https://www.nps.gov/manz/learn/historyculture/japanese-americans-at-manzanar.htm