Domestic Aliens Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Pearl Harbor may have served as a call to arms for the American public, but it also brought out racial prejudice toward Japanese Americans, who were forced to suffer severe hardships during World War II. Some 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent, most of them citizens, were rounded up by the federal government and relocated to internment camps in California, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming. There they lived in crudely constructed barracks and were watched over by armed military personnel. No evidence of disloyalty or unpatriotic behavior on their part needed to be produced to keep them confined, although the FBI did carry out investigations throughout the war years and uncovered a number of cases of espionage on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Select groups of Italian and German nationals (not US citizens) residing in the United States also were designated “enemy aliens” and relocated or deported, but not on a scale comparable to the systematic internment of Japanese Americans.

Pearl Harbor may have served as a call to arms for the American public, but it also brought out racial prejudice toward Japanese Americans, who were forced to suffer severe hardships during World War II. Some 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent, most of them citizens, were rounded up by the federal government and relocated to internment camps in California, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming. There they lived in crudely constructed barracks and were watched over by armed military personnel. No evidence of disloyalty or unpatriotic behavior on their part needed to be produced to keep them confined, although the FBI did carry out investigations throughout the war years and uncovered a number of cases of espionage on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Select groups of Italian and German nationals (not US citizens) residing in the United States also were designated “enemy aliens” and relocated or deported, but not on a scale comparable to the systematic internment of Japanese Americans.

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