Executive Order 9066: World War II-Era Japanese Internment Camps

Surely one of the darkest chapters in modern American history is the WWII-era Japanese Internment camps. After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, an intense and racist fear gripped this country. It was thought that anyone of Japanese descent, particularly on the West Coast, posed a threat to security as the U.S. entered World War II against Japan and the Axis powers. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s infamous Executive Order 9066 demanded that Japanese Americans, many U.S. citizens, surrender their property and relocate to remote western internment camps. This NTC examines the historical background of this period—the government’s role, the war era, and the victims. We will examine first-hand contemporary and historical accounts from detainees and learn about the rich, daily camp life. We will also view examples of art, literature, and cultural production made in and about the experience. Altogether, teachers will gain an enhanced understanding of this traumatic episode in our history––one that concerned America’s treatment of immigrants in a time of global conflict.