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12 Facts About Japanese Internment in the United States

Portrait of internee Tom Kobayashi at Manzanar War Relocation Center, Owens Valley, California, 1943
Portrait of internee Tom Kobayashi at Manzanar War Relocation Center, Owens Valley, California, 1943
Ansel Adams, Library of Congress/ // No Known Copyright Restrictions

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which sanctioned the removal of Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese heritage from their homes to be imprisoned in internment camps throughout the country.

At the time, the move was sold to the public as a strategic military necessity. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the government argued that it was impossible to know where the loyalties of Japanese-Americans rested.

Between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were relocated to internment camps along the West Coast and as far east as Louisiana. Here are 12 facts about what former first lady Laura Bush has as "one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."

1. The government was already discussing detaining people before the Pearl Harbor attack.

In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt—who was concerned about Japan’s growing military might—instructed William H. Standley, his chief of naval operations, to clandestinely "every Japanese citizen or non-citizen on the island of Oahu who meets these Japanese ships [arriving in Hawaii] or has any connection with their officers or men" and to secretly place their names "on a special list of those who would be the first to be placed in a concentration camp in the event of trouble."

美女视频黄频大全视频This sentiment helped lead to the creation of the Custodial Detention List, which would later guide the U.S. in detaining 31,899 Japanese, German, and Italian nationals, separate from the 110,000-plus later interred, without charging them with a crime or offering them any access to legal counsel.

2. Initial studies of the “Japanese problem” proved that there wasn’t one.

In early 1941, Curtis Munson, a special representative of the State Department, was tasked with interviewing West Coast-based Japanese-Americans to gauge their loyalty levels in coordination with the FBI and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Munson that there was extraordinary patriotism among Japanese immigrants, saying that "90 percent like our way best," and that they were "extremely good citizen[s]" who were "straining every nerve to show their loyalty." Lieutenant Commander K.D. Ringle’s follow-up report showed the and argued against internment because only a small percentage of the community posed a threat, and most of those individuals were already in custody.

3. The general in charge of Western defense command took nothing happening after Pearl Harbor as proof that something would happen.

Minidoka Relocation Center. Community Store in block 30
National Archives at College Park, //

Despite both Munson and Ringle debunking the concept of internment as a strategic necessity, the plan moved ahead—spurred largely by Western Defense Command head General John L. DeWitt. One month after Pearl Harbor, DeWitt created the central ground for mass incarceration by : "The fact that nothing has happened so far is more or less ... ominous in that I feel that in view of the fact that we have had no sporadic attempts at sabotage that there is a control being exercised and when we have it, it will be on a mass basis."

DeWitt, whose ancestors were Dutch, didn’t want anyone of Japanese descent on the West Coast, that “American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty.”

4. Almost no one protested internment.

Alongside General DeWitt, Wartime Civil Control Administration director Colonel Karl Bendetsen that anyone with even “one drop of Japanese blood” should be incarcerated, and the country generally went along with that assessment. Some newspapers ran op-eds opposing the policy, and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies to push back, but as historian Eric Foner in The Story of American Freedom美女视频黄频大全视频, "One searches the wartime record in vain for public protests among non-Japanese." Senator Robert Taft was the only congressperson to the policy.

5. Supporting or opposing internment were both matters of economics.

White farmers and landowners on the West Coast had great to get rid of Japanese farmers who had come to the area only decades before and found success with new irrigation methods. They fomented deep hatred for their Japanese neighbors and publicly advocated for internment, which is one reason so many of the more than 110,000 Japanese individuals sent to camps came from the West Coast. In Hawaii, it was a different story. White business owners opposed internment, but not for noble reasons: They feared losing their workforce. Thus, only between 1200 and 1800 Japanese-Americans from Hawaii were sent to internment camps.

6. People were tagged for identification.

Children in a drawing class at Minidoka Relocation Center
National Archives at College Park, //

Moving entire communities of people to camps in California, Colorado, , and beyond was a gargantuan logistical task. The military assigned tags with ID numbers to families, including the children, to ensure they would be transferred to the correct camp. In 2012, artist Wendy Maruyama recreated thousands of these tags for an art exhibition she titled "The Tag Project."

"The process of replicating these tags using government databases, writing thousands of names, numbers, and camp locations became a meditative process," Maruyama Voices of San Diego. “And for the hundreds of volunteers, they could, for a minute or two as they wrote the names, contemplate and wonder what this person was thinking as he or she was being moved from the comforts of home to the spare and bare prisons placed in the foreboding deserts and wastelands of America. And could it happen again?”

7. Not everyone went quietly.

Directly combatting the image of the “polite” Japanese-Americans who acquiesced to internment without protest, collections of paint a disruptive picture of those who refused to go to the camps or made trouble once inside. Among those who were considered "problematic" were individuals who refused to register for the compulsory , which questions about whether the person was a registered voter and with which party, as well as marital status and "citizenship of wife" and "race of wife."

“A broadly understood notion of resistance represents a more complete picture of what happened during World War II,” David Yoo, a professor of Asian American Studies and History and vice provost at UCLA's Institute of American Cultures, told NBC News about collecting these resistance stories. “Because these stories touch upon human rights, they are important for all peoples.”

8. The government converted unused buildings into camp facilities.

美女视频黄频大全视频For the most part, camps were set against desert scrub land or infertile Ozark hills bordered with barbed wire. Before getting on buses to be transported to their new "homes," detainees had to go through processing centers housed in converted racetracks and fairgrounds, where they might stay for several months. The largest and most noteworthy was Santa Anita Park, a racetrack in Arcadia, California, which was shut down so that makeshift barracks could be assembled and horse stables could be used for sleeping quarters.

9. Ansel Adams took hundreds of photographs inside the most famous camp, as did an internee with a smuggled camera.

Wooden sign at entrance to the Manzanar War Relocation Center with a car at the gatehouse in the background
Ansel Adams, Library of Congress/ // Public Domain

Approximately 200 miles north of Santa Anita Park, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, was Manzanar美女视频黄频大全视频—which, with its 11,000 internees, was perhaps the most famous of America's 10 relocation centers. It was also the most photographed facility. In the fall of 1942, famed photographer —who was personally outraged by the situation when a family friend was taken from his home and moved halfway across the country—shot more than 200 images of the camp. In a letter to a friend about a book being made of the photos, Adams wrote that, "Through the pictures the reader will be introduced to perhaps 20 individuals ... loyal American citizens who are anxious to get back into the stream of life and contribute to our victory."

While Adams may have successfully offered a small glimpse at life inside Manzanar, —a photographer and detainee who managed to smuggle a lens and film into the camp, which he later fashioned into a makeshift camera—produced a series of photos that offered a much more intimate depiction of what everyday life was like for the individuals who were imprisoned there between 1942 and 1945. Today, is a National Historic Site.

10. Detainees were told they were in camps for their own protection.

Japanese-Hawaiian hula dancers on an improvised stage during one of the frequent talent shows at Santa Anita (California) Assembly Center
U.S. Signal Corps, Library of Congress, // Public Domain

Just as the justification for internment was an erroneous belief in mass disloyalty among a single racial group, the argument given to those incarcerated was that they were better off inside the barbed wire compounds than back in their own homes, where racist neighbors could assault them. When presented with that logic, one detainee , “If we were put there for our protection, why were the guns at the guard towers pointed inward, instead of outward?”

11. Internees experienced long-term health problems because of the camps, and children had it the worst.

美女视频黄频大全视频Internment officially lasted through 1944, with the last camp closing in early 1946. In those years, Japanese-Americans did their best to make lives for themselves on the inside. That included jobs and governance, as well as , religion, and . Children went to school, but there were also and to keep them occupied. But the effects of their internment were long-lasting.

There have been of the physical and psychological health of former internees. They found those placed in camps had a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and death, as well as traumatic stress. Younger internees experienced low self-esteem, as well as psychological trauma that led many to shed their Japanese culture and language. Gwendolyn M. Jensen’s The Experience of Injustice: Health Consequences of the Japanese American Internment found that younger internees “reported more post-traumatic stress symptoms of unexpected and disturbing flashback experiences than those who were older at the time of incarceration.”

12. A congressional panel called it a “grave injustice" ... 40 years later.

Japanese Americans going to Manzanar gather around a baggage car at the old Santa Fe Station. (April 1942)
Russell Lee, Library of Congress, // Public Domain

It wasn’t until 1983 that a special Congressional commission determined that the mass internment was a matter of racism and not of military strategy. Calling the incarceration a “,” the panel cited the ignored Munson and Ringle reports, the absence of any documented acts of espionage, and delays in shutting down the camps due to weak political leadership from President Roosevelt on down as factors in its conclusion. The commission paved the way for President Reagan to the Civil Liberties Act, which gave each surviving internee $20,000 and officially apologized. Approximately two-thirds of the more than 110,000 people detained were U.S. citizens.

This list first ran in 2018.

You Can Win Two Nintendo Switch Consoles While Donating to COVID-19 Relief

Chesnot/Getty Images
Chesnot/Getty Images

Since its debut in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has been one of the most popular video game consoles on the market, 52 million units worldwide in just three years. But with that type of success comes scarcity—and if you’re looking to pick up your own Switch, well, .

The console has seen supply problems for the past few months due to the coronavirus pandemic, and used and are selling for well over the sticker value online. But with a little luck on your side, you could win two brand-new Switch consoles, thanks to this sweepstakes .

Your first entry into the sweepstakes is free, but if you want to increase your chances, you can donate $10 for 100 entries, $25 for 250, $50 for 1000, or $100 for 2000. Those donations will then go International Medical Corps’s Epidemic Response Team—made up of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals—in their worldwide efforts against the coronavirus outbreak. This support includes everything from essential training for healthcare providers and equipment deployment to the administering of medicine and community outreach.

Along with the two Switch consoles, the winner will also receive two Ring Fit Adventure bundles, two Mario Kart wheels, and $600 to spend on more games. The deadline to enter is June 16, with the winner being announced on or around July 1. You can enter for yourself .

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

For the First Time Ever, You Can Watch the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge via Livestream

Sunrise at Stonehenge.
Sunrise at Stonehenge.
AndyRoland/iStock via Getty Images

Tourists can't experience next month's summer solstice at Stonehenge in person, but in 2020, more people will be able to view the event than ever before. As reports, the English Heritage organization will livestream the spectacle for the first time in the ancient landmark's history.

The first day of summer is a very important occasion at Stonehenge. When the Sun appears over the horizon on the solstice, it appears to line up perfectly with the massive stone structure. This has led some to believe that Stonehenge played an important role in druid solstice celebrations when it was erected between 3500 and 5000美女视频黄频大全视频 years ago.

Under normal circumstances, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the site at the end of June to witness the event. This year, English Heritage, which manages the landmark, is asking people to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization hopes to make up for this by streaming the solstice at Stonehenge live on social media.

美女视频黄频大全视频To watch the special sunrise live from home, head to English Heritage's the morning of June 21 (or, if you're tuning in from the U.S., the evening of June 20). The sun rises at Stonehenge at approximately 4:52 a.m. local time, so check to see when that is in your area to watch the event live. The page will also stream sunset on Saturday, June 20, at 9:26 p.m. local time.

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