February 19, 1942: President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066.

Although the text of the order simply stated that the Secretary of War and Military Commanders had the power “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”, it was eventually used to justify the relocation and internment of Japanese-Americans.

Many Japanese-Americans sought to prove their loyalty to the United States, such as the owner of this shop, captured in a famous Dorothea Lange photograph:

The man was later interned, along with over 150,000 other Japanese-Americans, nearly 2/3rds of whom were American citizens. War hysteria, self-interest, and racial prejudice led to widespread support for this mass relocation.

The United States Armed Forces eventually requested volunteers from the internees, and thousands of Japanese-Americans responded to the call: the 442nd Infantry Regiment was composed entirely of Japanese-Americans (many of whom had been interned), and it eventually became the most decorated unit in the history of the U.S. Military, receiving over 9,000 Purple Hearts and twenty-one Medals of Honor. 

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