It seems impossible that the United States government would round up citizens and send them off to internment camps but that's exactly what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII. From 1942-46, families were forcibly relocated to designated areas and held prisoner. It's a chilling chapter of history that today's politicians frequently cite, some as a cautionary tale, others as a basis for future discrimination.
After the war, public opinion declared that the forceful internment of around 120,000 Japanese Americans was one of the most shocking things ever done by the U.S. government. The internment sites may not have had gas chambers like German concentration camps, but their creation was rooted in xenophobia and racism nevertheless — a 1980 investigation by President Carter revealed as much. Dragging law-abiding citizens off to remote prisons when they weren't even accused of breaking a law is a messed up thing to do, and that is just the beginning of the story.
There are plenty of Japanese internment camp horror stories to be told. They're not easy to read, but necessary to understand how fear can undermine the supposed values of American democracy.
Internment Was By Executive Order
Two-Thirds Of Internees Were American Born
George Takei Recalls Being Forced Into A Camp At Gunpoint
People Couldn't Bring Much With Them
Many Families Lost Everything
San Franscisco Declared The Japanese District A SlumPhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY