The Tragedy Of Manzanar
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the U.S. entered World War II. This attack worsened prejudice against Japanese Americans and led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign Executive Order 9066 in February 1942. The Order authorized the Secretary of War to create Military Areas and remove anyone who may threaten the war effort from those areas. Anyone of Japanese ancestry was then given days to settle their lives. They had to dispose of their houses, businesses, and belongings, often selling them at a loss or leaving them with friends and religious groups.
They were not told where they were going, and each family was given an identification number before they were transported to one of 17 centers before being moved to one of 10 relocation centers, which included Manzanar. All told, approximately 120,000 were sent to the internment camps. Manzanar itself housed 10,000, and about two-thirds of them were born in America. Manzanar itself was located on 500 acres in the middle of the high desert in California’s Eastern Sierra region.