The Japanese Internment of WWII – Their story in pictures – Part II – Planning the Relocation

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 made military and political leaders suspect that Imperial Japan was preparing a full-scale attack on the West Coast of the United States. There were many Japanese-American living in the area and the U. S. Government became increasingly concerned about where the loyalties lie.

After much debate, the Government finally decided to treat all Japanese-Americans as enemy aliens and they were ordered to relocate to internment camps for the duration of the world.

Internment camps were set up to house the Japanese-Americans.  In the pictures below, photographer Russell Lee documented their removal in April and May of 1942.

Uncertain of their future, these Japanese-Americans of San Benito County, California held a picnie to discuss the situation while they waited for final evacuation orderspicnic10




















Meanwhile construction was started on where to house the Japanese-Americans – Below are photographs of construction of the San Benito County reception center at Salinas, California

Construction work at Santa Anita reception center


Construction work at Santa Anita reception center2


Construction work on accommodations at Santa Anita reception center

Race tracks, fairgrounds and rodeo grounds were utilized throughout the state of California for reception centers for the Japanese. The Santa Anita racetrack in California was converted into a reception centerSanta Anita Racetrack

Construction work on accommodations for Japanese

Construction work on accommodations for the evacuees at the Santa Anita reception center3


santa anita racetrack2


Finally, the day came when they had to pack up and move

Japanese farmer packing up his tools before he is evacuated from West coast areas under United States Army war emergency order - used


Japanese pack their belongings as they close their stores in Little Tokyo2


Japanese pack up their belongings as they close their stores in Little Tokyo


Japanese-Americans leaving for reception center



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