The Japanese American Internment
The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is an oft-overlooked and shameful chapter of American history. In the aftermath of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized, through Executive Order 9066, the forced evacuation of approximately 120,000 persons of Japanese descent from the West Coast of the U.S. and their involuntary internment in ten concentration camps on American soil. About two-thirds of the internees were American citizens.
Although many reasons were given at the time for the internment, all of them have been discredited as based in racial prejudice, animus, war-time hysteria and failure of political leadership. No U.S. citizen or alien of Japanese descent was ever charged with, let alone found guilty of, any act of espionage or sabotage, even though the U.S. government had insisted these concerns underlay its egregious policy. Decades later, the U.S. apologized for its actions and provided certain monetary reparations to surviving internees.
Allegiance – a new American musical, tells the story of a Japanese American family and their struggle to stay united and strong when the unimaginable happens and they are imprisoned in the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in the wastelands of Wyoming. The history of the internment of Japanese Americans is a fascinating and little-known part of our country’s history. This page offers a few of the hundreds of publicly available links as a starting point to learning more about this national tragedy. We encourage you to discover and explore more about our show and its historical setting.
Check back often, as this section will be updated with content and additional resources, some of which will be originally collated and created for this site, to help continue the dialogue, and to remember and understand, in the hope that we never repeat this mistake again.