Lessons Learned: Japanese-American Internment During WWII

February 21, 2012

Lessons Learned: Japanese-American Internment During WWII
Explainer Video
from The Water's Edge

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which began the process of interning Japanese-Americans due to the alleged threat they posed while the United States was at war with Japan. During the next four years, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them U.S. citizens, would be removed from their homes, primarily along the Pacific coast, and relocated to inland camps.

More From Our Experts

James M. Lindsay, CFR’s senior vice president and director of studies, says the decision to intern many Japanese-Americans during the war demonstrates the difficulty of striking a balance between civil liberties and national security. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he argues, the United States was again faced with difficult decisions over limits to civil liberties. Americans learned from the mistakes of World War II, he says, and the experiences of Japanese-American internees should serve as a reminder of the danger of allowing national security to trump civil liberty.

More on:

United States

Japan

Wars and Conflict

Political History and Theory

This video is part of Lessons Learned, a series exploring historical events and examining their meaning in the context of foreign relations today.

More on:

United States

Japan

Wars and Conflict

Political History and Theory

Up
Close

Explore More on CFR

Syria

Syria is likely to remain a broken country for years to come. The latest strikes did not change that reality.

Cuba

Miguel Diaz-Canel, set to replace Raul Castro as president of Cuba after sixty years of Castro rule, will be faced with the challenges of implementing economic reform and sidestepping regional isolation.

United Kingdom

With the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, London hopes its Commonwealth partners can help boost trade, but critics say the group is outmoded and ineffective.