18 March 1942

The War Relocation Authority is established in the United States to take Japanese Americans into custody.

The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was a United States government agency established during World War II with the primary purpose of overseeing the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. This action was carried out following the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942.

Executive Order 9066 authorized the Secretary of War and military commanders to designate certain areas as military zones and to exclude individuals from those areas. As a result, over 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent, the majority of whom were American citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in internment camps located in remote areas of the country.

The WRA was tasked with managing the relocation process, including the establishment and operation of the internment camps. These camps were often situated in desolate regions with harsh living conditions. Families were forced to leave behind their homes, businesses, and possessions, facing significant economic and psychological hardships.

Although the government cited reasons of national security and military necessity for the internment, many historians and scholars have since criticized it as a grave violation of civil liberties and human rights. In 1988, the United States government formally apologized for the internment and enacted the Civil Liberties Act, which provided reparations and a formal apology to surviving Japanese American internees.

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II stands as a dark chapter in American history, highlighting the dangers of prejudice, racism, and the erosion of civil liberties during times of conflict and fear.