World War II: Home Front
World War II: Home Front

John L. DeWitt in World War II: Home Front

John L. DeWitt (1880-1962) was an American military commander who is commonly remembered for the role he played in the internment of some 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.

On 2 May 2 1942, General John L. DeWitt issued orders to create Military Areas Number 1 and Number 2 in portions of California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona for the internment of Japanese Americans. In the wake of Japan's surprise attack against the American naval station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, DeWitt deemed all people of Japanese descent on the West Coast to be a security risk and ordered their imprisonment as a vital war measure. The U.S. government would officially apologize for the unjust imprisonment of Japanese-Americans in 1988, attributing the wartime policy to "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

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