American World War II Industry and Relocation 1941–45

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Map Code: Ax01281

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, President Roosevelt stated America should become the ‘arsenal of democracy’ and US factories increased productivity to support the war effort. The Manhatttan Project established major nuclear facilities in preparation for the atom bomb: Hanford in Washington extracted plutonium; while uranium was purified and extracted at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Considered potential spies, 120 Japanese-Americans were interned in ten isolated relocation centres in the west. These centres were patrolled by guards and surrounded by barbed wire. Difficult prisoners were sent to citizen isolation camps in Moab or Leupp and the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands, considered ‘hostile’, were sent to camps in Sitka, Alaska. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) created internment camps where Axis nationals, including Germans, Italians, Japanese and Latin Americans, were imprisoned. There were also prisoner of war camps, which housed over 425,000 (mostly German) prisoners of war.

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