Evacuating Japanese Americans

Historical content: 
The New Deal and World War II
Historical skills: 
Background knowledge, Contextualization, Corroboration
Common Core: 
#1 (Gr. 6-12)



Use the background information, your knowledge of history, and the photograph to answer the questions that follow. 

Background Information: In 1942, more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were evacuated from their homes and businesses in West Coast areas following President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, issued February 19, 1942.


Title: Los Angeles, California. The evacuation of Japanese Americans from West Coast under U.S. Army emergency order. Waiting for a train to take them to camps in Owens Valley.
Photographer: Russell Lee
Date: April 1942

Question 1: How is the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, connected to the evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in 1942?

Question 2: How is the Gentlemen’s Agreement in 1907 connected to the evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in 1942?

About the Assessment

Like Connections to the Philippine-American War, this assessment gauges students' knowledge of the past.  Rather than measure whether students can simply recall decontextualized facts, this assessment requires students to make connections across time and construct an argument about how events are connected. Students with a strong sense of the past will be able to explain that the bombing at Pearl Harbor made Americans suspicious of Japanese and Japanese Americans living in the United States and imprison them in camps.  Strong students will also be able to place internment in the historical context of American xenophobia directed at individuals of Asian descent and explain how both the Gentlemen's Agreement and the internment of Japanese Americans were a product of this.