Minidoka National Historic Site in Jerome, Idaho

The people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast of the United States had made lives for themselves in spite of discrimination, but on December 7, 1941, everything changed. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, panicked people believed every Japanese person could be a potential spy, ready and willing to assist in an invasion that was expected at any moment. Many political leaders, army officers, newspaper reporters, and ordinary people came to believe that everyone of Japanese ancestry, including American citizens, needed to be removed from the West Coast.


Know Before You Go

Minidoka is not well marked by signs and this limits access to many people. As a national site, there were no signs on the main roads or highways.

It is a fascinating study of public hysteria and what can happen “for the greater good”. I believe a listing in Atlas Obscura would expand the reach of this information, allowing their story of survival and triumph to be told. 


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