Hysteria followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Many in the U.S. government and the general population believed an invasion was imminent.
The detention of 110,000 Japanese Americans was intended to prevent anyone on U.S. soil from aiding the enemy. The soldiers who built, guarded, and forcibly detained 9,000 men, women, and children at Minidoka War Relocation Center believed they were protecting their country.
History proved them wrong.
Most of the original buildings at Minidoka were demolished after World War II. The land was divided into small farms and given away to war veterans via lottery.
At Minidoka National Historic Site, only the guard house, waiting area, and a potato cellar dug by detainees remain. Interpretive signs along a path tell the story of the internment and the lives of those who lived here from 1942 to 1945. Their names are etched on a commemorative plaque.
The site also honors the nearly 1,000 detainees who served in the U.S. Army during the war.
If You Go:
The nearby Jerome County Museum houses an exhibit about Minidoka. You can also see one of the barracks at Idaho Farm and Ranch Museum.