In the months following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many expected an immediate attack against the West Coast. Fear gripped the country and a wave of hysterical antipathy against the Japanese engulfed the Pacific Coast.
The FBI quickly began rounding up any and all "suspicious" Japanese for internment. None was ever charged with any crime. Almost all were simply Japanese community leaders, Buddhist or Shinto priests, newspaper editors, language or Judo instructors, or labor organizers. The Japanese community leadership was liquidated in one quick operation.
Men were taken away without notice. Most families knew nothing about why their men had suddenly disappeared, to where they were taken, or when they would be released. Some arrestees were soon let free, but most were secretly shipped to internment camps around the country. Some families learned what had happened to their men only several years later. The action also included the freezing of bank accounts, seizure of contraband, drastic limitation on travel, curfew and other severely restrictive measures. But this FBI operation merely set the stage for the mass evacuation to come.