Authors

Midori Knowles

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

On December 7th, 1941, the United States was the victim of a tragic attack on a naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This resulted in the United States’ entry into World War II, including the declaration of war against the country of Japan. On February 19th, 1942, just two months after the attacks, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which permitted the War Relocation Authority (WRA) to relocate over 110,000 Japanese- American citizens. The forced relocation sent these Japanese-Americans to ten relocation centers spread throughout the west and mid-west of the country. The government declared that this relocation was necessary for the safety of the United States, placing the responsibility for the internment camps in the hands of the WRA. Members of the WRA were in charge of housing, feeding, educating and providing employment for the evacuees during the indefinite amount of time that the camps were in existence. This led to the enlistment of accountants to keep track of and create planning for records, budgets, and controls, as well as perform their duty as Americans to serve the federal government when asked to do so. This paper will highlight the role of accounting in one of the largest government orchestrated crimes against American citizens in American history. The WRA’s use of accounting throughout World War II will be examined throughout this paper; specifically its role in establishing, running, maintaining and closing the ten Japanese relocation centers. This paper will further explore the integration of history and business and emphasize the importance of accounting used for the relocation centers. Last, the role of accounting in U.S. government history will also be discussed from several ethical standpoints. This paper will describe the critical role of accountants during this time period in history and discuss ethical implications for the accounting profession.

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