Fort Meade (detention facility)
|US Gov Name||Fort Meade Internment Camp|
|Facility Type||U.S. Army Internment Camp|
|Administrative Agency||U.S. Army|
|Location||Fort George Meade, Maryland (39.0000 lat, -76.6167 lng)|
|Population Description||Held Japanese immigrants from the U.S.; also held German and Italian nationals.|
|General Description||Located southwest of Baltimore in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.|
|Peak Population||384 (1942-05-04)|
|National Park Service Info|
Large army post in Maryland that was also used as an internment and POW camp during World War II.
Camp Annapolis Junction was built during World War I at a site in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, that was about twenty miles south of Baltimore and forty-five miles north of Washington, D.C. Over 100,000 soldiers trained there during World War I. It was later named Fort George G. Meade after a Civil War general and to differentiate it from another Fort Meade in South Dakota. It became one of the army's largest training facilities during World War II, with some 3.5 million men passing through between 1942 and 1946. Many Nisei soldiers training as replacements for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were among them, particularly after the closing of Camp Shelby in February 1942. 
An internment and POW camp was also part of the complex. Most of those interned were German, though there were a significant number of Japanese as well. Of the 384 internees being held at Fort Meade as of May 4, 1942, 216 were German, 136 Japanese, and 32 Italian. One of them was Toru Matsumoto, a young divinity student in New York who had been arrested on Dec. 7 and interned at Ellis Island and Camp Upton before being transferred to Fort Meade in the spring of 1942. In his 1946 memoir, Matsumoto writes that the Japanese internees lived in their own complex separate from the Germans and Italians and that they slept in tents. As at other camps, the internees organized themselves, choosing a representative to communicate with the administration and chairmen to oversee various aspects of internee life. Mail was initially delayed due to censorship problems, which caused unrest in the camp. Matsumoto described the internee population as being largely made up of businessmen working for Japanese firms in New York and vicinity who "were Japanese to the bone" and whose thinking clashed with his own pacifism and opposition to Japanese militarism. But there were also Japanese American community leaders among the internees as well, such as Rev. Hōzen Seki, who had established the New York Buddhist Church in 1937. When the opportunity came for repatriation, the vast majority of internees applied, and ninety-four men from Camp Meade left in June to sail to Japan on the first voyage of the Gripsholm, leaving only twenty-nine internees behind. According to Tetsuden Kashima, there were still 291 internees at Camp Meade as of March 12, 1943, 195 German, 75 Japanese, and 21 Italian. The first POWs arrived in September 1943 numbering 1,632 Italians and 58 Germans. 
Fort Meade is still in use today and is the largest employer in the State of Maryland. 
- Emily George, "Fort George G. Meade, Maryland," On Point 21.1. (Summer 2015), 44–46; Tamotsu Shibutani, "Rumor and Collective Behavior, Case Study V: Rumors Among Nisei Infantry Replacements Awaiting Overseas Shipment at Fort Meade, Maryland" , pp. 3, 7, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder T7.20 https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6ff41d7/?brand=oac4 .
- George, "Fort George G. Meade, Maryland," 46; Tetsuden Kashima, Judgment Without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment during World War II (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), 256n30, 257n32; Toru Matsumoto and Marion O. Lerrigo, A Brother Is a Stranger (New York: John Day Co., 1946), 233–50; Duncan Ryūken Williams, American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019), 368–69n122; Daniel H. Inouye, Distant Islands: The Japanese American Community in New York City, 1867-1930s (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2018), 224–29.
- George, "Fort George G. Meade, Maryland," 47.
Last updated July 30, 2021, 5:44 p.m..