After America entered the war, President Woodrow Wilson declared all German citizens in the U.S. “alien enemies.” They were barred from living near military facilities or airports, in all port towns and in the nation's capital. They had to disclose their bank accounts and any other property to an Alien Property Custodian appointed by the attorney general. Furthermore, in 1918, Germans had to fill out registration affidavits and be fingerprinted. German citizens in America who failed to comply with these rules or who were considered potentially dangerous were placed in internment camps for the duration of the war.
This photograph shows “alien enemies” being transferred from Fort McPherson, an internment camp that primarily held German military and merchant seamen, to Fort Oglethorpe, where approximately 1,400 academics, journalists, artists, and business people were held in temporary custody. Fort McPherson was located in southwest Atlanta; Fort Oglethorpe was located in northwest Georgia. Photograph by Matthewson & Winn.