By the outbreak of World War II, the Nazi party's foreign countries organization (NSDAP/AO) sought to organize German citizens abroad, and managed to enroll between 3% and 9% of the German citizens in the American countries. Though disappointed by low participation, NSDAP/AO by public activities of uniformed members managed to be perceived more influential than it actually was. False American media reports also contributed to this public misperception of Germans in the Americas.
After Pearl Harbor, the US' FBI drafted a list of Germans in fifteen Latin American states it suspected of subversive activities and demanded their eviction to the US for detention. From these countries, 4,058 Germans were expelled accordingly. Among them were 10% to 15% Nazi party members, including some dozen NSDAP/AO recruiters and eight people suspected of espionage. Also among them were 81 Jewish Germans who had just fled persecution in Nazi Germany before. The bulk were ordinary Germans, who were residents in these states for years or decades. Some were expelled because corrupt Latin American officials took the opportunity to seize their property, or ordinary Latin Americans were after the financial reward for denounciation paid by the US intelligence. Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico did not participate in the US expulsion program. Besides the Germans evicted to the US, national internment camps for Axis citizens were set up in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as in the Panama Canal Zone. The US internment camps to which Germans from Latin America were directed were in Texas (camps Crystal City, Kennedy, Seagoville), Florida (Camp Blanding), Oklahoma (Stringtown), North Dakota (Fort Lincoln), Tennessee (Camp Forrest) and other sites.
In the US, there were 1,237,000 persons of German birth in 1940, and 5 million persons with both parents born in Germany, and 6 million persons with at least one parent born in Germany. The size and resulting political and economical potential of German Americans spared them from sharing the experiences of Japanese Americans, who as a group were expelled and detained. Rather, Germans and German Americans in the US were detained and evicted from coastal areas on an individual basis - mass expulsion from the East or West coast areas for reasons of military security were considered by the War Department, but not executed. A total of 11,507 people of German ancestry were interned during the war, making up for 36.1% of the total internments following the US Justice Department's Enemy Alien Control Program. Internments started with the detention of 1,260 Germans shortly after Pearl Harbor. Of the 254 persons evicted from coastal areas, the majority were German.