December 11, 1941
Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.
Church and community leaders in Los Angeles meet to discuss ways to help Japanese Americans who lost their jobs or whose businesses were forced to close due to Department of Justice actions against them. The Church Federation forms a “Church Emergency Defense Committee.”
December 12, 1941
Congress passes plan for censorship, principally of the U.S. mails. President Roosevelt implements the plan.
President Roosevelt appoints Alien Property Custodian in the Department of Justice. $27.5 million in business and real estate owned by Japanese Issei is seized. The Treasury Department freezes all deposits held in Japanese banks.
The San Luis Obispo Independent in California is the first paper to call for mass internment of Japanese Americans. There are seven subsequent editorials calling for the same.
December 13, 1941
Major General Joseph W. Stilwell, in charge of U.S. Army in Southern California, criticizes the Western Defense Command intelligence, stating: “Common sense is thrown to the winds and any absurdity is believed… The [Fourth] Army G-2 is just another amateur, like all the rest of the staff. RULE: the higher the headquarters the more important is calm. Nothing should go out unconfirmed. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems at first.”
The San Francisco News writes: “To subject these people [Japanese Americans] to illegal search and seizure, to arrest without warrant, to confinement without trial, is to violate the principles of Democracy as set forth in our Constitution.”
The Contra Costa Gazette in Martinez, California, editorialized: “They [Japanese Americans] are as indignant as their fairer brothers over the cowardly assault of the Japanese warlords on American possessions.”
December 15, 1941
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox returns to Washington, DC, after trip to Hawai’i. He tells press: “I think the most effective fifth column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii with the possible exception of Norway.” This statement unjustifiably blames the Japanese American community in Hawai’i for the military disaster at Pearl Harbor. It is completely untrue.
December 16, 1941
Congressman H. Jerry Vorhis of California submits favorable article of a 22 year old Nisei joining the U.S. Army to the Congressional Record. It is entitled, “He’s of Jap descent, but a fightin’ American.”
The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes: “All of us, except Red Indians, are either immigrants or the children of immigrants… American fair play cannot indict any racial group among us for the sins of a few of its members.”
December 17, 1941
General Walter Short is relieved of command of the Hawai’i Department and is replaced by General Delos C. Emmons. Admiral Husband Kimmel, of the Navy at Pearl Harbor, is also relieved.
FBI Director Hoover states that most individuals of foreign extraction in Hawai’i are law abiding. He further recommends registering all enemy aliens in the United States, and recommends that the FBI be given authority to apprehend any citizen or alien “as to whom there may be reasonable belief that such a person has been or is engaged in giving aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States.”
December 18, 1941
In Hawai’i, the Morale Committee is established within the Office of the Military Governor. Its co-chairmen are YMCA administrator Hung Wai Ching, YMCA leader Charles Loomis, and Japanese American school principal Shigeo Yoshida. It works under the direct supervision of Colonel Kendall Fielder, U.S. Army Intelligence, and Robert Shivers, of the FBI. It serves as a liaison group between government officials and ancestry groups.
December 19, 1941
FDR signs Executive Order 8985, creating Office of Censorship.
At a cabinet meeting, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox again accuses Japanese Americans of fifth column activities at Pearl Harbor and asks Secretary of War Stimson to remove all Issei and intern them on an island other than Oahu. This is one of the first U.S. government calls for mass imprisonment of Japanese Americans.
FBI Director Hoover disputes Knox’s unwarranted allegations against the Japanese American community. Hoover writes to Attorney General Francis Biddle, “It is very definitely the opinion of the intelligence officers of the various services in Hawaii that there is no such widespread activity similar to that which occurred in Norway. In fact, it is believed a great majority of the population in Hawaii of foreign extraction is law-abiding and is not indulging in any such activities.”
December 20, 1941
In a report to the government after Pearl Harbor, Curtis Munson writes, “In Honolulu your observer noted that the seagoing Navy was inclined to consider everybody with slant eyes bad… Your observer suspects that Secretary Knox’s comparison to the Fifth Column in Norway stems from either of two things: First, a very busy man being caught by the coattails by a reporter; and second, from the unknowing ‘eat ‘em up alive’ element amongst whom of necessity he was largely exposed in his hurried visit to determine responsibility.”
The Buddhist Mission of North America states: “The suddenness and the unwarranted and inhumane attack upon these United States of America leave us, the Buddhists in America, with but one decision: the condemnation of that attack… The loyalty to the United States which we have pledged at all times must now be placed into instant action for the defense of the United States of America.”
December 21, 1941
Japan signs treaty with Thailand.
General Delos Emmons, Commander of the Hawaiian Department, pledges to the AJA community in Hawai’i that they will be treated fairly. He states on radio broadcast that “there is no intention or desire on the part of the federal authorities to operate mass concentration camps. No person, be he citizen or alien, need worry, provided he is not connected with subversive elements.”
December 22, 1941
Battle of the Philippines. Japanese Army lands at Lingayen Gulf.
Attorney General Biddle creates the Enemy Alien Control Unit as a new Department Division. Edward Ennis is appointed its head. It is tasked with handling aliens picked up in “ABC” raids.
The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce urges all Japanese in the U.S. be put “under absolute federal control.” This is the beginning of a major lobbying effort to call for the mass removal of Japanese Americans.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes: “What we are urging all Americans to recognize [is] the loyalty to America of fellow-citizens and fellow-residents of Japanese antecedents.”
December 23, 1941
After 11 days of fighting, Japanese capture Wake Island.
The President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practice offers aid to the Japanese American community.
December 25, 1941
Hong Kong surrenders to Japanese forces.
December 26, 1941
Philippine government declares Manila an open city.
December 27, 1941
General MacArthur evacuates Manila in the Philippines and withdraws his army to the Bataan Peninsula. He sets up headquarters on Corregidor.
On Oahu, Hawai’i, the Army orders mandatory fingerprinting of all civilians over 6 years of age.
December 29, 1941
President Roosevelt approves plan to return civilian rule to Hawai’i.
The Northern California Committee of Fair Play for Citizens and Aliens of Japanese Ancestry reports in press release: “Californians have kept their heads. There have been few if any serious denials of civil rights to either aliens or citizens of the Japanese race, on account of the war. The American tradition of fair-play has been observed.”
Japanese siege of U.S. forces on Bataan and Corregidor begins. 12,500 American and 67,500 Filipino troops defend the Islands.
Germans sink 106 Allied ships in the Atlantic.
Congressman Ed V. Izac presses for removal of Japanese Americans. He states that “the Army was only slightly more willing than the Justice Department to evacuate the Japs. Evacuation would never have taken place if the united Pacific Coast delegations had not applied pressure—not only upon the Attorney-General and the Secretary of War—but also on the President himself.”
William Cecil, Director of the California Department of Agriculture, openly opposes proposal to remove Japanese Americans from the West Coast.
Congressman John Coffee of Washington disapproves of the proposed forced removal, stating that “The War Department was not at all anxious to take over evacuation. It would not have taken action without the strong remonstrance of the congressional delegation. The War Department need prodding and the ‘flag-wavers’ supplied it.”
January 1, 1942
Declaration by the United Nations is issued by 26 Allied countries against Axis belligerent nations.
U.S. Attorney General Biddle enacts order to forbid travel by all suspected “enemy aliens.”
U.S. Department of Justice opposes mass raids on Japanese American homes as recommended by the Army, but allows multiple spot searches without a warrant.
Assistant Chief of Staff, Army Air Corps, writes in memo: “In time of peace there should be no discrimination because of race or creed. In time of war this government must protect itself from possible enemies.”
January 2, 1942
Japanese Fourteenth Army begins to occupy Manila. The U.S. Naval base in Cavite is captured.
U.S. military commanders recommend transferring Japanese American soldiers serving on the West Coast to inland posts.
January 3, 1942
Chiang Kai-shek is appointed Commander in Chief of Allied Forces in China.
General John L. DeWitt, Commander, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, headquartered at the Presidio of San Francisco, requests permission for military commanders to designate restricted areas. The Justice Department wanted to retain authority to designate areas that would restrict civilians. DeWitt becomes the chief proponent and advocate for forced removal and imprisonment of Japanese Americans.
The California Growers Protective Association promotes mass forced removal of Japanese Americans. It writes to California Attorney General Earl Warren: “We trust that your office will make a sincere effort to eliminate as many of these undesirable aliens from the land of California as is possible at this time. Let me assure you that our entire organization…is behind you squarely in any action you see fit to take on this matter.”
January 4, 1942
Justice Department agrees to let General DeWitt designate civilian restricted areas, but specifies that these areas would be limited. The areas would exclude only “aliens” and not U.S. citizens.
General DeWitt tells James Rowe, the Assistant U.S. Attorney General, “I have little confidence that the enemy aliens are law abiding or loyal in any sense of the word. Some of them, yes; many, no. Particularly the Japanese, I have no confidence in their loyalty whatsoever. I am speaking now of the native born Japanese—117,000—and 42,000 in California alone.”
A popular newspaper columnist writes in a syndicated column: “It would be extremely foolish to doubt the continued existence of enemy agents among the large Japanese alien population.”
January 4-9, 1942
British and Indian forces give up the defense of the Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
January 5-20, 1942
Radio commentator John B. Hughes, of the Mutual Broadcasting Company, begins series of anti-Japanese American commentaries. He spreads undocumented rumors of spying and fifth column activity by Japanese Americans.
January 6, 1942
U.S. Congressman Leland Ford of Los Angeles calls for forced removal of Japanese Americans from their farms. He telegrams the U.S. Secretary of State: “Some complications…might arise…where land might be operated by native-born Japanese… Nevertheless these are war times and I do not believe we could be any too strict in our consideration of the Japanese in the face of the treacherous way in which they do things, not only to this country, but in the accomplishment of any end they may have in view.”
Hawai’ian delegate to Congress Samuel W. King repudiates claims against Japanese Americans in Hawai’i taking part in espionage or sabotage during or after Pearl Harbor attack.
January 7-23, 1942
80,000 U.S. and Filipino troops fall back to defensive positions in Central-Northern Bataan.
Japanese forces occupy the capital of British North Borneo.
January 8, 1942
Military commanders want to broaden exclusion from restricted military areas to “enemy aliens.” According to Major Carter Garver, Acting Assistant Adjutant General of the Army: “Admiral C. S. Freeman, Commandant 13th Naval District, recommended that all enemy aliens be evacuated from the states of Washington and Oregon; that all American [sic] born of Japanese racial origin who cannot show actual severance of all allegiance to the Japanese government be classified as enemy aliens, and lastly that no pass or temporary permit to enter these states be issued to enemy aliens.”
January 10, 1942
Secretary of the Navy Knox asks General Delos Emmons his opinion on a proposed removal of Japanese American civilians on Oahu. Emmons replies it would not be practicable but might even be dangerous. Removing Japanese Americans would severely deplete labor resources and dissipate military and war efforts.
January 10-17, 1942
Two Japanese task forces land throughout Dutch East Indies.
January 12, 1942
Japanese Twenty-Fifth Army captures capital of Malaysia.
January 14, 1942
President Roosevelt orders re-registration of suspected “enemy” aliens on the West Coast.
January 15, 1942
Allies establish the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) Command to check Japanese advance into the Dutch East Indies.
January 15-20, 1942
Japanese Fifteenth Army crosses Thai border into Burma.
January 16, 1942
The San Diego Union editorializes that there is “no way of ever knowing the degree of loyalty that would be displayed by our so called American citizens of Japanese ancestry.”
January 17, 1942
The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association passes resolution calling for mass removal of Japanese Americans on the Pacific Coast.
January 19, 1942
Japanese 5th and 8th Division advance on Singapore to within 100 miles.
The American Legion, in a national convention in Washington, DC, adopts a resolution “calling for immediate action” by the government in removing and imprisoning all enemy aliens and nationals in combat zones such as the West Coast. This was principally directed at Japanese Americans.
January 20, 1942
Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts, author of the Roberts Commission on the Pearl Harbor attack, tells Secretary of War Henry Stimson that in his opinion, Japanese in Hawai’i pose major security risk to the island. This is not reflected in his report.
The San Diego Union writes editorial demanding mass forced removal of Japanese Americans. It writes 14 additional editorials through March 16.
Christian Science Monitor staff correspondent refutes claims of disloyalty by Americans of Japanese ancestry during and after the Pearl Harbor attack.
January 21, 1942
317 Nisei serving in the Hawai’ian Territorial Guard (HTG) are dismissed without explanation. Many are former ROTC cadets from the University of Hawai’i.
January 22, 1942
Japanese Army lands additional soldiers in Subic Bay, headed for the U.S. and Filipino defenders of Bataan.
January 23, 1942
Japanese Army captures Rabaul, New Britain, New Ireland and Kieta, on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
The Roberts Commission investigation on the attack on Pearl Harbor is issued. There is no mention of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activities by Japanese Americans. General Walter Short testifies: I do not believe that since I came here that there has been any act of sabotage of any importance at all…” FBI agent in charge of Hawai’i testifies also that there have been no acts of sabotage.
Congressman Leland Ford writes to the U.S. Attorney General demanding “that all Japanese, whether citizens or not, be placed in inland concentration camps. As justification for this, I submit that if an American born Japanese, who is a citizen, is really patriotic and wishes to make his contribution to the safety and welfare of this country, right here is his opportunity to do so, namely, that by permitting himself to be placed in a concentration camp, he would be making his sacrifice and he should be willing to do it if he is patriotic and is working for us.” Attorney General Biddle replies on January 24: “Unless the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, I do not know any way in which Japanese born in this country, and therefore American citizens, could be interned.” On January 27, he says, “This Department has not deemed it advisable at this time to attempt to remove all persons of the Japanese race into the interior of the country.”
The Los Angeles Times editorializes: “Many of our Japanese, whether born here or not, are fully loyal and deserve sympathy rather than suspicion. Others, in both categories, hold to a foreign allegiance and are dangerous, at least potentially. To be sure it would sometimes stump an expert to tell which is which and mistakes, if made, should be made on the side of caution.”
January 24, 1942
Japanese convoy off the coast of Borneo is badly damaged by U.S. Navy destroyers.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, a non-governmental organization representing local farmers and growers, recommends that “all Japs, both citizen and alien,” be placed “under federal supervision.”
January 24-31, 1942
Japanese forces in the Dutch East Indies continue their advance.
January 26, 1942
U.S. and Philippine forces continue to retreat into Bataan Peninsula.
Lieutenant Commander K. D. Ringle, of the Office of Naval Intelligence based in Southern California, submits “Report on Japanese Question.” Ringle reports that most Japanese Americans are loyal to the United States and he does not support their evacuation and internment. He writes, “In short, the entire ‘Japanese problem’ has been magnified out of its true proportion, largely because of the physical characteristics of the people; …it is no more serious than the problems of the German, Italian, and Communistic portions of the United States population, and, finally… it should be handled on the basis of the individual, regardless of citizenship, and not on a racial basis.”
In Hawai’i, the Morale Section in the Office of Civilian Defense becomes the Morale Section of the Office of the Military Governor.
January 27, 1942
The City and County of Los Angeles discharge all Japanese and Japanese Americans in the civil service.
Congressmen Alfred J. Elliot and John Z. Anderson call for mass incarceration of Japanese Americans.
January 28, 1942
The Los Angeles Times editorializes: “The rigors of war demand proper detention of Japanese and their immediate removal from the most acute danger spots.”
January 29, 1942
Attorney General Francis Biddle issues the first of a series of orders establishing strategic areas along the West Coast. It will require the removal of suspected “enemy aliens” from these designated areas.
January 30, 1942
Japanese Army in Burma continues its advance on Rangoon.
Pacific Coast delegation of U.S. Congress passes resolution calling for the War Department to remove “all enemy aliens and their families” and for voluntary resettlement” for “dual citizens.” It is targeted at Japanese Americans.
Popular newspaper columnist Henry McLemore writes in the San Francisco Examiner, calling for mass removal and internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast “to a point deep in the Interior” and not a “nice part of the interior either… Herd ‘em up, pack ‘em off and give ‘em the inside room in the badlands. Let ‘em be pinched, hurt, hungry and dead up against it… Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them.”
January 31, 1942
Attorney General Biddle establishes 59 new prohibited areas in California. They are to be cleared of suspected “enemy aliens” by February 15, 1942.
February 1942- December 1943
Between 700 and 900 Hawai’i Japanese are sent to Department of Justice camps on the mainland. These include Nisei who are U.S. citizens.
Rangoon, Burma, is captured by the Japanese.
On the advice of community leaders and friends, 160 former Nisei members of the Hawai’i Territorial Guard (HTG) volunteer for civilian duty in an engineering unit called the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). They serve for 11 months. They receive no pay. This is an important factor in the Army recommendation to create the 100th Infantry Battalion in Hawai’i.
In O’ahu, a Japanese American subcommittee of the Morale Committee is organized as the Emergency Service Committee. Subcommittees are organized on Kaua’i, Maui, and Lanai.
General DeWitt recommends exclusion of Nisei from the West Coast. He writes to Secretary of War Stimson, “In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become ‘Americanized,’ the racial strains are undiluted.”
The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce calls for “the movement of Japanese to an area beyond fifty miles from the Pacific Coast and the Mexican border, and the employment of Japanese thus removed to the fullest extent possible.”
The Kern County [California] Group, an agricultural organization, writes to U.S. Congressman A. J. Elliot, stating: “The sooner the Japs are removed from the Pacific Coast the better, as White farmers can produce anything better than the Japanese.”
The following organizations call for forced removal of the Japanese community on the West Coast: the Lions, Elks, American Legion, United Spanish War Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans of the World War, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the California Joint Immigration Committee, the Native Sons and Daughters of the Gold West, and the Western Growers Protective Association.
More than 35 cities and counties on the Pacific Coast call for mass removal of Japanese Americans. Some call for forbidding Japanese Americans from ever returning.
The following Chambers of Commerce from West Coast cities and counties call for forced removal and internment of Japanese Americans: San Luis Obispo, Colton, Pasadena, San Benito County, Ventura, Ivanhoe, Laguna Beach, Fresno County and Kern County in California; Astoria, Tacoma, and Olympia in Washington; Hood River in Oregon; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Espanola, New Mexico.
Numerous labor unions along the West Coast urge forced removal, including carpenters, building trades, textile workers, butchers, retail clerks, electricians, hotel and restaurant workers. Most are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.
Allied Armies in Southeast Asia are forced to the border of India by the Japanese Army.
February 1, 1942
Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell is appointed Commander-in Chief of U.S. Forces in China-Burma-India (CBI).
Two U.S. Naval task forces, including the aircraft carriers USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise, raid Japanese bases in the Gilbert and Marshal Islands.
In a memo to the Attorney General, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover criticizes the Army’s West Coast intelligence operation, calling it untrained and disorganized, mentioning occurrences of “hysteria and lack of judgment.”
The Justice Department drafts a press release to be issued with the War Department. It states: “The Army has surveyed and recommended 88 prohibited areas in California. Further areas have been studied by the Army and are being recommended in California, Washington, Oregon and the other West Coast states. The Attorney General designated these areas immediately upon the recommendation of the War Department to be evacuated of all alien enemies, Japanese, German and Italians… The Federal Bureau of Investigation has charge of the investigation of the [sic] subversive activities. To date there has been no substantial evidence of planned sabotage by any alien.”
War Department asks General Delos Emmons for his views on possible removal of Japanese Americans from Hawai’i to the West Coast. In addition, it seeks Emmons’ advice on discharging, releasing or transferring Nisei serving in the military on Hawai’i. Emmons informs them that he has already discharged the AJA’s in the Territorial Guard. He recommends retaining Nisei in former National Guard regiments.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes against mass forced removal: “It is not necessary to imitate Hitler by herding whole populations, the guilty and the innocent together, into even humane concentration camps.”
February 2, 1942
U.S. Navy PT-Boats and aircraft prevent Japanese landing on Southwest Bataan.
FBI Director Hoover writes memo for Attorney General Francis Biddle regarding proposed mass forced removal of Japanese Americans. He declares that exclusion of Japanese Americans is not based on factual analysis and that motivation for forced removal is caused by political pressure and not security reasons. Hoover writes, “Public hysteria and in some instances, the comments of the press and radio announcers, have resulted in a tremendous amount of pressure being brought to bear on Governor Olson and Earl Warren, Attorney General of the State, and on the military authorities…”
The Pacific League in Southern California urges government to keep West Coast Japanese in the agricultural industry and not to force wholesale forced removal and imprisonment.
Frank Smothers, of the Chicago Daily News, writes articles refuting claims of disloyalty by Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawai’i. He states, “The highest military authorities say they have found no indications of sabotage in connection with December 7.”
February 3, 1942
Japanese planes attack Dutch naval base at Surabaya, on Java.
General DeWitt, without evidence, erroneous reports that “regular communications are going out from Japanese spies in those regions [West Coast] to submarines off the Coast assisting in attacks by the latter which have been made upon practically every ship that has gone out.” After meeting with California Governor Olson, General DeWitt writes in a memorandum: “The General consensus of opinion as agreed to by all present at this conference was that, due to the above facts, the removal of all male adult Japanese, that is over 18 years of age, whether native or American born, alien enemy or Japanese, from that area of California defined as a combat zone [should be achieved].”
FBI officials report that Los Angeles papers are reporting that “approximately one hundred sheriffs and district attorneys throughout the State of California have recommended and demanded that all Japanese aliens be moved from all territories of the State of California.”
California junior U.S. Senator Sheridan Downey, in a national radio address, describes the loyalty of Japanese Americans and states that “the great majority of our aliens are harmless people.”
The San Diego Union editorializes on mass removal: “We are confronted on both sides by enemies who have devoted their entire careers to…treachery, deceit, and sabotage. We can afford to be neither soft-headed nor soft-hearted in dealing with them or their agents.”
February 4, 1942
The Australian-New Zealand Naval Command is created, to be headed by Admiral H. F. Leary.
An Allied Naval force heading for Borneo is attacked by Japanese planes.
The U.S. Attorney General’s office establishes curfew zones in California.
Colonel Karl R. Bendetsen, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Affairs, and Director of the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA), of the Western Defense Command, states in a memo: “By far the vast majority of those who have studied the Oriental assert that a substantial majority of Nisei bear allegiance to Japan, are well controlled and disciplined by the enemy, and at the proper time will engage in organized sabotage, particularly, should a raid along the Pacific Coast be attempted by the Japanese.” Colonel Bendetsen is the principal action officer and architect of the forced removal and imprisonment of Japanese Americans for the U.S. Army.
In a meeting with pro-evacuation U.S. Senators and Congressmen from the Western United States and senior military leaders regarding West Coast defenses, documented by committee chair Senator Holman, Admiral Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, “expressed the opinion that it would be impossible for the enemy to engage in a sustained attack on the Pacific Coast that the present time.” Edward Ennis of the Alien Enemy Control Unit of the Justice Department later observed: “The congressional hotheads ignored the opinion. They said Army and Navy authorities were jackasses, that they had been proved wrong at Pearl Harbor, that there was no reason to accept their testimony, and that the California congressmen were not going to wait for another Pearl Harbor in Los Angeles.”
California State Personnel Board institutes dismissal action against Japanese American employees of the state. This is protested by the Northern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the San Francisco chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). San Francisco Chronicle publishes editorial against firings.
February 4-5, 1942
British military commanders in Singapore refuse to surrender to the Japanese.
February 5, 1942
United States declares war on Thailand.
U.S. Senator Sheridan Downey, of California, opposes the California Congressional delegation’s resolution for the mass removal of Japanese Americans. He is the only one to do so.
U.S. Army Colonel Karl R. Bendetsen, of the Western Defense Command, states to pro-evacuation U.S. Congressmen and Senators: “Military judgment on the West Coast on whether or not this evacuation should take place was positively in the affirmative” and “the Army was unable to determine whether Japanese were loyal or disloyal and the Army would be pleased to have them evacuated, but the question of providing protection was more far-reaching than appeared on the surface.”
February 6, 1942
California Governor Culbert Olson meets with Nisei community leaders to ask for voluntary evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. They agree to cooperate.
February 7, 1942
Attorney General Biddle meets with President Roosevelt: “I discussed at length with him the Japanese stating exactly what we had done, that we believe mass evacuation at this time inadvisable, that the F.B.I. was not staffed to perform it; that this was an Army job not, in our opinion, advisable; that there were no reasons for mass evacuation and that I thought the Army should be directed to prepare a detailed plan of evacuation in case of an emergency caused by an air raid or attempted landing on the West Coast. I emphasized the danger of the hysteria, which we were beginning to control.”
The administrator of the Adjustment and Conservation Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture states in Congressional testimony that “The Production of vegetables by Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans in California amounted to between 30 and 40 percent of the total California production.” This California produce represents 22 percent of the United States total.
The anti-Japanese California Joint Immigration Committee meets to promote mass imprisonment. The organization’s executive secretary and prominent newspaper publisher, H. J. McClatchy, remarks: “I know that the Committee has received more active and more general support in the last month than it has received in the last thirty years of its existence, and what we want, we ought to get now.” He adds, “So far as the individual Nisei is concerned, he has been educated as a Jap and he is a Jap…” A member, Charles M. Goethe, adds: “It strikes me that we could get a lot of good educational material…if it was handled right. This is our time to get things done that we have been trying to get done for a quarter of a century.”
At the meeting of the Joint Immigration Committee, California State Attorney Earl Warren calls for mass forced removal of the Japanese population from the West Coast, stating: “I think we ought to urge the military command in this area to do the things that are obviously essential to the security of this state.”
Leon Happel, of the American Legion, states: “It all goes back to the racial problem. We have absorbed the Italians and the Germans, but we can never absorb the Japanese; they are always Japanese.”
February 8, 1942
The Western Growers Protective Association officially adopts a resolution to lobby for the mass forced removal of Japanese Americans.
February 9, 1942
War Department orders General Emmons to suspend all Americans of Japanese ancestry working for the Army in Hawai’i. Emmons replies that they are an essential labor force and disagrees with the order. He states that “the Japanese Question” is delicate and dangerous and that it “should be handled by those in direct contact with the situation.” The War Department cancels the order.
The San Francisco Chronicle opposes mass forced removal of Japanese Americans on legal and Constitutional grounds. It editorializes: “There shall be no discrimination by reason of race.”
February 10, 1942
The Congressional Subcommittee on Alien Nationality and Sabotage (the Wallgren Committee) passes resolution calling for complete removal of Japanese Americans from the Pacific Coast. The resolution is presented to a combined Congressional delegation on February 12. The resolution is unanimously adopted on February 13. It calls for “the immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage and all others, aliens and citizens alike, whose presence shall be deemed dangerous or inimical to the defense of the United States from all strategic areas.” The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is active in lobbying, writing and adopting this resolution. Among those who are members of the Congressional Committee are: U.S. Senators Holman and Wallgren, U.S. Congressmen Angell, Costello, Englebright, Welch and Lea.
Secretary of War Stimson writes in his diary, “The second generation Japanese [Nisei] can only be evacuated either as part of a total evacuation, giving access to the areas only by permits, or by frankly trying to put them out on the ground that their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or trust even the citizen Japanese. This latter is the fact but I am afraid it will make a tremendous hole in our constitutional system to apply it.”
February 11, 1942
General DeWitt meets with California Attorney General Earl Warren, Thomas C. Clark, coordinator of the Justice Department’s Alien Control program and Fletcher Bowron, mayor of Los Angeles, to discuss possible mass removal of Japanese Americans. Bowron and Warren strongly support forced removal. Bowron tells DeWitt “that action was necessary immediately and told him that the responsibility would be clearly placed if the Japs sabotaged the West Coast.” After the meeting, “Clark told mayor Bowron that the General had decided to move all Japanese from Coastal areas. The General told Clark: Arrange the machinery and do it rapidly; I am not going to be a second General Short.”
Secretary of War Stimson records in his diary: “I then had a conference in regard to the west coast situation with McCloy and General Clark who has been out there. This is a stiff proposition. General DeWitt is asking for some very drastic steps, to wit: the moving and relocating of some 120,000 people including citizens of Japanese descent.”
February 12, 1942
U.S. Army officers suggest that the Joint Chiefs of Staff establish a “concentration camp” on Molokai or the mainland for Japanese Americans because it is “essential that the most dangerous group, approximately 20,000 persons… be evacuated as soon as possible” and that “eventually all Japanese residents will be concentrated into one locality and kept under surveillance.”
Walter Lippmann, dean of American political commentators, writes syndicated newspaper column advocating mass forced removal: “This is in substance the system of policing which necessarily prevails in a war zone. By this system the constitutional and international questions about aliens and citizens do not arise at the very place where they confuse the issues and prevent the taking of thorough measures of security.”
February 13, 1942
The Joint Immigration Committee releases statement to the press: “Neither fear, timidity, nor cost should delay action, JAPANESE SHOULD BE REMOVED NOW!”
February 14, 1942
Japanese forces invade Sumatra.
Commanding General of the Western Defense Command (WDC) General John L. DeWitt sends memorandum to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson recommending the removal of “Japanese and other subversive persons” from areas along the West Coast of the United States. In his recommendation, DeWitt states: “In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become ‘Americanized,’ the racial strains are undiluted. To conclude otherwise is to expect that children born of white parents on Japanese soil sever all racial affinity and become loyal Japanese subjects, ready to fight and, if necessary, to die for Japan in a war against the nation of their parents. That Japan is allied with Germany and Italy in this struggle is no ground for assuming that any Japanese, barred from assimilation by convention as he is, though born and raised in the United States, will not turn against this nation, when the final test of loyalty comes. It, therefore, follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity. The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.”
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox requests that action be taken with regard to the Hawai’ian Japanese with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Roosevelt. Roosevelt writes: “Like you, I have long felt that most of the Japanese should be removed from Oahu to one of the other Islands. This involves much planning, much temporary construction and careful supervision of them when they get to the new location. I do not worry about the constitutional question—first, because of my recent order [Executive Order 9066, signed February 19, 1942] and, second, because Hawaii is under martial law. The whole matter is one of immediate and present war emergency. I think you and Stimson can agree and then go ahead and do it as a military project.”
U.S. Army War Plans Division recommends to General Delos Emmons, in Hawai’i, that he “be authorized to evacuate all enemy aliens and all citizens of Japanese extraction selected by him with their families, subject to the availability of shipping and facilities for their internment or surveillance on the mainland.” 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were planned for internment on the U.S. mainland.
The Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issues statement opposing mass evacuation and stating that wartime suspicions about the loyalty of Japanese Americans “should not be used as a pretext to justify the wholesale eviction of thousands of American citizens from their homes solely because of the racial origin.”
February 15, 1942
British surrender to Japanese Army at Singapore. 62,000 British, Australian and Indian soldiers are taken prisoner. It is considered among England’s worst Far East defeats.
February 16, 1942
By this date, the FBI has arrested and detained 2,192 Issei Japanese Americans, community leaders, newspaper publishers, businessmen, teachers, and Buddhist religious leaders. They are held by the U.S. Department of Justice. 1,393 Germans and 264 Italians are also being held.
Political newspaper columnist Westbrook Pegler writes: “The Japanese in California should be under guard to the last man and woman right now and to hell with habeas corpus until the danger is over. Do you get what he [Mr. Lippmann] says?... The enemy has been scouting our coast…the Japs ashore are communicating with the enemy offshore and…on the basis of ‘what is known to be taking place’ there are signs that a well-organized blow is being withheld only until it can do the most damage… We are so dumb and considerate of the minute constitutional rights and even of the political feelings and influence of people whom we have every reason to anticipate with preventive action!”
February 17, 1942
General Allen W. Gullion, the U.S. Army Provost Marshal General, drafts Executive Order 9066 for President Roosevelt’s signature.
Attorney General Francis Biddle sends President Roosevelt a memorandum opposing forced removal. He writes: “For several weeks there have been increasing demands for evacuation of all Japanese, aliens and citizens alike, from the West Coast states. A great many of the West Coast people distrust the Japanese, various special interests would welcome their removal from good farm land and the elimination of their competition, some of the local California radio and press have demanded evacuation, the West Coast Congressional Delegation re asking the same thing… My last advice from the War Department is that there is no evidence of imminent attack and from the F.B.I. that there is no evidence of planned sabotage… To evacuate the 93,000 Japanese in California over night would materially disrupt agricultural production in which they play a large part and the farm labor now is so limited that they could not be quickly replaced. Their hurried evacuation would require thousands of troops, tie up transportation and raise very difficult questions of resettlement. Under the Constitution 60,000 of these Japanese are American citizens.”
Congressman Leland Ford, of California, speaks to Attorney General Biddle. He later recalls the conversation: “I phoned the Attorney General’s office and told them to stop fucking around. I gave them twenty four hours notice that unless they would issue a mass evacuation notice I would drag the whole matter out on the floor of the House and of the Senate and give the bastards everything we could with both barrels. I told them they had given us the run around long enough… and that if they would not take immediate action, we would clean the god damned office out in one sweep. I cussed at the Attorney General and his staff himself just like I’m cussing to you now and he knew damn well I meant business.”
American Legion posts in California send resolutions demanding that “immediate steps be taken to see that all enemy aliens be placed in concentration camps” to General DeWitt, Secretary of War Stimson and California Congressmen. American Legion posts in Oregon call for “Whole-hearted and concerted action…toward the removal of enemy aliens and citizens of enemy alien extraction from all areas along the coast…” Copies of these resolutions are sent to officials all over the country.
The Western Growers Protective Association writes in favor of forced removal to pro-removal U.S. Congressman Leland Ford: “We the people on the Pacific Coast feel that time is the essence of this matter and the evacuation of the Japanese should be accomplished at the earliest possible moment.”
February 18, 1942
British Allied Forces begin to evacuate Rangoon, Burma.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Attorney General Francis Biddle, Edward Ennis, James Rowe, Tom Clark, of the Justice Department, Robert Patterson and John J. McCloy, Under Secretaries of War, General Allen W. Gullion, Provost Marshal of the U.S. Army, and Colonel Carl R. Bendetsen, of the Western Defense Command, meet to finalize Executive Order 9066. Stimson writes: “This marks a long step forward towards a solution of a very dangerous and vexing problem. But I have no illusions as to the magnitude of the task that lies before us and the wails which will go up in relation to some of the actions which will be taken under it.” Biddle writes: “Rowe and Ennis argued strongly against [the Executive Order]. But the decision had been made by the President. It was, he said, a matter of military judgment. I did not think I should oppose it any further. The Department of Justice, as I had made it clear to him from the beginning, was opposed to and would have nothing to do with the evacuation.”
The following statements in favor of forced removal are made on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Harry R. Sheppard: “I serve notice upon the Attorney-General that if something is not done rapidly to correct the hazards that everyone who has any degree of intelligence knows exist on the Pacific Coast with regard to the Japanese question, I am going to introduce a resolution to investigate the activities of his office for the protection of the white citizens of my State.” Congressman John Costello: “Practically no step has been taken out there on the [Pacific] Coast to remove the Japanese American-born citizen, and there is where the crux of the whole question lies. The Department of Justice, I feel, has, to a great extent, tended to block and interfere with the program dealing with the moving of the citizens… The alien problem is simple to handle, but the real threat to the entire Pacific coast comes from the citizen of Japanese ancestry…”
February 19, 1942
Japanese forces land in Timor, in Indonesia.
Sea battle in the Badoeng Strait (east of Bali), with U.S. and Dutch Navies against the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Port Darwin, Australia, is bombed by Japanese carrier forces. Seventeen ships are sunk, 172 people are killed.
President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066. It authorizes the Secretary of War and military commanders to establish “military areas… with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.” The President, his cabinet, and the West Coast Congressional delegation, understand that it is written and implemented to forcibly remove Japanese Americans from the West Coast. On May 5, 1942, there is a subsequent discussion of using Executive Order 9066 against Italians or Germans. President Roosevelt writes Secretary of War Stimson that enemy alien control is “primarily a civilian matter except of course in the case of the Japanese mass evacuation on the Pacific Coast.” Executive Order 9066 is justified under the doctrine of “military necessity,” which is later proven not to be justified, as there is no evidence of sabotage, espionage or “fifth column activity” ever committed by Japanese Americans.
In Los Angeles, a Japanese American umbrella organization, the United Citizens Federation, meets to plan opposition to mass evacuation. These groups include the JACL, Christian and Buddhist churches, American Legion posts, and the Citizen League Anti-Axis Committee. It is attended by at least a thousand persons.
After February 19, 1942
After the signing and implementation of Executive Order 9066, the following groups helped to support the Japanese American community on the West Coast: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Association of University Women, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, the Northern California Chapter of the Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
February 20, 1942
Japanese forces invade Bali.
President Emanuel Quezon of the Philippines and officials are evacuated from Luzon by U.S. submarine.
Secretary of War Stimson authorizes General DeWitt to organize and implement the forced removal and detention of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.
Attorney General Biddle sends memorandum to President Roosevelt, at his request, legally and constitutionally justifying Executive Order 9066: “This authority gives very broad powers to the Secretary of War and the Military Commanders. These powers are broad enough to permit them to exclude any particular individual from military areas. They could also evacuate groups of persons based on a reasonable classification. The order is not limited to aliens but includes citizens so that it can be exercised with respect to Japanese, irrespective of their citizenship. The decision of safety of the nation in time of war is necessarily for the Military authorities. Authority over the movement of persons, whether citizens or noncitizens, may be exercised in time of war… The President is authorized in acting under the general war powers without further legislation…”
The Northern California Committee on Fair Play for Citizens of Japanese Ancestry meets and votes to change its name to Committee on National Security and Fair Play. It demands that “the removal of aliens and citizens be kept at a minimum, consistent with military necessity and national security.”
February 20-March 7, 1942
Forty new stories and editorials appear in newspapers demanding mass forced removal of Japanese from the West Coast.
February 21, 1942
British resistance to the Japanese advance on Rangoon, Burma, ceases.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes: “We have to be tough, even if civil rights do take a beating for a time.”
February 22, 1942
War Department sends draft of legislation to the Justice Department to impose mandatory federal imprisonment for violating Executive Order 9066.
The JACL national office in San Francisco issues the following statement to Japanese Americans: “Do not become overly alarmed or panicky at this news. This may be the solution to many of our difficulties… such matters as these are better left to federal authorities than to local officials. Let us hope for the best and be prepared to cooperate with the government in this near-martial law step… This rule is to apply to all nationalities… it is not a matter of discrimination as much as it is a matter of military expediency. The final test is, of course, in its application.”
February 23, 1942
The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes: “There is regret for the hardship put upon a people in the mass… The hardship, however, is not put upon these by the United States. It is put upon them by Japan, by the Japanese Government, by the thousands of Japanese in Hawaii who clicked into rehearsed action the instant the first bomb dropped on Pearl Harbor and who knew the time and were ready for it to drop.”
February 24, 1942
U.S. Naval task force led by USS Enterprise bombs Japanese garrison on Wake Island.
February 27-28, 1942
Major U.S. Naval defeat in the Battle of the Java Sea. Thirteen American ships are lost. Japanese Navy gains control of the approaches to the Netherlands’ East Indies.
February 27, 1942
Possible Japanese American internment in Hawai’i is discussed at a Presidential cabinet meeting. Secretary of War Stimson writes, “Removal of the Japs from Oahu. Knox brought this up and urged vigorously the remedy of the situation out there. I told them that the Army concurred in this but that for the reasons given in Marshall’s memorandum [that is, the latest War Plans recommendation] it would probably be necessary to send them to the United States. The President was staggered by this and was rather plainly in favor of placing them on the Island of Malikau [Molokai] in a big cantonment guarded by the Army. This was the plan urged by Knox. I pointed out the difficulties of this so far as I could. The matter was left unsettled.”
Late February-March 1942
The House Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration, also known as the Tolan Committee, holds Congressional hearings on the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. It noted “the fundamental fact that place of birth and technical noncitizenship alone provide no decisive criteria for assessing the alinement [sic] of loyalties in this world-wide conflict.” It concluded that “surely some more workable method exists for determining the loyalty and reliability of these people than the uprooting of 50 trustworthy persons to remove one dangerous individual.” Further, it stated that “the Nation must decide and Congress must gravely consider, as a matter of national policy, the extent to which citizenship, in and of itself, is a guaranty of equal rights and privileges during time of war.”
The following individuals and groups testify at Tolan Hearings in opposition to mass forced removal and detention: Mayor Harry P. Cain, of Tacoma, Washington, Mr. Louis Goldblatt, Secretary of the California State Industrial Union Council of San Francisco, Professor J. F. Steiner, University of Washington, Robert O’Brien, University of Washington, Dr. W. P. Reagor, President of the California Council of Churches, Reverend Gordon K. Chapman, Presbyterian Church, Reverend Frank Herron Smith, Methodist Japanese Missions to the West Coast, the Friends Church, and the Seattle Council of Churches.
Early March 1942
Japanese Army invades Burma, prompting a massive, 900-mile long British military retreat to India. General Stilwell, commander of two Chinese Armies in Burma, also retreats to India.
The Alameda County, California, Bureau calls for mass forced removal of Japanese Americans.
San Bernardino County, California, adopts resolution stating: “It is for the best interests of the people in California, to the United States and to our boys in the service who are fighting that we may be safe at home, that every possible step be taken to remove all Japanese from the Pacific Coast Area for the duration of the war.”
Larry Tagiri, a Nisei journalist, is hired by the JACL to edit its newspaper, Pacific Citizen, in Salt Lake City.
The Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA), a branch of the Western Defense Command (WDC), of the U.S. Army is tasked with the forced removal and detention of Japanese Americans in temporary “assembly centers.” The agency registers Japanese Americans at Civil Control stations. This comes as a disaster to the Nikkei community. The WCCA utilizes parks, fairgrounds and racetracks as assembly centers. They are established in California at Fresno, Marysville, Merced, Manzanar, Pinedale, Pomona, Salinas, Santa Anita, Stockton, Tanforan, Tulare, Turlock; in the Northwest in Portland, Oregon, and Puyallup, Washington; in Arizona in Cave Creek and Mayer. It takes only 28 days to remove and detain more than 112,000 people.
Early March 1942
Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy meets with Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) leaders at an emergency National Council meeting. He discusses the Army evacuation program with them. He meets with them socially and states off the record of his ambivalence about the Army position toward Japanese Americans.
March 1-8, 1942
Japanese Navy sinks nine Allied warships, and ten merchant ships are sunk in the Dutch East Indies.
March 1, 1942
Japanese troops conduct amphibious landing on Java, in the Dutch East Indies. It takes the strategic naval base at Surabaya.
Church groups and individuals organize in sympathy for the Japanese American community. Among them were leaders of the Pacific School of Religion, the Presbyterian Japanese Missions, Japanese Conference of the Methodist Church, Home Missions Council of North America, and the American Friends Service Committee. They write to the Provost Marshal General of the Western Defense Command in opposition to mass removal and detention: “Citizens of Japanese ancestry are likely to feel deeply resentful if they, as full-fledged American citizens, are evacuated as a whole, because of their racial connection. On the other hand, they will as a rule, cheerfully abide by the findings of the authorities if evacuation or internment is based on impartial investigation… The indiscriminate evacuation of ‘Nisei’ is almost certain to drive some of them into disloyalty during the war.”
March 2, 1942
General DeWitt issues Proclamation No. 1 designating areas in the western half of California, Oregon, and Washington, and the southern third of Arizona, as military areas. He stipulates that all persons of Japanese descent will be removed.
The Contra Costa Gazette editorializes: “The evacuation can take place none too soon as these people are a distinct menace to the safety of the country. Occasionally some misguided but well-intentioned individual will make the statement there are some loyal Japanese. But there are none such. A Jap is a Jap and will never be anything else, whether he is born in California or Tokyo.”
March 3, 1942
The JACL national headquarters in San Francisco issues statement that reads, in part: “The greater our cooperation with the government, it can be expected that the greater will be the cooperation with us in the solution of our problems.”
March 4, 1942
USS Enterprise aircraft bomb Japanese installations on Marcus Island.
The JACL national headquarters in San Francisco issues statement that indicates, in part, that it would “continue to cooperate wholeheartedly in all matters integral to national security… Stressing our complete loyalty to the United States, we trust that the classification of Americans of Japanese lineage in the same category as ‘enemy aliens’ was impelled by motives of military necessity and that no racial discrimination is implied.”
March 6, 1942
American Legion commander demands the “immediate removal of all Japanese from the West Coast” and declares that they are “a menace to the safety of our country.”
March 8, 1942
Japanese Fifteenth Army captures port city of Rangoon in Burma. The British garrison narrowly escapes.
The State Tribune of Wyoming writes in an editorial, “It is utterly unequitable and unfair to subject Wyoming to the bureaucratic dictum that it shall support and find employment for Japanese brought here from Pacific Coast defense zones.”
March 9, 1942
Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommend mass removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawai’i to the Continental United States with “the most dangerous group” comprised of 20,000 persons.
Secretary of War Stimson sends draft of proposed legislation to enforce provisions of Executive Order 9066. The bill is immediately introduced into Congress.
The Pacific Coast Committee on National Security and Fair Play submits proposal in opposition to mass forced removal and detention, entitled “Selective Evacuation of Japanese American Citizens, to General John DeWitt. It calls for hearings to determine loyalty of Japanese American citizens on an individual basis. It is sponsored and endorsed in part by the presidents of the University of California, Stanford, Mills College, and the Pacific School of Religion, the Mayor of Berkeley, California, and other prominent citizens. On March 10, the Committee is informed by military officials that “no hearing boards in advance of evacuation [are] acceptable by the Army for either citizens or alien Japanese.”
March 10, 1942
Allied Army on Java surrenders to the Japanese.
Lt. General Joseph W. Stilwell is made Chief of Staff of the Allied Armies in China.
USS Enterprise and USS Lexington conduct major air attacks on Japanese shipping around New Guinea. By March 18, two Japanese heavy cruisers are sunk, along with other ships sunk or badly damaged.
Civilian Rule is restored in Hawai’i. Martial Law remains in place as well as the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Civilian courts are restored.
The National commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars calls for mass forced removal and detention of Japanese Americans.
March 11, 1942
President Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippines. General Jonathan Wainwright is now in command.
General DeWitt establishes the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA). Colonel Karl R. Bendetsen is designated Director. He will write the operational orders and supervises the forced detention of Japanese Americans.
Admiral Stark, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sends recommendation to President Roosevelt, “that such Japanese (either U.S. citizens or aliens) as are considered by appropriate authority in the Hawaiian Islands to constitute a source of danger be transported to the U.S. mainland and placed under guard in concentration camps.”
March 12, 1942
The San Gabriel Sun in the metropolitan Los Angeles area editorializes, in opposition to the forced removal and imprisonment: “We do not question the wisdom of the military authorities in their plans for exclusion… But we voice the regret that it has been found necessary…to abandon at home some of that democracy for which we are fighting so desperately abroad. It is getting more and more unpopular to say it—and we may yet be lynched for repeating it—but we still stake our reputation on the essential loyalty of the American-born citizens of Japanese descent. And that goes also for the vast majority of the law-abiding Japanese aliens who have lived in our midst for upwards of thirty and forty years.”
March 13, 1942
In regard to the proposal to remove and detain Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawai’i, President Roosevelt approves Admiral Stark’s recommendation. As documented by Milton Eisenhower, the approval was made “on the basis of an explanation made to him which pointed out that evacuation would necessarily be a slow process and that what was intended, first, was to get rid of about 20,000 potentially dangerous Japanese.”
The Associated Farmers in California call for forced removal of “all enemy aliens and all potential fifth columnists.”
March 14, 1942
First convoy with 30,000 American soldiers arrives in Australia.
W. A. Gabrielson, Honolulu Chief of Police, sends official report to the Tolan Committee: “…advise you there were no acts of sabotage committee in city and county of Honolulu December 7 nor have there been any acts of sabotage reported to police department since that date.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asks President Roosevelt to modify the forced removal of Japanese Americans, “without such a wholesale invasion of the civil rights and without creating a precedent so opposed to democratic principle.”
March 16, 1942
The U.S. Army’s Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) designates 934 prohibited military area zones in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Montana.
March 18, 1942
President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, is appointed Director. The WRA is to assist the U.S. Army in the evacuation of Japanese Americans under the provisions of E.O. 9066. It will supervise and operate the camps throughout the war.
March 20, 1942
The Monterey Park Progress states in an editorial that Japanese are “tricky and treacherous and that there is “scarcely a community along the Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico but has its positive evidence of the fact that we are but inviting dire trouble by continuing to harbor those yellow creatures in our midst… That there is a vast difference between the background of the European alien and the background of the Jap; the one is Christian, the other a heathen.”
March 21, 1942
U.S. and Filipino forces begin to occupy strategic harbor defense positions on the island of Corregidor, in Manila Bay. The garrison is 15,000 strong.
President Roosevelt signs Public Law 503. It makes it violation of Federal law to disregard an order issued by a military commander, under the authority of E.O. 9066.
March 22, 1942
Americans of Japanese ancestry are removed from Los Angeles to the U.S. Army detention center in Manzanar, California.
March 23, 1942
General DeWitt issues Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1. It orders the removal of all Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound by March 30.
Assistant Secretary of War McCloy visits Hawai’i on inspection trip. He is informed by Army and Navy commanders that they are against the large scale removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry to the mainland or other islands in Hawai’i. He agrees with them. During this trip, he also meets with community leaders in Honolulu who oppose any proposed evacuation.
March 24, 1942
U.S. Army orders the curfew for all aliens and Japanese Americans in Military Area 1, to take effect on March 27.
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox writes Congressman John H. Tolan: “There is very little, if any, sabotage by the Japanese residents of Oahu during the attack of Pearl Harbor.”
March 26, 1942
Admiral Ernest J. King is appointed U.S. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in addition to his position as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet.
March 27, 1942
General DeWitt issues Proclamation No. 4 ending voluntary movement of Japanese Americans from the West Coast.
General Emmons states that only 1,550 Americans of Japanese ancestry may be removed from Hawai’i, although it might be “advisable to raise the estimate to much larger figures.”
Brigadier General James K. Wharton, Director of Military Personnel, notes recommendation to end “induction or enlistment of men of Japanese extraction.” He recommends that Japanese Americans be “absorbed and dispersed in small units throughout the interior of the United States” and that “those whose loyalty is seriously doubted be placed in service units.”
March 27-28, 1942
Honolulu newspaper quotes Undersecretary of War John J. McCloy as stating that mass removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawai’i is impractical and is not to be done.
March 28, 1942
Nisei attorney Minoru Yasui has himself arrested by Portland police to test the legality of the curfew law by the U.S. Army, “Military Order Number 3.”
March 30, 1942
Under agreement with British, the U.S. will take command of operations in the Pacific Theater. Admiral Chester Nimitz will command the Pacific Oceans Areas, North, Central and South Pacific, and General MacArthur will command the Southwest Pacific.
Secretary of War Stimson writes statement to Congressman John Tolan: “Reference is made to your letter of March 19, 1942, requesting a statement regarding sabotage activities in Hawaii. The War Department has received no information of sabotage committed by Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
Induction and enlistment of Nisei in the U.S. Army is stopped.
Due to Executive Order 9066 and the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, the U.S. Army closes the Fourth Army Language School at the Presidio of San Francisco. It is ordered moved to Camp Savage, Minnesota, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
U.S. War Department seeks to terminate Japanese American civilian employees.
Japanese bomb Ceylon.
Agricultural interests advocate for Japanese Americans to be released from camps to work in farm labor, particularly harvesting sugar beets.
April 1, 1942
Japanese conduct two new landings in New Guinea, at Hollandia and Sorong.
April 2, 1942
U.S. B-17 bombers attack Japanese Navy in the Andaman Islands.
April 3, 1942
Japanese Americans living in Los Angeles are sent to the Santa Anita assembly center, a race track. Families are forced to live in dirty horse stalls.
About a possible forced removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawai’i, John J. McCloy writes: “There are also some grave legal difficulties in placing American citizens, even of Japanese ancestry, in concentration camps.”
April 5, 1942
Japanese Army mounts major new offensive against USAFFE forces in Bataan.
April 6, 1942
Japanese land on Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands, and on the Admiralty Islands.
Mike Masaoka, National Secretary of the JACL, writes to the War Relocation Authority head, Milton Eisenhower, “We have not contested the right of the military to order this movement, even though it meant leaving all that we hold dear and sacred, because we believe that cooperation on our part will mean a reciprocal cooperation on the part of the government.”
April 7, 1942
War Relocation Authority (WRA) sets up meeting with governors and representatives from 10 Western states to discuss accepting Japanese Americans. Most refuse on grounds of suspected disloyalty of Japanese Americans.
Secretary of War Stimson writes his thoughts about forced removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawai’i: “As the thing stands at present, a number of them have been arrested in Hawaii without very much evidence of disloyalty, have been shipped to the United States, and are interned there. McCloy and I are both agreed that this was contrary to law; that while we have a perfect right to move them away from defenses for the purpose of protecting our war effort, that does not carry with it the right to imprison them without convincing evidence.”
April 9, 1942
Major General Edward King surrenders U.S. and Philippine forces to the Japanese on Bataan. 78,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers are taken prisoner. General Wainwright moves to Corregidor with 2,000 soldiers.
April 10, 1942
Japanese land 12,000 soldiers on Cebu Island in the Philippines.
April 13, 1942
Austin Griffiths files a writ of habeas corpus in Seattle federal court on behalf of Nisei Mary Asaba Ventura, challenging General DeWitt’s military curfew order.
April 15, 1942
Philip M. Glick, solicitor of the War Relocation Authority (WRA), sends memorandum to Milton Eisenhower, head of the WRA, defending the constitutional legality of the internment of Japanese Americans. He wrote, “Citizens may be detained, or other restraints placed upon them, to whatever extent is necessary to the national safety in wartime. The war power to that extent overrides the constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights.”
April 16, 1942
4,000 Japanese troops invade the island of Panay in the Philippines.
The San Joaquin Valley Associated Farmers advocates for “the removal of enemy aliens and potential fifth columnists as soon as possible from all of California.”
April 18, 1942
Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle leads flight of 16 U.S. B-25 bombers from the U. S. carrier Hornet on a raid over four Japanese cities.
April 19, 1942
Allies in Burma retreat to Meiktila, a strategic position on the northern Burma rail line.
April 20, 1942
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox continues to demand the forced removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Oahu. He calls for “taking all of the Japs out of Oahu and putting them in a concentration camp on some other island.” President Roosevelt agrees with Knox at a cabinet meeting on April 24.
James Rowe, Jr., Department of Justice, writes to Congressman John Tolan “relative to the question as to whether there has been any sabotage in Hawaii. Mr. John Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has advised me there was no sabotage committed there prior to December 7, on December 7, or subsequent to that time.”
April 24, 1942
Secretary of War Stimson tells President Roosevelt of the “really difficult Constitutional question” of “the President’s own attempt to imprison by internment some of the leaders of the Japanese in Hawaii, against whom we however have nothing but very grave suspicions.”
April 25, 1942
U.S. forces capture Free French colony of New Caledonia. The island capital, Nouméa, will become a strategic U.S. Naval base.
April 28, 1942
Japanese Americans from the Seattle area are sent to the assembly center at the Puyallup fairgrounds.
Meeting of Department of War and Navy heads in Washington, DC. All agree, except Navy Secretary Knox, that General Emmons should be authorized to forcibly remove ten or fifteen thousand adult Americans of Japanese ancestry to the mainland.
April 29, 1942
Japanese forces of the 56th Division capture Lashio, Burma. The Burma Road is blocked. Chinese Nationalist forces must now be supplied by air.
Opposing mass removal and detention of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawai’i, General Delos Emmons writes to Undersecretary of War John J. McCloy, “The feeling that an invasion is imminent is not the belief of most of the responsible people… There have been no known acts of sabotage committed in Hawaii. I talked with Mr. Taylor at great length several weeks ago at which time he promised to furnish evidence of subversive or disloyal acts on the part of Japanese residents to me personally or to my G-2. Since that time he has, on several occasions, furnished information about individuals and groups which turned out to be based on rumors or imagination. He has furnished absolutely no information of value. Mr. Taylor is a conscientious, but highly emotional, violently anti-Japanese lawyer who distrusts the FBI, Naval Intelligence and the Army Intelligence… I do not believe that he is sufficiently informed on the Japanese question to express an official opinion.”
April 30, 1942
Major Japanese aircraft carrier force is sent for operations against Port Moresby, New Guinea.
The Postwar World Council sends letter to President Roosevelt opposing mass removal and detention. It states, in part: “We have seen no adequate evidence to convince us that an order giving complete power to the Secretary of War r to the commander of each military area to exclude from designated areas all citizens, or to restrict their actions in any way he sees fit, is either constitutional or democratic. Enforcing this on the Japanese alone approximates the totalitarian theory of justice practiced by the Nazis in their treatment of the Jews.” The letter is signed by the following prominent Americans: Alfred M. Bingham, John Dewey, Harry Emerson Fosdick, James Wood Johnson, Right Reverend Monsignor Luigi G. Ligutti, Reinhold Niebuhr, Clarence E. Pickett, Harold Rugg, Norman Thomas, and Oswald Garrison Villard.
Attorney General Francis Biddle submits memorandum for President Roosevelt regarding contraband control program: “I do not regret having made this decision since I feel that every possible step must be taken to protect this country from the Fifth Column, even if necessary at the cost of some of our constitutional rights. I am sorry to say, however, that so far as I am aware searches without warrants conducted on the West Coast were without utility in tracking down Japanese. No Japanese saboteurs were uncovered in this manner and no illegal radio transmitter was found at all.”
U.S. Office of Government Reports states, “There exists definite suspicion and antagonism towards Japanese in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington.”
Wartime labor force shortages in agriculture are so acute that pressure is exerted on the War Relocation Authority (WRA) to release Nisei evacuees for farm work, especially in sugar beets. As a result, a program of agricultural leave from Japanese American internment camps is instituted.
First class of 45 Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Nisei is graduated at the Language School at the Presidio of San Francisco. 35 are sent to Guadalcanal and Alaska.
May 1, 1942
President Roosevelt continues to advocate for a general removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Oahu, Hawai’i. He suggests to General Emmons to draft an alternative plan. On June 20, General Emmons drafts a proposed plan for a voluntary evacuation. Emmons continues to oppose mass evacuation.
May 1-3, 1942
Advancing Japanese forces capture Mandalay, in Burma.
May 3, 1942
Japanese forces land on the Island of Tulagi, in the Solomon Islands, just north of Guadalcanal. It becomes a major Japanese air base.
May 4, 1942
Japanese forces take port of Akyab in Burma.
May 6, 1942
U.S. and Philippine forces on Corregidor fall to Japanese Army.
In China, General Chiang Kai-shek begins major offensive.
May 7-9, 1942
Japanese naval defeat in the Battle of Coral Sea, in the Southwest Pacific. U.S. halts Japanese invasion of Port Moresby, and protects sea lanes to Australia. It is the first major aircraft carrier battle of the war.
May 8, 1942
The Japanese Fifteenth Army captures city of Myitkyina, in northern Burma. It is a crucial air base and rail supply terminus in Burma.
First Japanese American detainees arrive at the Colorado River camp (Poston), near Parker, Arizona.
May 9, 1942
The Saturday Evening Post publishes article by the Grower-Shipper Vegetable Association: “We’re charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish reasons. We might as well be honest. We do. It’s a question of whether the white man lives on the Pacific Coast or the brown man. They came into this valley to work, and they stayed to take over… If all the Japs were removed tomorrow, we’d never miss them in two weeks, because the white farmers can take over and produce everything the Jap grows. And we don’t want them back when the war ends, either.”
May 10, 1942
U.S. forces on Corregidor surrender to Japanese. 12,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers are taken prisoner.
May 12, 1942
General Delos Emmons recommends to the War Department that Nisei soldiers serving in Hawai’i be organized into a segregated battalion and transferred to the mainland.
May 14, 1942
U.S. Naval Intelligence code breakers warn of Japanese plan to attack U.S. fleet at Midway.
May 15, 1942
Governor Sprague, of Oregon, agrees to allow Japanese American detainees to work in sugar beet areas.
May 16, 1942
Nisei Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi, from Seattle, challenges E.O. 9066 by refusing to register for evacuation. He reports to the FBI office in Seattle and submits himself for arrest. He is charged with violating the curfew order.
May 19, 1942
Western Defense Command (WDC) issues Civilian Restriction Order No. 1. It establishes temporary detention centers in eight Western states and designates them as military areas. Japanese Americans are forbidden to leave these areas without approval of the WDC.
May 20, 1942
Japanese Army completes the occupation of Burma. They sustain 7,000 casualties. The Allies have lost 13,463 killed.
May 22, 1942
Mexico declares war on the Axis powers.
Governor Chase Clark, of Idaho, refuses to accept Japanese Americans into his state for resettlement, stating: “The Japs live like rats, breed like rats, act like rats. I don’t want them coming into Idaho, and I don’t want them taking seats in our university.”
May 24, 1942
After a 150-mile long withdrawal from Burma, General Joseph Stilwell arrives in New Delhi, India, with a force of U.S. soldiers and civilians.
May 27, 1942
First group of Japanese Americans arrive at the Tule Lake camp in Northern California.
May 28, 1942
Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall approves General Delos Emmons’ recommendation to organize a special, segregated battalion, made up of AJA’s from Hawai’i, for transfer to the mainland. It is authorized to be formed and trained as an infantry combat unit. On May 29, Emmons informs General Marshall that the battalion’s strength will be approximately 29 officers and 1,300 soldiers.
May 29, 1942
In Hawai’i, Lieutenant Colonel Farrant L. Turner is selected to command the newly-authorized Hawaiian Provisional Battalion. He is chosen by Brigadier General J. Lawton Collins, Chief of Staff of the Hawaiian Department. Turner chooses Captain James W. Lovell as his deputy commander. It is to be made up of a Headquarters (HQ) Company and A, B, C, and D Companies. The company commanders are to be: Captain Alex E. McKenzie, HQ Company; Philip B. Peck, Able Company; Clarence R. Johnson, Baker Company; Charles A. Brenamen, Charlie Company; and John A. Johnson, Dog Company. All the Haole officers are kama’ainas. Four Nisei AJA’s are selected for HQ staff: Captain John M. Tanimura; Captain Taro Suzuki; Captain Issac A. Kawasaki, MD; First Lieutenant Katsumi Kometani. Other Nisei officers are First Lieutenant Mitsuyoshi Fukuda; First Lieutenant Jack Mizuha; First Lieutenant Richard Mizuta; First Lieutenant Sakae Takahashi.
May 30, 1942
Nisei Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu is arrested by police in San Leandro, California, for refusing to report for evacuation in violation of U.S. Army Exclusion Order No. 34.
May 30-31, 1942
British Air Force conducts first thousand-bomber raid on the German city of Cologne.
Colonel (later Major General) Charles A. Willoughby founds Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) in Melbourne, Australia. Colonel Sidney F. Mashbir is appointed first commanding officer. More than 3,000 Nisei will serve in ATIS. They process more than 350,000 captured Japanese documents and process 10,000 Japanese prisoners.
In North Africa, Rommel’s Afrika Korp advances to within 70 miles of the Nile River.
U.S. War Department states that all Japanese are ineligible for induction into the Armed Forces.
June 1, 1942
The first official Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) at Camp Savage, Minnesota, is established with 200 students and 18 teachers. It is commanded by Colonel Kai E. Rasmussen. The classes are six months of intensive technical instruction.
June 2, 1942
United States and China sign Lend-Lease Agreement. U.S. will supply Chinese Army through India.
General DeWitt issues Public Proclamation No. 6. It forbids Japanese Americans from moving from the non-restricted Eastern half of California and announces that they will be sent from these areas to internment camps.
June 3-6, 1942
Battle of Midway, in Central Pacific, results in the first major defeat for the Japanese Navy. U.S. Naval forces destroy four irreplaceable Japanese aircraft carriers and 275 airplanes. The tide of the war in the Pacific shifts to the United States. Nisei MIS contribute vital intelligence to this victory.
June 5, 1942
Japanese Army occupies Attu and Kiska in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. Thirty MIS Nisei fight in the campaign to retake Attu.
Large convoy of British soldiers and equipment arrive safely to India. It is the beginning of a strategic buildup for the defense of India.
War Relocation Authority (WRA) decides on final locations for internment centers. They are located in inhospitable remote areas. Six sites are in arid deserts, two are in areas prone to severe winters and dust storms, and two are in swampland with harsh drainage problems. These sites are:
Topaz, Utah 7,287
Poston, Arizona 15,530
(Gila) River, Arizona 12,355
Amache, Colorado 6,170
Heart Mountain, Wyoming 9,292
Denson, Arkansas 7,767
Manzanar, California 8,716
Hunt (Amache), Idaho 7,548
Rohwer, Arkansas 7,616
Newell (Tule Lake), California 13,422
The Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion sails from the mainland aboard troop transport ship S. S. Maui. When it lands in Oakland, it is renamed the “100th Infantry Battalion.” The recruits from Hawai’i will soon call the unit “One Puka Puka.” It is sent by train to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.
The Hawaiian Infantry Battalion arrives in Oakland, California. They board trains for assignment.
June 8, 1942
The WCCA completes forced removal of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans from their residences in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and parts of Arizona, to assembly centers. There has been no resistance nor active protests by the Nikkei community, despite the short notice and the extreme emotional and economic hardship. Secretary of War Stimson remarks: “Great credit is due our Japanese population for the manner in which they responded to and complied with the orders of exclusion.”
Jun 10, 1942
Army Ground Forces (AGF) orders 2nd Army and Central Defense Command to train and organize the 100th Infantry Battalion. Orders state: “Every effort must be made to maintain morale and esprit de corps in the unit at a high level. So far as possible, officers and men must be made to feel that their unit is an honored element of the Army and that it is being trained with a view to its ultimate employment in combat.”
June 12, 1942
Trial of Minoru Yasui begins in Portland, Oregon, federal court. This is the first challenge to General DeWitt’s orders.
June 13, 1942
U.S. Office of War Information is created by Executive Order. Elmer Davis will head the new organization.
June 16, 1942
The 100th Infantry Battalion arrives at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.
ACLU National Board of Directors votes in referendum not to have the organization challenge the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.
June 17, 1942
Dillon S. Myer replaces Milton Eisenhower as Director of the War Relocation Authority.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson writes to Selective Service Director Major General Lewis B. Hershey, “Except as may be specifically authorized in exceptional cases, the War Department will not accept for services in the Armed Forces Japanese, or persons of Japanese extraction, regardless of citizenship status or other factors.” All Japanese Americans are reclassified 4-C or “non-acceptable alien.”
June 18, 1942
Postwar World Council meets to help Japanese Americans and continue its strong opposition to Executive Order 9066. It adopts a formal resolution demanding that “every legitimate measure be taken to obtain for Americans of Japanese ancestry an exemption from… wholesale evacuation.” Organizations attending the meeting include: “Young Men’s and Women’s Christian Associations, American Committee for the Protection of Foreign Born, Asia Magazine, Family Welfare Association of America, Youth Committee for Democracy, Common Council for American Unity, Workers Defense League, League for Industrial Democracy, Union for Democratic Action, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, National Council for Jewish Women, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Socialist Party, American Association of Social Workers, American Civil Liberties Union, American Friends Service Committee, Council for Democracy, Community Church, and American Committee for Christian Refugees.”
June 21, 1942
Port city of Tobruk is captured by Rommel’s Afrika Korps.
HQ 2nd Army sends telegram to Pentagon: “Provided other arms and equipment furnish without delay, recent inspection 100th Inf. Bn. indicates said command can be placed in highly efficient state combat training at early date.”
June 22, 1942
ACLU National Board instructs the West Coast branches that “local committees are not there to sponsor cases in which the position is taken that the government has no constitutional right to remove citizens from military areas.”
July 1, 1942
Beginning of the First Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. The Afrika Korps advance is stopped.
Military Commander of the Hawaiian Department, General Delos Emmons, declares Americans of Japanese ancestry to be “highly satisfactory” and downgrades original assessment, to remove only 5,000 persons.
U.S. Army authorizes Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 to study and submit report to consider military utilization of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry.
July 15, 1942
Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshal and Admiral E. J. King inform President Franklin D. Roosevelt that they will support a plan to limit the removal of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawai’i to 15,000 individuals.
July 17, 1942
President Roosevelt authorizes removal of up to 15,000 persons from Hawai’i to the U.S. mainland who are “considered as potentially dangerous to national security.”
July 20, 1942
The Gila River camp in Arizona receives first group of detainees from the Turlock temporary Army detention camp in California.
The War Relocation Authority (WRA) adopts its first leave policy for Japanese Americans.
July 21, 1942
Three Japanese destroyers are sunk by U.S. submarines around Kiska, Alaska.
July 22, 1942
14,000 Japanese of the Eighteenth Army land at Buna, New Guinea, in a campaign to capture Port Moresby. Nisei linguists Phil Ishio, James Tamura and others contribute to the eventual Allied victory in January 1943.
July 29, 1942
Japanese Army captures Kokoda in Papua, New Guinea.
July 31, 1942
U.S. aircraft bomb Japanese air bases on Tulagi and Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands.
Further pressure is placed on WRA director Dillon Myer to release Nisei to work in the sugar beet industry.
August 1, 1942
The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) Table of Organization is composed of one infantry battalion with two additional rifle companies, a medical section, a service section, and a transportation platoon.
August 7, 1942
19,000 U.S. Marines of the 1st Marine Division land in Guadalcanal. The battle is fought for six months, resulting in a U.S. victory. It is the first U.S. ground offensive in the war. 7,100 U.S. Marines are killed or wounded.
Captain John Burdon, Military Intelligence Service (MIS) officer (first MIS class, Presidio of San Francisco) is appointed Language Officer. He convinces senior officials of the value of MIS Nisei.
August 8, 1942
Henderson Field is captured on Guadalcanal. Japanese begin major air and naval attacks on U.S. Marine positions.
August 8-9, 1942
U.S. and Japanese naval forces clash in the Battle of Savo Island off of Guadalcanal. Four Allied cruisers are sunk with 1,000 sailors lost. Japanese lose no ships.
August 10, 1942
First group of Japanese American detainees arrives at the Minidoka camp, near Twin Falls, Idaho, from the Army temporary detention camp at Puyallup, Washington.
August 12, 1942
The Battle for Stalingrad begins.
Japanese Army begins major offensive against Chinese Nationalist troops in Shantung Provence, China.
First group of Japanese American detainees arrives at the Heart Mountain camp, near Cody, Wyoming, from the Army temporary detention camp at Pomona, California.
August 17, 1942
Western Defense Command (WDC) announces that it has completed the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast.
August 20, 1942
German Army crosses the Don River in the offensive campaign to capture Stalingrad.
August 20-24, 1942
U.S. air base Henderson Field, on Guadalcanal, receives its first land-based fighter aircraft.
August 23-25, 1942
Carrier sea battle in the Eastern Solomon Islands between U.S. and Japanese Navy. Japanese aircraft carrier Ryujo is sunk and the USS Enterprise is damaged.
August 24, 1942
Formal adoption of agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to use Mexican laborers in American agriculture. During the war, 200,000 braceros work in U.S.
August 25, 1942
Japanese Army occupies Nauru Island in the Gilberts.
August 27, 1942
Arrival of first group of Japanese American detainees to the Granada camp, near La Mar, Colorado. They are sent from the Army temporary detention facility in Merced, California.
August 28, 1942
U.S. Army Air Corps intercepts a Japanese troop convoy bound for Guadalcanal. A Japanese destroyer is sunk and two are heavily damaged.
August 30, 1942
U.S. Army and Naval forces occupy Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands.
August 31, 1942
Aircraft carrier USS Saratoga is heavily damaged by a Japanese torpedo.
The official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Crisis, publishes article highly critical of the mass internment of the Japanese population, writing that “hapless citizens… deprived of their constitutional rights and constitutional protection” had the “misfortune to include among their ancestors persons of a non-white country.… It is the ‘non-white’ which must be emphasized. American citizens of German, Italian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, or Roumanian ancestry have not been legally discriminated against. It is only our citizens of Japanese ancestry who have been put into concentration camps. They are not ‘white.’ They are ‘not to be trusted.’”
September 8, 1942
The trial of Fred Korematsu begins.
September 11, 1942
Arrival of the first group of Japanese American detainees to the Central Utah (Topaz) camp near Delta, Utah. They are sent from the Tanforan temporary detention facility in South San Francisco, California.
September 12-14, 1942
A Japanese force of 6,000 launches an attack against Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. In two days of heavy fighting, U.S. Marines repel the attack.
September 14, 1942
Board of Officers of the Office of the Army Chief of Staff recommends against further use of Japanese Americans in the Army, with the exception of Nisei in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS).
September 15, 1942
Aircraft carrier USS Wasp and a U.S. destroyer are sunk by a Japanese submarine, near Guadalcanal.
September 18, 1942
Arrival of Japanese American detainees at the Rohwer camp near McGhee, Arkansas. They are from the Army temporary detention facility at Stockton, in Northern California.
September 23-31, 1942
Japanese forces on New Guinea retreat from the capital of Port Moresby.
September 24-27, 1942
Japanese forces land on Maiana, Kuria, and Beru Islands in the Gilberts.
September 26, 1942
Secretary of War Stimson directs all services to discharge all Japanese Americans from the Enlisted Reserve Corps for reason of their ancestry.
September 29, 1942
The War Relocation Authority (WRA) announces a more liberal work release program in agriculture. By late 1942, 9,000 Japanese American detainees are working in the agricultural industries in the Western U.S. In 1942, they harvest 915,000 tons of sugar beets, producing 265,000,000 pounds of sugar, vital for the war effort. California, however, refuses to accept Japanese American labor.
War Relocation Authority Agricultural Seasonal Leave Program is declared very successful. It becomes a major policy of the WRA.
October 1, 1942
War Relocation Authority (WRA) establishes guidelines and rules allowing internees various types of leaves from camps for work in agriculture.
October 2, 1942
General Delos Emmons proposes a very limited removal plan, initially limited to only 3,000 persons from Hawai’i. They will be persons not contributing to the war effort or a drain on the war effort, not necessarily Americans of Japanese ancestry.
Elmer Davis, Director of the Office of War Information (OWI), writes letter to President Roosevelt recommending enlistment of Japanese Americans in the Armed Forces. Further, he asks Roosevelt to issue a “public statement…in behalf of loyal American citizens.”
October 6, 1942
Arrival of the first group of Japanese American detainees to the Jerome camp, near Dermont, Arkansas, from the Army temporary detention camp in Fresno, California.
Due to wartime pressure in agriculture, approximately 10,000 Japanese Americans are allowed to leave camps for seasonal work.
Secretary of War Stimson sends informal note to General George C. Marshal: “I am inclined strongly to agree with the view of McCloy and Davis. I don’t think you can proscribe a lot of American citizens because of their racial origin. We have gone to the full limit in evacuating them—that’s enough.”
October 11-12, 1942
U.S. Navy defeats the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Cape Esperance.
U.S. cruisers intercept and rout Japanese supply convoy bound for Guadalcanal.
October 12, 1942
Attorney General Francis Biddle declares that effective October 19, 1942, 600,000 unnaturalized Italians in the United States would no longer be considered “enemy aliens.”
Secretary of War Henry Stimson designates General Delos Emmons of Hawai’i as Military Commander under Executive Order 9066, able to exclude individuals from areas in Hawai’i as he may choose.
October 13, 1942
Milton S. Eisenhower, Office of War Information (OWI) Associate Director, writes Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy recommending Japanese Americans be allowed to serve in the Armed Forces.
October 15, 1942
Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy sends memorandum to Secretary of War Stimson indicating that Japanese Americans should be permitted to “enlist in special units of the Army and Navy.” He stated, “I believe the propaganda value of such a step would be great and I believe they would make great troops.”
October 17, 1942
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox writes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “A very large number of Japanese sympathizers, if not actual Japanese agents, [are] still at large in the population of Oahu, who, in the event of an attack upon these islands, would unquestionably cooperate with our enemies.”
October 23, 1942
Rommel’s Afrika Korps is defeated by British forces in decisive engagement in the Second Battle of El Alamein. The German Army is forced to retreat from Egypt.
October 23-26, 1942
20,000 Japanese soldiers again try to retake Henderson Air Field on Guadalcanal. The offensive fails with the Japanese taking 3,500 casualties.
October 25-26, 1942
U.S. and Japanese aircraft carriers engage in a four hour air battle over the Santa Cruz Islands, near Guadalcanal. The U.S. sustains the loss of the carrier USS Hornet with the USS Enterprise damaged. Two Japanese carriers are badly damaged and out of commission.
October 28, 1942
Memorandum is sent to Secretary of War Stimson calling for voluntary enlistment of Japanese Americans in the Armed Forces. It mentions the “fundamental rights of citizens to serve their country.” It recommends they serve in a voluntary segregated unit that would “enable the unit to manifest en masse its loyalty to the United States and this manifestation would provide the propaganda effect desired”
October 29, 1942
Secretary of War Stimson writes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “All persons of Japanese ancestry resident in the Hawaiian Islands who are known to be hostile to the United States have been placed under restraint in internment camps either in the islands or on the mainland. In addition, many others suspected of subversive tendencies have been so interned…. It is intended to move approximately five thousand during the next six months as shipping facilities become available. This, General Emmons believes, will greatly simplify his problem, and considering the labor needs in the islands, is about all that he has indicated any desire to move although he has been given authority to move up to fifteen thousand.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt writes Stimson regarding General Emmons’ letter, “I think that General Emmons should be told that the only consideration is that of the safety of the Islands and that the labor situation is not only a secondary matter but should not be given any consideration whatsoever… Military and naval safety is absolutely paramount.”
October 30, 1942
Second landing of Japanese Army on the Island of Attu, Alaska.
November 1-30, 1942
U.S. forces on Guadalcanal continue strong offensive against Japanese.
November 3, 1942
Transfer of Japanese Americans from the U.S. Army Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) to the War Relocation Authority (WRA) prison camps is complete.
A detachment of 25 Nisei and officers from Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion, are sent on secret mission to Cat Island on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It is a misguided experiment to determine if persons of Japanese ancestry have a unique scent that can be detected by Army trained dogs. The experiment is a failure.
November 4, 1942
General Delos Emmons receives message from John J. McCloy that he wants to see the formation of a Japanese American combat unit and seeks his recommendation. Emmons replies on November 5: “I hope project will receive approval as it will mean so much to this Territory. Am confident these men will give an excellent account of themselves in the European theater.”
November 7, 1942
General Delos Emmons is asked to provide data on the availability of AJA’s in Hawai’i to serve in a proposed Nisei combat unit.
November 8-11, 1942
Allied invasion of German occupied North Africa, called “Operation Torch,” is commanded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is the largest amphibious landing in history up to this time. This is a major Allied victory. In 76 hours, the Allies take control of 1,300 miles of African coast, from Morocco to Algiers.
November 11, 1942
General Delos Emmons is asked to provide additional information on Nisei availability for service in a fighting unit. He states that agencies in the Hawaiian Department are in favor of such a unit and they “joined in urging the desirability of the project, seeing in it, in addition to other values, the soundest possible move toward internal security.” He recommends a call for volunteers. He estimates the Territory could provide 10,000 Nisei men.
November 12, 1942- March 3,1943
1,200 Japanese American aliens are removed from Hawai’i to the mainland. By the end of World War II, a total of 1,875 are forcibly removed from Hawai’i. 1,500 AJA detainees are returned to Hawai’i in July 1945.
November 12-13, 1942
Fierce naval battle between large U.S. and Japanese naval forces at Iron Bottom Sound, between Savo Island and Guadalcanal. Japanese lose two cruisers and a battleship. U.S. losses are one cruiser and four destroyers.
November 13, 1942
British Army, under Field Marshal Montgomery, captures Tobruk. Rommel is caught between two large armies.
November 14, 1942
Japanese Americans conduct a community-wide strike at the Poston detention camp. The strike is settled by agreement between the Japanese American committees and the War Relocation Authority (WRA) camp administration on November 23, 1942.
November 14-15, 1942
U.S. naval fighters sink six Japanese transport ships and two cruisers carrying reinforcements for Guadalcanal. Battleship USS Washington sinks Japanese battleship Kirishima and a destroyer.
November 16, 1942
In a Portland federal court, Judge James A. Fee finds Minoru Yasui guilty of violating the U.S. Army curfew order. Judge Fee declares Yasui, who is an American citizen, “an alien who committed a violation of this [curfew] act.” On November 18, Yasui is sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of $5,000.
November 17, 1942
Colonel Moses W. Pettigrew, Far Eastern Group, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), U.S. Army, writes to Assistant Secretary of War McCloy an extensive and detailed recommendation for utilization of Japanese Americans in the Armed Services. He states that “the tremendous psychological and moral value to be gained by the formation of a special combat unit…would obtain not only throughout the world, but upon our own American population, and would unquestionably very greatly improve the post-war conditions of the entire Japanese-American population.” Pettigrew further recommends suspension of “all existing restrictions against the conscription and voluntary enlistment of Nisei.” He also writes: “It is axiomatic that special units should be avoided wherever possible, since they admittedly raise special problems in organization and replacement. The Nisei, however, represent a special case. They have been indiscriminately lumped with their alien parents in the West Coast evacuation and have additionally been the subject of much discriminatory treatment within the United States Army… Our present treatment, therefore, represents almost a total waste of a very considerable and potentially valuable manpower. It further denies the whole Japanese population in America an opportunity to lay the groundwork for reacceptance into our American population after the war.”
November 18, 1942
Imprisonment of Japanese Americans continues to affect strategic wartime agricultural industries. Colonel Burton, of the Office of Labor, War Food Administration, testifies before a Congressional committee: “On the West Coast there is a very great need for out-of-state workers, which is related to the evacuation of the Japanese, who, in normal times, are used to a large extent in agriculture.”
November 19, 1942
U.S. attack on Japanese forces at Buna, on Guadalcanal, is repulsed.
November 20, 1942
Field Marshal Montgomery’s army captures Benghazi.
November 24, 1942
Japanese forces land at Munda Point, on New Georgia Island, in the Solomon Islands.
November 30, 1942
Japanese destroyer and supply convoy is stopped by U.S. Navy cruiser force near Guadalcanal.
Work begins on the 478-mile Ledo Road, built by U.S. military engineers and troops with native help. It will run through India and Northern Burma to keep vital supplies available for the Allied war effort.
The second class of the Military Intelligence Language School begins at Camp Savage, Minnesota. Nisei from the mainland camps and the 100th Infantry Battalion training in Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, are recruited for training at Camp Savage.
Only 59 families have been evacuated from Hawai’i under military orders.
December 6, 1942
Protest in Manzanar camp is held in response to arrest of detainee.
December 10, 1942
The American Legion suspends the charters of two of its posts in California, the Townsend Harris and Commodore Perry posts, made up of Issei who served in World War I.
December 16, 1942
The G-3 Division of the General Staff of the U.S. Army sends a memorandum to Chief of Staff George C. Marshall recommending organization of a Japanese American combat unit. It states: “From a military point of view the organization of special units composed of Nationals of another country or of American citizens who trace their ancestry to that country is undesirable. Nevertheless, in several cases other considerations have out-weighed purely military ones and such organizations have been formed, examples being the Austrian and Norwegian battalions and the two Filipino regiments. The considerations leading to the authorization of these units are present in no less degree in the case of citizens of Japanese ancestry… It is reasonable to assume that a particularly high degree of esprit and combativeness could be developed in such an organization due to the desire of the individuals therein to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States and to repudiate the ideologies of Japan.” The G-3 recommends the formation of a combat team, consisting of an infantry regiment, a battalion of field artillery and one company of engineers. It states, “This combat team shall be built around the 100th Infantry Battalion, Separate—now active—and shall be composed of American citizens of Japanese ancestry whose loyalty is unquestioned.”
December 17, 1942
Allied governments issue Joint Declaration, condemning the “German policy of extermination of the Jewish race.”
December 17-31, 1942
The 14th Indian Division begins offensive in Burma.
December 19, 1942
Australian forces defeat Japanese defenders at Buna, on New Guinea.
December 24, 1942
The Japanese American Citizens League newspaper, Pacific Citizen, editorializes: “There is every reason to believe that a deliberate campaign is being conducted to keep the ‘Japanese’ issue alive in California… The function of these anti-democratic campaigns seems to be the maintenance of a public opinion which will make difficult any reassimilation of the evacuated people. The stress and continuance of these campaigns make it increasingly evident that military necessity alone was not the only catalyst in activating evacuation.”
December 25, 1942
German Sixth Army is hopelessly trapped by Soviets in Stalingrad.
December 26-31, 1942
Fierce fighting continues on Guadalcanal.
December 27-28, 1942
Japanese military leaders order troops on New Guinea to begin retreat.
December 31, 1942
Japanese Imperial General Staff orders the withdrawal of forces from Guadalcanal.
The Allies launch major offensives in Central and Southwest Pacific. Major U.S. victories are achieved in New Guinea, the Solomon and Gilbert Islands.
U.S. war industries are in high gear with record production. Nine new aircraft carriers are commissioned.
Brothers under the Skin, Factories in the Field, and Prejudice: Japanese Americans: Symbol of Racial Intolerance, by Carey McWilliams, are published.
War Relocation Authority shifts emphasis of its policy from confinement of Japanese Americans in camps to resettlement outside of its centers. It opens employment offices in the Midwest and East, to facilitate permanent resettlement of community. Issei and Nisei are allowed to apply for unconditional releases from the camps. In 1943, 19,000 Japanese Americans leave the camps; 85% of these are Nisei.
British and U.S. Air Forces begin combined bomber offensive against Axis targets in Europe. Massive bomber raids are conducted by the U.S. Army Air Corps in daylight raids and the Royal Air Force at night.
The California American Legion, a veterans group, passes a resolution calling for the deportation of Japanese Americans.
January 3, 1943
Undersecretary of War John J. McCloy notifies officials in the War Department that approval for the creation of a Japanese American combat unit has been given. General DeWitt disapproves of the decision stating, “There isn’t such a thing as a loyal Japanese and it is impossible to determine their loyalty by investigation—it just can’t be done.”
January 4, 1943
War Relocation Authority (WRA) field offices open in Chicago and Salt Lake City.
January 5, 1943
Russian Army captures strategic German air base in Morozovsk.
January 6, 1943
The California State legislature convenes. A number of anti-Japanese bills and resolutions are introduced.
The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) is sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, to train with the newly created 442nd RCT.
January 10, 1943
Last German Army offensive at Stalingrad begins.
Last U.S. Naval and Marine offensive begins in Guadalcanal.
January 12, 1943
U.S. forces land on Aleutian Island Amchitka.
British Eighth and U.S. Fifth Armies launch attack on Monte Cassino. It fails.
January 14-24, 1943
Casablanca Conference between Churchill and Roosevelt to discuss strategic war policy. They declare, “There are many roads which lead right to Tokyo. We shall neglect none of them.” FDR calls for “unconditional surrender” of the Axis.
January 22, 1943
General Delos Emmons is notified by the War Department that a Japanese American combat team has been authorized, to be trained in Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He is tasked to begin recruitment in Hawai’i for this unit.
January 23, 1943
Ground fighting ends in New Guinea with the capture of Buna, a U.S. and Australian victory. Nisei linguists contribute to this successful campaign. 13,000 Japanese have been killed in the Papuan Campaign. There are more than 7,000 U.S. and Australian casualties.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson announces the approval of the formation of an all-Japanese American fighting unit, to be activated on February 1, 1943.
January 25, 1943
The San Francisco Examiner editorializes, “Bad as the situation is in Europe, the war there is between European Occidental nations, between white races. Antagonisms, hatreds and jealousies, no matter how violent, cannot obscure the fact that the warring nations of Europe stem from common racial, cultural, linguistic and social roots. It is a family affair, in which the possibility of ultimate agreement and constructive harmony has not been dismissed even by the most determined opponents.”
January 28, 1943
In Hawai’i, General Delos Emmons announces the creation of an all-AJA combat team and calls for volunteers. He writes, “Once in a great while an opportunity presents itself to recognize an entire section of this community for their performance of duty. All of the people of the Hawaiian Islands have contributed generously to our war effort. Among these have been the Americans of Japanese descent. Their role had not been an easy one. Open to distrust because of their racial origin, and discriminated against in certain fields of the defense effort, they nevertheless have borne their burdens without complaint and have added materially to the strength of the Hawaiian area. They have behaved themselves admirably under the most trying conditions, have bought great quantities of war bonds, and by the labor of their hands have added to the common defense. Their representatives in the 100th infantry battalion, a combat unit now in training on the mainland; the Varsity Victory Volunteers, and other men of Japanese extraction in our armed forces have also established a fine record. In view of these facts, and by War Department authority, I have been designated to offer the Americans of Japanese ancestry an additional opportunity to serve their country. This opportunity is in the form of voluntary combat service in the armed forces. I have been directed to induct 1,500 of them as volunteers into the Army of the United States… The manner of response and the record these men establish as fighting soldiers will be one of the best answers to those who question the loyalty of American citizens of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii.”
Nisei newspaper reporter states in Pacific Citizen, regarding persistent attacks by anti-Japanese groups and their supporters, “These attacks that persist against us are more sinister [than evacuation], for now it is no longer possible to say that our persecutors are motivated by an honest if misguided patriotism. There has been plenty of time now to ascertain the facts. There is no reason after all these months for anyone to be morally honest and yet base his charges against us on misinformation.”