Become a Patron!
Japanese Americans owned 12,726 acres of farmland in California.1
California Alien Land Law prohibited "aliens ineligible to citizenship" (ie. all Asian immigrants) from owning land or property, but permitted three year leases.1
California Alien Land Law prohibited leasing land to "aliens ineligible to citizenship." By 1925, it was also prohibited in Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Missouri. During World War II, Utah, Wyoming, and Arkansas also joined.1
In Ozawa v. U.S., the Supreme Court reaffirmed that Asian immigrants were not eligible for naturalization.2
February 28, 1933
The day after the Reichstag fire, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to sign Article 48, an "emergency" decree authorizing Hitler to suspend civil rights, arrest, imprison, and execute suspicious persons (communists, socialists, and labor union leaders), and outlaw non-Nazi press.4
March 20, 1933
Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, opened.4
April 7, 1933
Jews barred from German civil service.3
July 14, 1933
Hitler obtained the right to revoke German citizenship for persons considered a threat or "undesirable" to the government.4
Congress passed an act making aliens otherwise ineligible to citizenship eligible if (a) they had served in the U.S. armed forces between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, and been honorably discharged, and (b) they were permanent residents of the United States. A small number of "Issei obtained citizenship under this act before the deadline on January 1, 1937.10
September 15, 1935
Nuremberg Laws ended German citizenship for Jews.3
September 21, 1935
Jewish doctors forced to resign from private hospitals by Nuremberg Laws.4
November 16, 1937
Jews could obtain passports for travel outside of Germany only in special cases.3
July 22, 1938
Effective January 1, 1939 in Germany, all Jews forced to carry special identification cards.4
November 15, 1938
German schools expelled all Jews.3
November 28, 1939
German Jews restricted by curfew.4
The Wagner-Rogers bill (by Massachusetts Republican Congressmember Edith Nourse Rogers and New York Democrat Senator Robert F. Wagner)* died in Congress.* Roosevelt refused to take a position on it. It would have admitted 20,000 additional Jewish refugee children under the age of 14 into the United States from Germany and Austria.
Lists of "dangerous" enemy aliens and citizens began to be compiled in various government departments, such as the FBI, special intelligence agencies of the Justice Department, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the army's Military Intelligence Division.8
November 26, 1940
Jews in Warsaw began to be forced into a ghetto enclosed by an 8-foot high wall. The German government denied that anti-Semitism was its motivation.4
The census found 126,947 Japanese Americans; 62.7% were citizens by birth. In addition, 157,905 were in the Territory of Hawaii, and 263 in the Territory of Alaska.2
June 13, 1941
5000 Jews sent from Paris to labor camps.4
Vichy Government revoked civil rights of French Jews in North Africa.3
The Hawaiian National Guard (made up largely of Nisei) was federalized and later became the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.1
September 6, 1941
Effective September 19, Jews prohibited from appearing in public without the Jewish star and prohibited from leaving their residential areas without police permission.4
November 1, 1941
The Japanese Language School at the Presidio of San Francisco was formed. In the first class were 45 Nisei and Kibei and 15 others. It was moved to Camp Savage, Minnesota, renamed the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) and later moved to Fort Snelling, Minnesota.1
November 7, 1941
Curtis Munson issued his report on the Japanese Americans living on the coast.12
November 26, 1941
Grace Tully (Roosevelt's secretary) told Henry Field (anthropologist and aide to Roosevelt) that the President was ordering him to produce, in the shortest time possible, the full names and addresses of each American-born and foreign-born Japanese listed by locality within each state. She told him to use the 1930 and 1940 census.13
December 7, 1941
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
A blanket presidential warrant authorized U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle to have the FBI arrest a predetermined number of "dangerous enemy aliens," including German, Italian, and Japanese nationals. 737 Japanese Americans arrested by the end of the day.2
December 8, 1941
U.S. entered World War II.
December 22, 1941
The Agriculture Committee of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce recommended that all Japanese nationals be put under "absolute Federal control."2
January 5, 1942
Japanese American selective service registrants classified as enemy aliens (IV-C). Many Japanese American soldiers discharged or assigned to menial labor such as "kitchen police."2
January 6, 1942
"I do not believe that we could be any too strict in our consideration of the Japanese in the face of the treacherous way in which they do things," wrote Leland Ford, L.A. Congressman, in a telegram to Secretary of State Cordell Hull, asking that all Japanese Americans be removed from the West Coast.2
January 28, 1942
The California State Personnel Board voted to bar all "descendants of natives with whom the United States [is] at war" from all civil service positions. This was only enforced against Japanese Americans.2
January 29, 1942
Attorney General Francis Biddle began the establishment of prohibited zones forbidden to all enemy aliens. German, Italian, and Japanese aliens were ordered to leave San Francisco waterfront areas.2
January 30, 1942
"Unless something is done it may bring about a repetition of Pearl Harbor," said Earl Warren, California Attorney General, calling Japanese Californians the "Achilles heel of the entire civilian defense effort."2
February 4, 1942
The U.S. Army established 12 "restricted areas" in which enemy aliens were restricted by a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, allowed to travel only to and from work, and not more than 5 miles from their home.2
Major Bendetsen is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. On February 14, he was again promoted to Colonel.
February 6, 1942
A Portland American Legion post urged the removal of "enemy aliens, especially from critical Coast areas," including Japanese American citizens.2
February 13, 1942
The West Coast congressional delegation requested that the President remove "all persons of Japanese lineage... aliens and citizens alike, from the strategic areas of California, Oregon and Washington."2
February 16, 1942
California Joint Immigration Committee urged that all Japanese Americans be removed from the Pacific Coast and any other vital areas. 2192 Japanese Americans under arrest by the FBI.2
February 19, 1942
President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the secretary of war to define military areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded as deemed necessary or desirable."2
The only significant opposition would come from the Quakers (Society of Friends) and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).1
February 20, 1942
Secretary of War Henry Stimson appointed Lieutenant General John DeWitt to carry out Executive Order 9066.2
February 28, 1942
House Committee on Un-American Activities released its 300 page Yellow Book, containing almost every possible charge against Japanese Americans.2
March 2, 1942
General DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 1, creating military areas in Washington, Oregon, California, and parts of Arizona and declaring the right to remove German, Italian, and Japanese aliens and anyone of "Japanese Ancestry" living in Military Areas No. 1 and 2 should it become necessary.2
March 12, 1942
The Secretary of Treasury designated the Federal Reserve Bank of San Fancisco to handle Japanese American property, while the Farm Security Administration was given control over Japanese American farms and farm equipment. Evictees were told:
no Japanese need sacrifice any personal property of value. If he cannot dispose of it at a fair price, he will have opportunity to store it prior to the time he is forced to evacuate by Exclusion Order. Persons who attempt to take advantage of Japanese evacuees by trying to obtain property at sacrifice prices are un-American, unfair, and are deserving only of the severest censure.10
However, there were no interventions to freeze unfair transactions by the Federal Reserve Bank and only one instance of intervention by the Farm Security Administration.10
March 16, 1942
DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 2, creating Military Areas 3 to 6 in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah, respectively.2
March 21, 1942
Congress imposed federal penalties for those who refuse to obey orders to enter or leave designated military areas.2
Manzanar, the first American concentration camp, opened.
March 23, 1942
DeWitt issued Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1, giving alien and non-alien persons of Japanese ancestry one week to leave Bainbridge Island in Seattle's Puget Sound.2
March 27, 1942
Public Proclamation No. 4 prohibited Japanese aliens from voluntary evacuation of Military Area No. 1.2
April 7, 1942
WRA Director Milton Eisenhower asked the governors and representatives of Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Washington, and Arizona to accept Japanese American evacuees. Colorado Governor Ralph Carr was the only one to offer cooperation.2
May 13, 1942
Ichiro Shimoda shot and killed for trying to escape from Fort Sill.
June 7, 1942
General DeWitt announced completion of the removal of 100,000 Japanese Americans from Military Area No. 1.2
June 29, 1942
1600 inmates sent from assembly and relocation centers to fill sugar beet labor shortage in Oregon, Utah, Idaho, and Montana.2
July 27, 1942
Two ill prisoners shot to death in the early morning at Lordsburg, New Mexico.8
August 7, 1942
Removal of all Japanese Americans (over 110,000) completed in Military Areas No. 1 and 2.2
August 18, 1942
The War Department assigned military area status to the four relocation centers outside the Western Defense Command.2
October 24, 1942
Over 8000 prisoners were working to save the beet and potato crop harvest in various western states.12
November 18, 1942
Poston demonstration against the arrest of two prisoners accused of beating an alleged "informer."
A general strike followed, 5 days later.2
December 6, 1942
At Manzanar, arrest of prisoners accused of informer-beating led to protest and violence. Military police fired into the crowd, killing two protesters and wounding at least 10 more.2
Military Intelligence Service (MIS) soldiers served in the Pacific Theater, translating captured communication, interrogated prisoners, broadcast propaganda, and would eventually work on the surrender, war crimes trials, and occupation forces.1
January 28, 1943
Over 2500 volunteer for the military as restrictions on Nisei service are removed.2
February 3, 1943
WRA began processing the loyalty questionaire.
U.S. Army officially activated the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of the 100th Battalion from Hawaii and Japanese American volunteers from the mainland concentration camps.2 Nearly 10,000 Hawaiian Nisei volunteered for military service. Only 1100 mainland prisoners volunteer.12
April 11, 1943
Elderly man shot to death at Topaz.
April 19, 1943
Warsaw Ghetto revolt began. SS troops crushed the uprising.4
June 9, 1943
California Governor Earl Warren signed prohibition of commercial fishing licenses from being given to alien Japanese.2
July 31, 1943
WRA designated Tule Lake as a "segregation camp."2
October 15, 1943
A strike in Tule Lake followed the death of an inmate in a truck accident.12
The 100th Infantry Battalion fought in North Africa and Italy, joining the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in June 1944. They fought in Italy, France, and Germany, rescued the "Lost Battalion," and their 522nd Field Artillery Battalion liberated the survivors at the Dachau death camp. Of the 10,000 volunteers for the all-American combat unit, 1200 came from mainland U.S. concentration camps and the rest from Hawaii, where Executive Order 9066 did not apply.1
January 14, 1944
Tule Lake no longer under Army control.2
January 20, 1944
Secretary of War Stimson announced that Japanese Americans were eligible for the draft.2
May 24, 1944
Shoichi James Okamoto shot by camp soldier.
July 18, 1944
In Cheyenne, Wyoming, a federal district court convicted 63 men from Heart Mountain of draft resistance and sentenced them to three years in federal penitentiary.2 Also that month, seven leaders of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, along with newspaper editor James Omura, were arrested for conspiracy to encourage draft resistance.12
July 29, 1944
Federal Judge Louis E. Goodman dismissed indictments against 26 Tule Lake draft resisters, declaring "It is shocking... that an American citizen be confined on the ground of disloyalty, and then... be compelled to serve in the armed forces, or be prosecuted for not."12
December 17, 1944
Public Proclamation No. 21 issued by Major General Henry C. Pratt (effective January 2, 1945), allowing evacuees to return home and lifting contraband regulations.
The next day, two years and five months after it was filed, the Endo case was ruled on in the Supreme Court -- the WRA cannot detain "loyal" citizens. Executive Order 9066 and the evacuation was upheld in the Korematsu case.2 Justice Frank Murphy disagreed:
I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States."11
In Hood River, Oregon, the American Legion removed the names of 17 Nisei soldiers from the community honor roll.12
August 14, 1945
Japan surrendered. World World II ended.
In Oyama v. California, the Supreme Court struck down the Alien Land Laws as violations of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Evacuation Claims Act authorized payment to Japanese Americans who suffered economic loss during imprisonment: with the necessary proof, 10 cents was returned for every $1.00 lost.1
The McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act ended the racially based naturalization ban and the 1924 ban on Asian immigration.1
1 Frank and Joanne Iritani; Ten Visits; Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc.; San Mateo, CA; �1995.
2 Ed. by Roger Daniels, Sandra Taylor, and Harry Kitano; Japanese Americans, from Relocation to Redress; University of Utah Press; Salt Lake City, Utah; �1986.
3 South Carolina ETV, Holocaust Time Line, �1995.
4 Ben S. Austin, The Holocaust Page -- Chronology, �1996.
5 Yoshiko Uchida, Desert Exile, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, �1982.
6 Smithsonian Institution, A More Perfect Union, �1995.
7 Edward Spicer, Asael Hansen, Katherine Luomala, Marvin Opler; Impounded People, Japanese-Americans in the Relocation Centers; University of Arizona Press; Tucson, Arizona; �1969.
8 Tetsuden Kashima, "American Mistreatment of Internees During World War II: Enemy Alien Japanese" in: Ed. by Roger Daniels, Sandra Taylor, and Harry Kitano; Japanese Americans, from Relocation to Redress; University of Utah Press; Salt Lake City, Utah; �1986; p. 52-56.
9 Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy, Morrow Quill Paperbacks, New York, �1976.
10 Dorothy Swaine Thomas and Richard S. Nishimoto, The Spoilage, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, �1946, p. 2, 14-15.
11 Ed. by Melvin I. Urofsky, Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy -- Korematsu v. United States, United States Information Agency, Washington D.C., �1996.
12 Ellen Levine, A Fence Away from Freedom, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, �1995, p. 231-240.
13 Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians; Joan Z. Bernstein, Chair; Personal Justice Denied; Washington, D.C.; �1982; p. 104-5