World War II Internment Camps Timeline

  • Should Japs be Trusted?

    Should Japs be Trusted?
    In a letter to President Roosevelt, Representative John Dingell of Michigan suggests incarcerating 10,000 Hawaiian Japanese Americans as hostages to ensure "good behavior" on the part of Japan.
  • Loyal Working Japanese Americans?

    Loyal Working Japanese Americans?
    Fifteen Japanese American businessmen and community leaders in Los Angeles Little Tokyo are picked up in an F.B.I. raid. A spokesman for the Central Japanese Association states: "We teach the fundamental principles of America and the high ideals of American democracy. We want to live here in peace and harmony. Our people are 100% loyal to America."
  • Issei

    Issei
    The attack on Pearl Harbor. Local authorities and the F.B.I. begin to round up the leadership of the Japanese American communities. Within 48 hours, 1,291 Issei are in custody. These men are held under no formal charges and family members are forbidden from seeing them. Most would spend the war years in enemy alien internment camps run by the Justice Department.
  • Forced Removal

    Forced Removal
    President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 which allows military authorities to exclude anyone from anywhere without trial or hearings. Though the subject of only limited interest at the time, this order set the stage for the entire forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans.
  • Japs must Leave!

    Japs must Leave!
    The Navy informs Japanese American residents of Terminal Island near Los Angeles Harbor that they must leave in 48 hours. They are the first group to be removed en masse.
  • U.S. Concentration Camps

    U.S. Concentration Camps
    Idaho Governor Chase Clark tells a congressional committee in Seattle that Japanese would be welcome in Idaho only if they were in "concentration camps under military guard." Some credit Clark with the conception of what was to become a true scenario.
  • Japs are Held!

    Japs are Held!
    Gen. John L. DeWitt issues Public Proclamation No. 1 which creates Military Areas Nos. 1 and 2. Military Area No. 1 includes the western portion of California, Oregon and Washington, and part of Arizona while Military Area No. 2 includes the rest of these states. The proclamation also hints that people might be excluded from Military Area No. 1.
  • War Relocation Authority

    War Relocation Authority
    The president signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA) with Milton Eisenhower as director. It is allocated $5.5 million.
  • Justified as Volunteers

    Justified as Volunteers
    The first advance groups of Japanese American "volunteers" arrive at Manzanar, CA. The WRA would take over on June 1 and transform it into a "relocation center."
  • Japs Have One Week!

    Japs Have One Week!
    The first Civilian Exclusion Order issued by the Army is issued for the Bainbridge Island area near Seattle. The forty-five families there are given one week to prepare. By the end of October, 108 exclusion orders would be issued, and all Japanese Americans in Military Area No. 1 and the California portion of No. 2 would be incarcerated.
  • Arrested for Being Japanese

    Arrested for Being Japanese
    Minoru Yasui walks into a Portland police station at 11:20 p.m. to present himself for arrest in order to test the curfew regulations in court.
  • Japs Belive Unconstitutional

    Japs Belive Unconstitutional
    Having "voluntarily resettled" in Denver, Nisei journalist James Omura writes a letter to a Washington law firm inquiring about retaining their services to seek legal action against the government for violations of civil and constitutional rights and seeking restitution for economic losses. He was unable to afford the $3,500 fee required to begin proceedings.
  • Japs Cannot Escape!

    Japs Cannot Escape!
    Forty-five-year-old Ichiro Shimoda, a Los Angeles gardener, is shot to death by guards while trying to escape from Fort Still (Oklahoma) internment camp. The victim was seriously mentally ill, having attempted suicide twice since being picked up on December 7. He is shot despite the guards' knowledge of his mental state.
  • Like a Concentration Camp?

    Like a Concentration Camp?
    Hikoji Takeuchi, a Nisei, is shot by a guard at Manzanar. The guard claims that he shouted at Takeuchi and that Takeuchi began to run away from him. Takeuchi claims he was collecting scrap lumber and didn't hear the guard shout. His wounds indicate that he was shot in the front. Though seriously injured, he eventually recovered.
  • Japanese Imprisonment is Wrong!

    Japanese Imprisonment is Wrong!
    Largely organized by Quaker leader Clarence E. Pickett, the National Japanese-American Student Relocation Council is formed in Philadelphia with University of Washington Dean Robert W. O'Brien as director. By war's end, 4,300 Nisei would be in college.
  • Japs are Spies

    Japs are Spies
    The movie "Little Tokyo, U.S.A." is released by Twentieth Century Fox. In it, the Japanese American community is portrayed as a "vast army of volunteer spies" and "blind worshippers of their Emperor, " as described in the film's voice-over prologue.
  • New WRA Director

    New WRA Director
    Milton Eisenhower resigns as WRA director. Dillon Myer is appointed to replace him.
  • No Escape!

    No Escape!
    Two Issei -- Brawley, CA farmer Toshiro Kobata and San Pedro fisherman Hirota Isomura -- are shot to death by camp guards at Lourdsburg, New Mexico enemy alien internment camp. The men had allegedly been trying to escape. It would later be reported, however, that upon their arrival to the camp, the men had been too ill to walk from the train station to the camp gate.
  • There Will be Order

    There Will be Order
    A routine search for contraband at the Santa Anita "Assembly Center" turns into a "riot." Eager military personnel had become overzealous and abusive which, along with the failure of several attempts to reach the camp's internal security chief, triggers mass unrest, crowd formation, and the harassing of the searchers. Military police with tanks and machine guns quickly end the incident. The "overzealous" military personnel are later replaced.
  • Camps are Justified

    Camps are Justified
    President Roosevelt calls the "relocation centers" "concentration camps" at a press conference. The WRA had consistently denied that the term "concentration camps" accurately described the camps.
  • A Jap's a Jap!

    A Jap's a Jap!
    "A Jap's a Jap. There is no way to determine their loyalty... This coast is too vulnerable. No Jap should come back to this coast except on a permit from my office." Gereral John L. DeWitt, head, Western Defense Command; before the House Naval Affairs Subcommittee.
  • Japs Fight for America

    Japs Fight for America
    Nisei eligibility for the draft is restored. The reaction to this announcement in the camps would be mixed.