Dec. 7 | Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. The next day, the United States and Britain declare war on Japan.
Feb. 14 | Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, recommends moving “Japanese and other subversive persons” from the West Coast.
Feb. 19 | President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing “military areas” from which “any or all persons” may be excluded without trial or hearing. It does not specify an ethnic group, but is applied only to residents with Japanese ancestry.
Credit The Kansas City Star
March 1 | General DeWitt begins to evict all people of Japanese ancestry from the western halves of Washington State, California, Oregon and parts of Arizona, regardless of citizenship status.
An evacuation poster issued by the United States Army.
March 22 | The first Japanese and Japanese-American people are moved from Los Angeles to a temporary Army detention center. Over five months, more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them born in the United States, are forced to relocate to government camps.
Inside barracks-style housing at Manzanar, cloth partitions were hung for privacy. Credit Dorothea Lange/U.S. National Park Service
June 21 | The Supreme Court rules that a curfew may be imposed on members of a minority group based solely on ancestry.
June 6 | D-Day.
December | President Roosevelt rescinds Executive Order 9066 after the Supreme Court rules that “loyal” citizens cannot be lawfully detained. Camps were closed and internees were released.
Aug. 6 | The United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
A huge expanse of ruins left after the explosion of the atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, in Hiroshima. Credit Associated Press
Aug. 9 | Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Aug. 14 | Japan surrenders.
October-December | Most internment camps are closed.
Oct. 30 | Final release of Japanese-Americans from detention centers. None of those incarcerated were ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage. While they were being detained, many families lost their homes, land and all of their belongings.
July 2 President Harry S. Truman signs Evacuation Claims Act enabling detainees to sue the government for damages and property loss. In all, about $35 million is paid by the government — less than 10 cents per dollar lost in homes, businesses, property and savings.
Internment camp survivors successfully lobby Congress to allow people from Japan to become naturalized citizens.
Feb. 19 | President Gerald R. Ford formally rescinds Executive Order 9066.
Aug. 10 | President Ronald Reagan signs legislation apologizing to internees and providing $20,000 in restitution for each survivor. In all, the government paid about $1.6 billion to internment camp survivors.