WWII SF 1942

Archive of the Mendocino Heritage Artists

Chronology of San Francisco War Events: 2/11/1942 to 3/19/1942

In parallel with the daily personal events described in Dorr Bothwell’s WWII illustrated diary (begun just two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), fueled by xenophobia and fear, larger events were unfolding that would have catastrophic consequences for United States citizens of Japanese descent, including the many Japanese-American residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. –  CG Blick (2017)

The following data is the Chronology of 1942 San Francisco War Events, from February 11, 1942 to March 19, 1942, as recorded in the archives of the Museum of the City of San Francisco.

February 11, 1942
Sec. of War Stimson met with the President to ask for authorization to remove alien and citizen Japanese. The President gave his approval.

February 12, 1942
Columnist Walter Lippmann, wrote from San Francisco, that the West Coast “is in imminent danger of a combined attack from within and without . . . It may at any moment be a battlefield. Nobody’s constitutional rights include the right to reside and do business on a battlefield.”

February 13, 1942
Entire California congressional delegation today said, “We recommend 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.”

February 14, 1942
Submarine U.S.S. Wahoo launched at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

February 15, 1942
First exodus of enemy aliens from restricted military zones throughout Northern California. “Move out and stay out” orders will become effective on Feb. 24. Citizens were not affected by this order.

Lt. Col. C.C. Harsham, coordinator for the draft, reported there was a steady stream of men at the San Francisco application centers today. The deadline for registration is 9 p.m. tomorrow.

February 16, 1942
The industrial and Waterfront areas of San Francisco were declared a restricted zone by the military. Aliens and other foreigners were not allowed in the areas and were subject to arrest by the FBI for violations.

The Dept. of Justice has rounded up 1,266 alien Japanese along the West Coast.

Sec. of War Henry L. Stimson met with President Roosevelt about the need to evacuate the Japanese from the West Coast.

February 19, 1942
President Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 to allow military commanders to remove persons of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific Coast.

February 23, 1942
A Japanese submarine fired 13 shells at the Bankline Refinery at Goleta in Southern California shortly after 7 p.m. One oil well was damaged. The Civilian Defense control center in San Francisco’s City Hall was activiated when the news arrived from Goleta of the enemy attack. Police Chief Charles W. Dullea put all officers on standby for emergency duty.

American Association of School Superintendents’ Patriotic Revue at the Opera House.

Rep. John Rankin of Mississippi demanded that the American Civil Liberties Union be investigated for protesting the recent Presidential order removing the Japanese from the West Coast. The Dies Committee on Un- American Activities reported that detailed maps of West Coast cities were seized from an “important Japanese,” and a large number of them were organized to further Fifth Column activities in this country.

February 24, 1942
All of northern California was declared a “strategic area” and Axis aliens were subject to a 9 p.m. curfew. In addition, enemy aliens must evacuate areas around Army posts, airfields and vital utilities. Lt. Gen. DeWitt will lay out many additional areas from which aliens, and some citizens, will be removed. The first 250 enemy aliens, mostly Japanese, left San Francisco for a camp at Bismarck, North Dakota.

February 25, 1942
Several thousand anti-aircraft rounds were fired by the Army at an unidentified target near Santa Monica. It was later determined to be a lost weather balloon. It became known as “The Battle of Los Angeles.”

March 2, 1942
Gen. DeWitt, commanding both the San Francisco Western Defense Command, and the Fourth Army’s Wartime Civil Control Administration, issued instructions to all persons of Japanese ancestry living in San Francisco to voluntarily evacuate to inland locations as ordered by President Roosevelt.

March 10, 1942
Navy seized an entire San Francisco neighborhood to add to the facility at the Hunters Point. About 100 families were forced to move for what the Navy called “military necessity.”

March 18, 1942
President Roosevelt orders establishment of a War Relocation Authority.

March 19, 1942
Both house of Congress passed Public Law 503 which authorized the evacuation of the Japanese.

Return to Dorr Bothwell’s WWII Illustrated Diary