Military Areas 1 and 2

After the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, General John L. DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 1 ten days later, on March 2. This proclamation created Military Areas 1 and 2. The former included the western half of Washington and Oregon, the southern half of Arizona and the western half of California from the Oregon border to Los Angeles as well as all of the area south of Los Angeles. The rest of these states made up Military Area 2.

In announcing these areas, DeWitt and Western Defense Command officials made it clear that all people of Japanese descent would be removed from Military Area 1. They also announced that there were no plans to remove anyone from Military Area 2, outside of areas that had already been deemed restricted. Public Proclamation 1 also required all persons of Japanese descent along with German and Italian aliens residing in Military Area 1 who changed their residence to file a form with the post office.

The proclamation of Military Areas 1 and 2 further encouraged " voluntary evacuation " from Area 1 to inland states and to Area 2. However, such "voluntary" resettlement was not practicable for the vast majority of Japanese Americans. Recognizing this fact a month later, Public Proclamation No. 4 was issued on March 27, prohibiting Japanese Americans in Area 1 from moving and setting in motion the mass forced removal of all Japanese Americans in Area 1. To add insult to injury, Japanese Americans were later also removed from the California portions of Area 2, which meant that those Japanese Americans who had "voluntarily" moved there in hopes of avoiding forced removal were removed anyway. By the fall of 1942, all Japanese Americans had been evicted from California (except for those in the barbed wire confines of Manzanar and Tule Lake ), while Japanese Americans in the eastern portions of Washington and Oregon (and northern portions of Arizona) were allowed to remain.

About a year later, effective on March 4, 1943, DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 16 , which moved the Arizona border of Military Area 1 south approximately sixty miles.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

For More Information

Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians .  Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1982. Foreword by Tetsuden Kashima. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997.

Weglyn, Michi. Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps . New York: William Morrow & Co., 1976. Updated ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996.

Last updated June 10, 2020, 5:12 p.m..