on December 7th 1941 the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor from that time until September 1945 the two countries were at war the United States was a country formed by immigrants even though most people were of European descent on the west coast especially were asian-americans some of them were of Japanese origin knowing the situation of that time between the two countries an interesting question may be posed did japanese-americans serve.
in the US Army during the conflict a short and simple answer is yes but how many where did they serve and how complicated was the situation for the japanese-americans at that time there were people of Japanese origin who served in the US Army between 1941 and 1945 but the details of this matter are more interesting people from Japan began migrating to the US.
in significant numbers following the political cultural and social changes that happens in the Asian country from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 that’s that point the country started to modernize and to embrace a more western style and political and economic aspects the whole American continent looked attractive not only for Europeans but for some Asians including thousands of Japanese.
the United States seemed to be a good option large numbers went to Hawaii and later the West Coast but of course a significant amount of them lived in other states especially New York in 1907 there was an agreement between the governments of Japan and the US which ended emigration of Japanese unskilled workers butts permitted.
the emigration of businessman students and spouses of Japanese immigrants already in the u.s. the Immigration Act of 1924 bans the emigration of nearly all Japanese the ban on immigration produced unusually well defined generational groups within the Japanese American community original immigrants belongs to an immigrant generation called the ESA and their us-born children to the Nisei Japanese American generation the ESA comprised exclusively of those who had immigrated before 1924.
because no new immigrants were permitted all japanese-americans born after 1924 were by definition born in the US this generation the Nisei became a distinct cohort from the Issei generation in terms of age citizenship and English language ability in addition to the usual generational differences another generation of japanese-americans.
the third one was called the sansei significance Japanese immigration did not occur again until the immigration and national Elte Act of 1965 this act ended 40 years of bans against immigration from Japan and other countries with war clouds on the horizon and tensions with Japan escalating the u.s. reinstated the draft in November of 1940 they also recognized the need to begin training Americans.
in the Japanese language to serve as translators and interpreters in the event of war by 1940 many Nisei were of legal age as many were drafted with some 5000 having been inducted into the US Army by the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 two groups of Japanese Americans in Hawaii played important roles in early defense efforts members of the Hawaii National Guard were called on to guard against possible enemy invasion.
in the chaotic hours after the attack as fears of a Japanese attack rose in the early months of 1942 Hawaii’s military governor Dallas emmalin’s worries what might happen if Japanese troops invaded wearing American uniforms and so he decided to form the Nisei members of the Hawaii National Guard into a battalion to be sent to the mainland the Hawaii provisional infantry battalion was formed in near secrecy and 1432.
men shipped out for San Francisco on June 5th as the Battle of Midway raged after landing in San Francisco they traveled by train to Wisconsin where they would train for the next six months becoming the original members of the 100th infantry battalion for those serving in the mainland individual commanders were given the option of discharging Japanese.
American soldiers or assigning them to harmless duties in the meantime Selective Service stopped accepting Nisei in early 1942 on the grounds that they were not acceptable to the Armed Forces because of nationality or ancestry while the 100th infantry battalion continued to train as captain McCoy debates about whether to allow Nisei to serve.
in the military was taking place group calls the board of military utilization of US citizens of Japanese ancestry was made up in June of 1942 the problem puts on the table was to explore if it was wise to accept the formation of a japanese-american unit a report was issued against the formation of this unit but a month later.
it was presented to President Franklin D Roosevelt that the use of these men could be helpful and a nice a fighting unit could be seen as propaganda on February 1st of 1943 President Roosevelt announced the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team an all Japanese American unit while the 100th battalion continued its training its Camp Shelby.
in Mississippi the Military Intelligence Service language school began to send trains linguists to the battlefields of the Pacific and so the call went out for volunteers for the 442nd the initial goal was for 3,000 volunteers from the continental US and 1500 from Hawaii.
but in Hawaii more than 10,000 Nisei stepped forward of these 2686 were accepted due to the mistrust of the US government’s about the people of Japanese origin a controversial decision was made 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were relocated to the western interior of the country most of them lived on the Pacific coast in August of 1943.
the 100th battalion shipped out landing in North Africa and plunged into battle in Salerno Italy there the first casualties were suffered they were involved in campaigns at Cassino as well as the Anzio campaign leading to the Allies capture of Rome in June of 1944 the 442nd arrived in Europe despite.
the Sterling war record of the 100th and later the 440 second that were compiling in Europe the Navy Marine Corps and Air Force refused to take japanese-americans for the most part though there were a few individual exceptions in the Pacific the japanese-american linguists of the military intelligence service ensured great risk from the enemy.
as well as from friendly fire to perform vital translation and interpretation tasks japanese-americans were generally forbidden to fight a combat role in the Pacific Theater what’s on the other hand no limitations were placed on Americans of German or Italian origin who fought up to this point only five records were found of Japanese Americans.
who were members of the Army Air Forces during the conflict while many eventually joins the 442nd a certain number refused combat training the 442nd took part in the Rome Arnaud campaign in July 1944 they also took part in the rescue of the lost battalion in October 1944 in March of 1945 the 520 second field artillery battalion was detached from the 442nd they were also active until.
the end of the conflicts in Europe but also Nisei and MIS took part in the surrender of Japan and in the subsequent occupation by the end of the war the 442nd including the 100th prior to becoming part of it received nine thousand four hundred and eighty six Purple Hearts eight Presidential Unit Citations 559 Silver Stars and fifty-two Distinguished Service crosses among many other decorations.
in the immediate aftermath of the war only one member of the 442nd received the Medal of Honor America’s highest military honor however a review in the 1990s resulted in 20 additional medals of Honor being awarded in 2000 among the decorations received by the MIS are a Presidential Unit Citation five Silver Stars and three Distinguished Service crosses.
an estimated 33 thousand Japanese Americans served in the military during and immediately after World War two about 18,000 in the 442nd and six thousand as part of the MIS approximately 800 Japanese Americans were killed in action during World War two.
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