Asked in World War 2
What if you were a Nisei would you have served in the war?
April 04, 2011 2:43AM
Nisei means "second" in Japanese; the Nisei were the second generation, children born in America of Japanese parents.
America in 1942 was a land of somewhat irrational prejudice against people of Japanese origin, because of the "sneak attack" elements of the Japanese attacks on December 7 and 8, 1941, against Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and against American and British ships and bases around the Pacific rim. In Hawaii, there were few overt acts of prejudice against the Japanese residents, but in California, Japanese families were forced to leave their coastal homes and businesses and move to internment camps in the desert. Given this insult, it would have been natural for Americans of Japanese descent - the Nisei - to have refused military service. But over 10,000 volunteered to serve in the Army.
An entire unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, was recruited and sent to combat in Europe. The 42nd, nicknamed "Go for Broke!", was entirely made up of Japanese-Americans, and became the most highly decorated unit in WWII, earning 21 Congressional Medals of Honor.