double victory Audrey chin, charles mui

Asian Americans During World War II

We are humans too!

  • How were they treated?
  • After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 110,000 Japanese Americans were stripped of the First Amendment rights in favor of protecting against espionage, and were placed into internment camps.
  • Their private property was absorbed into the federal government and all possessions were trashed or displaced.
  • They were thought of as spies for the Japanese.
  • How did they respond to such treatment?
  • After President Truman legalized and executed the Executive Order 9066 to place Japanese Americans into internment camps, mostly, Japanese Americans followed submissively.
  • However, in 1944, a Japanese American called Fred Korematsu sued the federal government and made his way up to the Supreme Court.
  • He challenged the Executive Order 9066, saying it was unconstitutional and violated his First Amendment rights.
  • However, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-3 score, that the order was constitutional because at war a country's security and protect against espionage outweighed an individual's First Amendment rights.
  • Over 33,000 Japanese Americans (and other Asian minorities) joined the military to prove their loyalty to the United States (and get an education).
  • Did they contribute anything to the cause of WWII?
  • They did not contribute anything to the cause of WWII, but did contribute to the labor on the homefront.
  • What is your analysis?
  • Asian Americans were unfairly discriminated against and Executive Order 9066 violated basic human rights.
  • They were not even given gratitude for their contributions to WWII on the homefront until 1988 when Congress granted $20,000 to former internees.
Women During World War II

Equality for all!

  • How were they treated?
  • They were treated to fill in the spots for men.
  • They were treated like men, but were paid less.
  • How did they respond to such treatment?
  • After seventy-five percent of the women were fired, feminism rooted during their time in WWII and after.
  • They started protesting and forming organizations for equal pay.
  • Did they contribute anything to the cause of WWII?
  • Women, to replace the men who went to war, filled in for them for war production.
  • They became mechanics for ships, tanks, and planes, they made clothes for the population at home and at war, they provided medical care for those at war, and they joined the military, such as the Armed Forces.
  • What is your analysis?
  • Women were treated relatively better than Asian Americans, but were still under heavy sexism.
  • They worked two jobs--one at factories and shops, and the other at home--and they were still paid less than men.
  • The war effort on the homefront was impossible with women and other minorities.
  • But unlike Asian American women, their positions in hospitals and in the military were not heavily sexualized.
  • Japanese Americans joined military units to prove loyalty to the United States and to avoid containment in the internment camps.
  • Women also joined military units to contribute to the war effort. (640,000 women worked in the Armed Forces, 55,000 served with guns and air defense, 80,000 enlisted in the Army.)
  • Japanese families were reduced to numbers and tags as they were discriminated against after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
  • Women were given a relatively high status (relative as in prior to World War I and II) due to their contributions on the homefront.
  • Both Caucasian and Chinese American women worked on the homefront while the men joined the war. (They were mechanics, engineers, tank drivers, ship builders, bomb makers, plumbers, ambulance drivers, nurses.)
  • In 1943, Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act, granting them citizenship as Japanese internment camps continued to exclude Japanese Americans from basic human rights.
  • Women already got the right to vote in 1919.
  • Seventy-five percent of working women got laid off when the war ended, confining them back into "feminine" occupations such as clerics, teachers, nurses, and day care workers.
  • Japanese Americans continued to face discrimination after the war.
  • Japanese Americans had to start from scratch after their release from the camps. All their private property desecrated and became government controlled after President Truman sent them into the internment camps. About forty years after, Congress passed the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, issuing a formal apology to the Japanese Americans and granting $20,000 for former internees.
  • Women just went back to being housewives, though the feminist movement that accelerated in the 60s and 70s rooted after the war.
  • Post war, women fought for equal pay, though the feminist movement did not accelerate until the 1960s and 70s.
  • Post war, Asian Americans such as Filipinos and Asian Indians fought for citizenship rights through the Luce Celler Bill as both Filipinos and Asian Indians contributed to the war effort, though it only granted one hundred Filipinos and one hundred Indians to immigrate to the United States per year.

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