“Go For Broke”
442nd Regimental Combat
Team
Devin Kane
Research Questions
What were the motivations of the Nisei fighting in the
442nd RCT?
What kind of lasting impact did the 442nd RCT have
on American society after the war?
December 7, 1941
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack led to fear of Japanese Americans (Nisei) as
enemy-combatants. The fear was widespread in the
United States and especially in Hawaii and the West
Coast.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive
Order 9066 which led to the internment of the Nisei.
Hawaii
The sheer numbers of Nisei living on Hawaii made
internment impractical based upon economic reasons.
The Nisei, wanting to get involved with the war effort were
allowed to participate as laborers and in non-military
capacitates.
They formed the Varsity Victory Volunteers.
Worried that the loyalty of the Japanese Americans might
sway in the event of an invasion, General Emmons
recommended that regiments of Nisei be formed into the
Hawaiian Provisional Battalion
Formation of the
nd
442
RCT
More the 75% of the internees said that they were
willing to enlist in the U.S. Army.
The U.S. Army requested 1,500 volunteers from
Hawaii and 3,000 from the Mainland.
An overwhelming 10,000 men from Hawaii came
forward.
Motivations of the Nisei
By volunteering for military service, the Nisei knew
that they were going to be able to escape internment.
They wished to overcome the fear of other Americans
to their ethnicity.
They wished to retaliate against the Japanese for its
attack on their country.
They volunteered out of a genuine patriotism.
“Rescue of the Lost Battalion”
Vosges Mountains of France on October 22, 1944.
211 members of the 141st Infantry where cut off by the
Germans.
442nd RCT were sent to rescue the Unit “at all costs.”
More than 800 members of the 442nd where killed or
injured.
The battle has been described as one of the most 10
important battles of the US Army.
Military Honors of the 442nd
RCT
442nd RCT is the most highly decorated combat unit in
the history of the United States armed forces based
upon size and length of service.
14,000 members of the 442nd RCT earned 9,486
Purple Hearts.
21 members of the 442nd RCT earned the Medal of
Honor, the highest military honor awarded by the
United States
Long Term Impacts of the
nd
442 RCT (Military)
They established the value of military units comprised
of similar members.
There was no lack of discipline among the soldiers and
they were able to fight along side other Army units.
They allowed the military to utilize Nisei as translators
and as intelligent gathers.
Long Term Impacts of the
nd
442 RCT (Social)
Eased the hysteria of other Americans toward Japanese
Americans.
Established patriotism not ethnicity as the primary
motivation for why they fought.
Helped to break down stereotypes of non-European
immigrants.
When Hawaii was fighting for statehood, Congress
cited the 442nd RCT as a big reason to why they
granted Hawaii the honor of becoming its own state.
Conclusions and Quotes
Regarding the Nisei
“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up
entirely of Japanese Americans, served with immense
distinction to defend this nation, their nation.” –
Ronald Regan
“America gained strength because African Americans
and Japanese Americans and others fought for their
country, which wasn't always fair to them.” – George
W. Bush
“Rarely has a nation been so well-served by a people it
has so ill-treated.” –Bill Clinton
Sources
Chang, Thelma. I Can Never Forget: Men of the 100th/
442nd . Honolulu: Sigi Productions, 1991.
Hua, Vanessa. “Secrets Revealed: Nisei’s World War II
Role.” The San Francisco Chronicle (12 June 2007). Web.
20 Oct. 2012.
Parker, J.L. “Nisei Soldiers in World War II: The
Campaign in the Vosges Mountains.” Master Thesis (3
June 1994). Web. 18 Oct. 2012.
Nisei World War II Stamp Campaign. No Author. No
Publisher. Last modified 2012. Web. Accessed
December 9, 2012.
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442nd Regimental Combat Team