“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.