This week, we are examining World War II and the global impact of the war. Along the homefront, the war stimulated the economy and helped to end the depression. In order to fully mobilize and support the war efforts, American’s accepted as part of their daily lives the rationing of basic commodities such as rubber, gas, butter, eggs, and other essentials. Mass migration took place, and the West coast became the focus of military-industrial production. For their part, minorities served in the war, although they did so in segregated units. Many of these units served with distinction, such as the famous Tuskegee Airman, Navajo Code Talkers, and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who were not only made up of nisei or second-generation Japanese-Americans but also became the most decorated regimental size unit in American history. The phrase “Double-V,” coined by the Pittsburgh Courier, symbolized Black attitudes as they sought victory against the Axis powers abroad and racism at home while the war against Nazism brought America’s racial ideologies to the forefront and influenced the birth of the modern civil rights movement. Even so, the experiences of Asian-Americans was filled with paradox.
On the one hand, China became an ally, and the Chinese Exclusion Act would be repealed in 1943. In contrast, fear that Japanese-Americans were plotting with Japan led to the internment of Japanese-Americans in 1942. Unlike the Japanese, very few Germans or Italians were interned during the war and the American government came to view every person of Japanese ethnicity as a potential spy. In 1942, the U.S. Military persuaded President Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 9066, which called for the relocation and internment of all Japanese descendants, most of them were American citizens. THESE FOLKS WERE AMERICAN! After watching the video and completing the assigned reading in your textbook and Cougar Courses, follow these steps:
1- After reading the Korematsu ruling, Munson Report, Crisis Article, and Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga’s interview consider the historical and current issue of domestic security during wartime. (think 9/11 or cyber-security) With the present-day challenge of freedom versus security in mind, answer the following questions:
2- What can we determine from the video and reading? How were those in the videos and their surroundings portrayed?
3- What role did race play in the internment of the Japanese?
4- Is it possible to have freedom without security? To what extent does national security take precedence over civil liberties? Please explain your answer, why or why not?