War "Studs Terkel's: The Good Essay

Pages: 7 (2608 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: High School  ·  Topic: Military

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[. . .] Many Japanese-Americans were told that they had to pack up only what they could deal with and were forced to get rid of their homes, properties, and businesses for a remarkably small amount or just give them away since they really did not have any other choice. They had only a few weeks to leave, and resolve of all other possessions. The detainees were only sanctioned to endure clothing, bedding, and toiletries -- whatever they could persuade themselves. A lot of Japanese-Americans tried to sell the rest of their belongings or leave them with safe neighbors. However, some did not have a chance to sell their belongings and had to leave them in behind.

It all started with police raids, where they were hysterically trying to find those, whom they thought were spies. More than two thousand of Japanese-Americans were arrested without any indication of treachery. According to Terkel, a lot of businesses were just taken away; the police were illegally detaining them, evicting them from their homes, and firing them from their jobs. For example, Terkel interviewed Yuriko Hohri: The war revolved into a reality when two FBI agents came to our home in Long Beach, California." Yuriko then goes on to describe the brutalized ordeal that the family went through because they were Japanese living in America. "We had to go to a horse stable. We filled a cheesecloth bag with straw- our mattress. The sides of the room did not go all the way up to the top where the ceiling was. We had no privacy."

Even, following WWII it was no easy task for Japanese-American like Yuriko Hohri to find their spot back in society. Many Americans still harbored inner sentiment of the Japanese remembering Pearl Harbor and the fear of Japanese spies. In spite of this, by the 1960's Japanese-Americans had gained a lot of Americans admiration with their economic affluence. This is when the shared stereotype of the Japanese businessman began to take hold. Japanese-Americans were seen as, "successful citizens" and could mix into society with no problem. But as time transpired the typecast took the form of the quiet, efficient, high-powered Japanese commercial business employee. On the other hand, as late as 1994 a San Francisco radio station had to get rid of a local DJ for racist anti-Asian-American comments. Such actions in areas extremely inhabited by Asian-Americans displays that there are areas that need to be gained.

However, a lot of hurt and pain still is embedded in the mind of a lot of Japanese-Americans. Terkel interviewed Japanese-American Peter OTA. Terkel father was attending a wedding when his whole life changed. She said, "When the reception was over, the FBI agents were waiting." That day was horrible for Peter mentioned: "They rounded up around twelve people that were wedding guest and then hauled them off to jail." The families like these neither did nor even see their relatives until days later. There were even times when the entire family was arrested and taken into custody.

World War II: Was it a "Good War" for America?

Why was World War II considered by so many who experienced it as a "good war"? Well, Terkel tackled that issue in his book. According to Terkel, the war effected every part of American life in a good way. It was good because economically, the nation was pulled out of the depression. After the war, the war was good because after it was over, The United States was in better shape than any nation on the planet. All other industrialized nations had been destroyed and assaulted significantly, but the U.S. was left almost untouched. As a world power, the United States because of the war, was forever changed.

It became a "good war" for America because from the end of the war until now, the U.S. was, is, and will be concerned militarily and otherwise all over the world.

Socially, it was a good war to some because World War II allowed Black servicemen and women got a glimpse of what it felt like to be treated as equal to whites while positioned in the more colorblind European nations. When these black heroes returned home to the usual poor management from American whites, a lot fought against racism and strived for a better America. Even minority women were called to work in the factories and elsewhere, only to be told to return at the end of the war. For some black and Mexican women this was great, but others opposed it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, from Terkel's interviews, it can be safe to say that black Americans may have had the most race issues in the U.S. during the good war. Blacks and latinos not only continued to tolerate all of the discrimination in employment, housing, education, and admission but in addition, they were assigned to armed forces detachments that maintained black and white servicemen separate. Therefore, even though they risked their lives and shed their blood and lost their limbs just as white soldiers did, they were not given the same preferred status in society, either in war or in the peace that followed. But for the most powerful and severe types of discrimination, I would have to say that Americans of Japanese heritage suffered more embarrassment and unfairness than did other minorities. Numerous Japanese people and families, not only legal aliens but also American citizens, were torn from their homes, deprived of their belongings, and taken to concentration camps, where many lived in poverty and filth.

Works Cited

Terkel, S. (1997). The Good War: An Oral History of World War II. Boston: New Press.

"Executive order 9066" Franklin Delano Roosevelt. February 19, 1942. accessed from http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=74#

Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice

Denied. (Washington, D.C.: The Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, 1997),

The 761st Tank Battalion was activated on April 1, 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and deployed to Europe, landing at Omaha Beach in France on October 10, 1944.

The Presidential Unit Citation, originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941

The term concentration camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions

John W. Dower War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. (New York: Pantheon

Books, 1986), 49

Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice

Denied, 4

Hitler an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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