Japanese-American Wwii

Topics: Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Japanese American Pages: 10 (3613 words) Published: January 16, 2013
During WWII, Japanese-Americans were discriminated against solely because of their Japanese ancestry. Although mistreated, despised, and even imprisoned, the Japanese-Americans overcame tremendous hardships and approximately 33,000 Japanese-Americans, both men and women, served valiantly in our Armed Forces, and nearly 800 of those having made the ultimate sacrifice. While there are numerous anecdotes, I will focus this paper on those Japanese-Americans who were part of the University of Hawaii (UH) Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Program, those who formed the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV), and those who formed Hawaii's very own 100th Infantry Battalion and the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT). Although it is common knowledge that Americans discriminated against Asians prior to World War II, the spark of anti-Japanese sediment and hatred can be, without questioned, tied to the actions of the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941, against Hawaii, then an American territory. A few hours before dawn, a U.S. Navy vessel spotted an unidentified submarine periscope near the entrance of Pearl Harbor. Responding immediately, the destroyer USS Ward (DD-139) and a patrol plane sank the submarine, but communicated its destruction as a matter of routine, therefore, superiors were not notified. Around dawn (approximately 6 a.m.), six Japanese carriers launched a wave of 181 planes that comprised of torpedo bombers, dive-bombers, horizontal bombers, and fighters. Nearly an hour later, an alert operator at the Army radar station at Opana spotted the first wave of the Japanese plans, but the operator's superiors discounted the alert because they believed he had mistaken the wave of planes for an approaching group of American B-17 bombers that were due to arrive that morning. Therefore, when the Japanese simultaneously attacked the military airfields and the fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor shortly before 8 a.m., it was a complete and utter surprise. The Japanese successfully damaged 188 and destroyed another 169 aircraft throughout all the military installations: the Naval air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine Corps airfield in Ewa, and the Army Air Corps airfields at Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows. Meticulously planned, the Japanese targeted all military installations in order to gain air superiority so that they could destroy the American planes to prevent them from intercepting the attack on their true targets: the 8 battleships and the 3 aircraft carriers. The Japanese attack was easily executed because 7 of the battleships were anchored in a single file at "Battleship Row" along side of Ford Island during the attack. By the end of the attacks (approximately 10 a.m.), of the nearly 100 ships that were anchored at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, 21 ships were sunk to include the USS Arizona (BB-39) which lost 1,177 crewmen. To this day, those lives lost on the USS Arizona is the greatest amount of lives lost on any ship. It also claimed almost half of the 2,403 American lives lost that day not including the 1,178 military and civilian who were also wounded. While the Japanese attack was quite successful, they did not accomplish their mission entirely as they had not destroyed the American aircraft carriers. Luckily for the United States, the aircraft carriers were not at port, but rather conducting maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean. This along with failing to damage the Pearl Harbor Naval Base's shore side facilities proved to be a critical error for the Japanese. With these facilities intact, the Americans were able to quickly repair all but 3 of the ships that were damaged during the attack. Six months after the attack at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Pacific Fleet inflicted serious damage to the Japanese navy during the Battle of Midway in 1942 sinking four of the Japanese aircraft carriers. Following this victory, the United States then adopted the island-hopping campaign which...
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