Essay on World War II and American Racism

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World War II and American Racism The United States was a divided nation at the time of World War II. Divided by race and racism. This Division had been much greater in the past with the institution of slavery. As the years went by the those beliefs did deteriorate slowly, but they were still present during the years of World War II. This division was lived out in two forms, legislation and social behavior. The legislation came in the form of the “Jim Crow” laws. The belief that some people were naturally superior and others inferior, scientific racism, was the accepted belief of the time These cultural traits were waning. After World War II ended they would decline even more rapidly. In the early…show more content…
The government did not reveal any facts to support their accusation that Japanese- Americans would turn traitor. Some in the American public would not require any evidence either. Two days after the Attack on Pearl Harbor a director of a business school explained to an interviewer in Madison, Wisconsin his belief on why Japan attacked; “Japan has attacked us so that we cannot hinder her conquests...For I well remember when the California Japanese were joyously looking forward to the day Japan would conquer California....”[1] He fails to ever state why he has this belief or if he ever lived in California to witness this treachery first hand. The gentleman from Madison does leave out one element of racism that many of the others interviews have, epithets. The word “Jap” occurs nearly every time when referring to the Japanese. The interviewers themselves often use it. In questions like; “Do you hate Japs Individually?” or, “If you saw a Jap would you hate him?”[2] A secretary from Wisconsin used the words “Jappy” and “Chink” when explaining the Japanese/Chinese conflict.[3] Racism was alive and well among the average American in 1941. However racist the country was as a whole, not all Americans concurred with their government about the Japanese. Some thought that the military ambition of Japan was a
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