Fighting for Freedom: Nisei Soldiers and World War II

Large group of uniformed Japanese American men standing outside in formation with palm trees on either side.

442d Regimental Combat Team Enlistment at Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii. Nika Nashiro | Department of Defense

How to register:
We offer two field trip scheduling options:

Audience: All audiences. Content appropriate for Grades 6-12.

Goal: Recognize the commitment, challenges, and sacrifices of Nisei Soldiers.

Program Description:
Learn about the courageous men and women of Japanese ancestry from Hawaii and the mainland United States who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, while some of their families were placed in War Relocation Authority Confinement Sites.

Second generation Japanese Americans, known as Nisei, demanded the right to join the armed forces during World War II. On February 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the relocation of Japanese Americans living on the west coast. 122,000 men, women, and children were sent to incarceration camps throughout the United States. Further, the government classified males of Japanese ancestry as enemy aliens. This classification disqualified them from military service. The Army later loosened this restriction in June 1942. Despite the odds, thousands of Nisei Soldiers bravely served in World War II.

During this Virtual Field Trip, explore the commitment, challenges, and sacrifices of the Nisei Soldiers. Participant will also examine Executive Order 9906, its impact on Japanese Americans living on the west coast and how military service was used as a strategy to advance civil rights.

Objective: At the end of this lesson students, will be able to

  • Recognize the commitment, challenges, and sacrifices of Nisei Soldiers during World War II.
  • Define Executive Order 9906 and describe its impact on Japanese Americans during World War II.
  • Understand how military services has been used as a strategy to advance civil rights.

Guiding Questions:
What can the experiences of Nisei Soldiers during World War II tell us about freedom and democracy?

Curriculum Connections

Common Core Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools

  • United States History to 1865
    • USI.7 The student will apply social science skills to understand major causes and effects of American involvement in World War II by
      • Explaining the causes and events that led to American involvement in the war, including the attack on Pearl Harbor.
      • Explaining and evaluating the impact of the war on the home front.
  • Virginia Studies
      • VUS.11 The student will apply social science skills to understand World War II by
        • Analyzing the causes and events that led to American involvement in the war, including the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the American response;
        • Evaluating and explaining how the United States mobilized its economic and military resources, including the role of all-minority military units (the Tuskegee Airmen and Nisei regiments) and the contributions of media, minorities, and women in the war effort.

Group Field Trip Request Form

Your message has been submitted.

Please enter a valid email address.
Submit