On July 15, 1946, during a review of
the 442nd, President Harry Truman
spoke of the Nisei’s loyalty to the
nation. He said, “You fought the
enemy abroad and prejudice
at home and you won.”
In 1945, residents of the West Coast camps were
allowed to return to their homes. The last camp at
Tule Lake closed on March 28, 1946.
Although the incarceration of the Japanese
Americans was never found unconstitutional,
presidents and Congress have subsequently
Like the detainees who left the camps, the Nisei
soldiers who returned to the West Coast found
housing and employment difficult to obtain
because of post-war shortages and anti-Japanese
American sentiment. With little or no government
aid, Japanese Americans began the process of
rebuilding their lives.
The Nisei’s heroism on the battlefields in Europe
and the Pacific settled the question of loyalty. But
it would be decades before the attitudes of many
toward Japanese Americans began to turn.
100th Infantry Battalion Veterans organization
In the decades following the war, hard-won reforms
began to take place:
- Discriminatory state laws – affecting interracial marriage, segregation of military units and the
ability of aliens to hold land – were repealed
- The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 passed
and provided a national apology for the
incarceration and a token payment of $20,000
to survivors of the camps.
- The Civil Liberties Public Education Fund was
established to fund research and education
programs to help ensure the injustices
Japanese Americans endured during WWII
would never be tolerated in the United States
Today, a Day of Remembrance is recognized
annually on February 19 - the anniversary of the
signing of Executive Order 9066 - by Japanese
Americans and others concerned with civil rights
across the nation.
More than sixty-six years after the end of World
War II, the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd
Regimental Combat Unit and the Nisei of the
Military Intelligence Service were finally recognized
for their contributions with a Congressional Gold
Medal that is touring the nation.