The U.S. 442nd Infantry Regiment: Background information when reading We Are Not Free

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We Are Not Free

by Traci Chee

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee X
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
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  • Published:
    Sep 2020, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
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About this Book

The U.S. 442nd Infantry Regiment

This article relates to We Are Not Free

442nd Regiment with German POWsIn Traci Chee's young adult historical novel We Are Not Free, which follows 14 Japanese American teens from San Francisco through World War II, two young men in Topaz detention camp, Mas and Twitchy, decide to volunteer for the army. Japanese American men were unable to serve until early 1943; the American government had considered them enemy aliens since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Director of the Office of War Information Elmer Davis urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to reverse the ban on soldiers of Japanese descent in a 1942 letter, in part for propaganda reasons, but also because he believed most Japanese Americans were loyal citizens and deserved to serve if they wished.

But once they enlisted, Japanese American soldiers were not incorporated into other units; they were segregated in the 442nd Regiment. The unit was made largely of Japanese Americans from Hawaii, supplemented by over 2,000 men from the mainland detention camps. Among the 442nd's recruits was Daniel Inouye...

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