Go For Broke

National Education Center

Historical Timeline: 1947-Present

President Harry Truman. Courtesy of Edmonston Studio/Library of Congress.

December: President Harry Truman pardons all draft resisters from World War II, including 267 Japanese Americans, many from the Heart Mountain incarceration center in Wyoming.

Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

January: US Supreme Court overturns the Fred Oyama v. California case ruling, essentially deeming unconstitutional a key provision of the Alien Land Law that denied Issei from gifting land to their US citizen children.

July: President Truman signs the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act, which compensates Japanese Americans for ten cents on the dollar for economic losses from the loss of property due to their forced removal.

The President also signs Executive Order 9981, establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Forces.

1950 June: North Korea invades the Republic of Korea in the south, beginning the Korean War. Many Nisei who had served in World War II volunteer to fight in the war effort. Others still serving in occupied Japan for the Military Intelligence Service also enter the war in Korea. The Nisei serve for the first time in a fully integrated armed forces. July: For the first time since the end of World War II, American troops engage in ground combat at Osan near Seoul, Korea.
Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
1951 November: During the Korean War, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) and 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran Colonel Young Oak Kim becomes the first Asian American and ethnic minority to command a US Army combat battalion in war.
Colonel Young Oak Kim

April: In Sei Fuji v. California, the California Supreme Court declares the Alien Land Law unconstitutional.

June: Congress passes the Walter-McCarran Immigration and Nationality Act, overturning President Truman’s veto. Despite restrictive immigrant quotas, the Act enables Asian immigrants to become naturalized citizens. 

1953 July: The Korean War ends with an armistice between North and South Korea that establishes the boundary between nations as a demilitarized zone, or DMZ.

August: Hawaii becomes the fiftieth state. Hawaii’s Nisei veterans play a crucial role.

Daniel K. Inouye, 442nd RCT veteran, becomes the first Japanese American elected to the House of Representatives

Daniel K. Inouye. Courtesy of the United States Government.

November: Daniel K. Inouye becomes the first Japanese American US senator, representing Hawaii. An original member of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) and 442nd RCT, Spark Matsunaga, becomes a US congressman from Hawai’i.

Spark Matsunaga. Courtesy of the United States Government.

January: Patsy Takemoto Mink becomes the first ethnic minority woman and the first Asian American woman elected to the US House of Representatives.

March: The first American combat troops arrive in Vietnam to defend the US airfield at Danang. Both Nisei and Sansei serve at the advisory and combat levels during the conflict that began in the 1950s.

Courtesy of the United States Army

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Public Law 89-236, which amends the Immigration and Nationality Act, abolishing “national origins” as the basis for immigration quotas. Asian countries are thereby treated equally as European countries in immigration matters for the first time in US history.

President Lyndon B. Johnson. Courtesy of Arnold Newman, White House Press Office.
1972 March: President Richard Nixon signs Executive Order 11652, declassifying all World War II military intelligence documents. The role of the Military Intelligence Service is finally brought to light as its stories and experiences are made public.
1973 January: President Nixon orders a cease-fire to the bombing in Vietnam, signaling the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War. The last American troops leave Vietnam in March.

February: President Gerald Ford signs Proclamation 4417, “An American Promise,” rescinding Executive Order 9066.

President Gerald Ford. Courtesy of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

July: President Jimmy Carter signs a bill to create the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) which is tasked to study the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and to recommend an appropriate remedy.

President Jimmy Carter. Courtesy of the United States Government.

June: In their 467-page report, “Personal Justice Denied,” CWRIC concludes that the incarceration of Japanese Americans was unjustified and based on “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” It calls for Congress to issue an apology and offer $20,000 compensation to each of the estimated 60,000 survivors.

Federal court in San Francisco nullifies Fred Korematsu’ original conviction, ruling that the government unjustly issued orders for mass removal and incarceration.

L to R: Fred Korematsu, Minoru Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi. Courtesy of the National Park Service.

California State Legislature proclaims February 19, 1984, the first “Day of Remembrance” commemorating the incarceration of Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese descent.

October: Federal District Court in Portland, Oregon, vacates Minoru Yasui’s 1942 conviction for violating curfew during World War II.

February: Federal District Court in Seattle, Washington, nullifies Gordon Hirabayashi’s 1942 conviction for violating wartime incarceration orders.

August: President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, requiring the payment of $20,000 and the issuance of an apology to the estimated 60,000 survivors of incarceration. It also establishes the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and the Office of Redress Administration (ORA).

October: President George Bush presents the first letters of apology and $20,000 redress payments to the oldest survivors of the World War II incarceration, now numbering 80,000.

President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Courtesy of the United States Government.
1996 A law calling for a review of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross is passed.
President Jimmy Carter. Courtesy of the United States Government.

February: The Office of Redress Administration (ORA) officially closes, having distributed redress payments to more than 82,000 incarceration survivors and their heirs.

June: The Go For Broke Monument honoring Nisei soldiers of World War II and others serving in the military is officially dedicated in Los Angeles, California.

Go For Broke Monument.
2000 June: President Bill Clinton presents 20 Medals of Honor to members of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) and 442nd Regimental Combat Team: “Rarely has a nation been so well served by a people it has so ill-treated… they did more than defend America; in the face of painful prejudice, they helped to define America at its best.”
The Military Intelligence Service receives a Presidential Unit Citation for its exceptional service during World War II. It is the highest possible military award for a unit in the US Armed Forces.
Daniel K. Inouye (left) receives the Medal of Honor from President Clinton. Courtesy of the United States Government.

July: Norman Mineta, Korean War veteran and former Heart Mountain incarceree, is confirmed as the Secretary of Commerce, becoming the first Asian American appointed by the President to the Cabinet.

November: The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II is dedicated in Washington, DC.

Courtesy of Tim Evanson
2011 November: The Congressional Gold Medal, Detailed Descriptions) the highest civilian award in the United States, is awarded to the more than 19,000 members of the 100th (Separate), 442nd and MIS.
Congressional Gold Medal design. Courtesy of the United States Mint.
President Barack Obama signs the bill to grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the 100th (Separate) , 442nd RCT, and MIS, in the Oval Office, Oct. 5, 2010. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.
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