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DISCRIMINATION DURING THE WAR

Many blacks also took important factory jobs and eagerly signed up for military service- However, discrimination against blacks continued during the war. Black military units were strictly segregated and were oftentimes used for menial chores instead of combat. Some American blacks at home began the Double V campaign: This pushed for the defeat of Germany and Japan but also the defeat of racial prejudice. CORE (the Congress for Racial Equality) was founded in 1942, and organized the very first sit-ins and boycotts; these actions would become standard tactics of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Many on the West Coast feared that the Japanese that lived there were sympathizers or even spies for the Japanese cause (even though many had been born and brought up in the United States). On February 19, 1942, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese-Americans to internment camps. American public officials told the Japanese that this was being done for their own protection; however, many Japanese noted when they got to their camps that the guns guarding these relocation centers were pointed inward and never outward. Many businesses and homes were lost by Japanese citizens.

Influential Japanese-Americans were outraged by these actions, and a legal challenge was mounted against the internment camps. In a 1944 decision, Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the internment camps were legal, since they were based “on military necessity.” In 1988 the United States government formally apologized to those who had been placed in camps and gave each survivor $20,000. It should be noted that American units of soldiers of Japanese descent were created during the war, and that they fought with great bravery in the campaign against Hitler.

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