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World War II
The "Japanese Problem" of WWII - A Struggle of Fear and Freedom

World War II
World War II

The "Japanese Problem" of WWII - A Struggle of Fear and Freedom
Print The "Japanese Problem" of WWII - A Struggle of Fear and Freedom Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.85

     challenging words:    deportees, mid-February, non-Japanese, ouster, self-respecting, smoldered, states-Washington, unprovoked, civic, brunt, rhetoric, reassigned, staid, dastardly, menial, expulsion
     content words:    On Sunday, Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans, World War II, President Roosevelt, State Department, Curtis B., United States, Munson Report, California Congressman Leland Ford

The "Japanese Problem" of WWII - A Struggle of Fear and Freedom
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     In early December, 1941, Japanese and American ambassadors faced each other over conference tables in Washington, D.C. The two countries negotiated to resolve conflicts over Japanese encroachment in the Pacific. On Sunday, December 7, word came of the devastating strike on Pearl Harbor by Japanese bombers and submarines. The attack left America stunned and grieving.
2     Throughout the entire U.S., the atmosphere was tense. It seemed clear America was dealing with a treacherous enemy, one who would strike without warning or mercy. The lesson Americans took from these events was simple-don't trust anybody, especially the Japanese. One group bore the brunt of this fear and suspicion.
3     More than 112,300 people of Japanese descent called the U.S. home. Most lived in the Pacific coast states-Washington, Oregon, and California, and of course, Hawaii. Some of the U.S. Japanese were resident aliens. They were the Issei (ee SAY), the generation that had come from Japan. These people, typically 50-65 years old, tended to live in their own sections of U.S. cities. They clung to their native language and culture, although many expressed a desire to become naturalized citizens. (U.S. immigration laws at the time prevented them from doing so.)
4     Their children, the Nisei (nee SAY), had been born in the U.S. and thus held U.S. citizenship. This second generation was more like other young Americans. They rejected staid traditional ways and adopted popular mainstream ideas. These young adults embraced their U.S. citizenship. Japan was nearly as foreign to them as it was to the rest of America.

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