Service and Citizenship: Examining the Historical Relationship between Immigration and Military Service in the United States
Date of Award
Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)
Dr. Jennifer Dickey
Dr. Tom Okie
Dr. Catherine Lewis
The purpose of this project is to examine the many different groups of people who used military service in order to gain the political and civil rights of citizenship. I begin with a history of immigration and military service, throughout American history. I particularly concentrate on World War II, a pivotal moment for immigration and the military. I will then cover the historiography that informed my research. I include some research on immigrants who used military service to become naturalized citizens, such as those from Ireland, Germany, and the Philippines. I also include those who were born on American soil, such as African Americans and Native Americans, who hoped to gain civil rights through military service. Immigration legislation affects all those who immigrate to the United States. Therefore, I include these laws and how they affected those who wished to become citizens and how xenophobic attitudes influenced these regulations. I then explain the research process that went into my capstone project, which was the creation of teachers’ guides for the Kennesaw State University’s Museum of History and Holocaust Education. I focus on two groups in particular, The Ritchie Boys and Nisei in the Military Intelligence Service. The first are a group of European Jews who joined the military in World War II to become linguists for the Military Intelligence Service in the European Theater. The second group is a group of Japanese Americans who served in the Pacific Theater for the Military Intelligence Service as linguists. Finally, I discuss the importance of the study of military service in obtaining American citizenship and what it means today.
Service and Citizenship Teachers' Guides and Bibliography