Americans First

Chinese Americans and the Second World War

K. Scott Wong
Book Cover

PB: $25.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-840-1
Publication: Feb 08

268 pages
5.5 x 8.25

The Second World War’s role in bringing Chinese Americans into the mainstream of American society��

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


During the Second World War, Chinese Americans contributed to the war effort by joining the armed forces and working in the defense industries. In doing so, they improved their social status, often at the expense of Japanese Americans, and positioned themselves to become the “model minority” and the “good Asian in the good war.”

In Americans First, K. Scott Wong uses archival research and oral histories to provide the first detailed account of Chinese Americans in the American military. Wong traces the history of the 14th Air Service Group, a segregated outfit of Chinese Americans sent to China in support of the American Army Air Corps and the Chinese Air Force. His ethnic history of inclusion shows how this new generation of Chinese Americans was more socially accepted, moving from the margins of society into the American mainstream during a time of pervasive racism.

Table of Contents

1. Chinese America before the War
2. Chinatown Goes to War
3. The "Good Asian" in the "Good War"
4. Hawai'i's Local Warriors
5. The Fourteenth Air Service Group
6. Into the Mainstream
Appendix: Employment Tables

About the Author(s)

K. Scott Wong is James Phinney Baxter III Professor of History & Public Affairs at Williams College.


In the Series

  • Asian American History and Culture edited by Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee

    Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi, David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong and Linda Trinh Vú, series editors Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.