Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Quynh N. Pham


This thesis analyzes the structural paradigms in place within American society as multifaceted tools of colonialism and how they impacted the experiences of minority and colonized soldiers in the United States Army during the Second World War. The history is analyzed through the postcolonial lens, observing factors in place such as; denial of place in history, identity, and recognition of service. The research questions that this thesis addresses are as follows: What are the colonial implications in the experience of Filipino and Filipino American soldiers experience during the Second World War? Are colonial soldiers treated as more expendable than white soldiers? How does the colonial relationship between the United States and the Philippines affect how we understand the colonial soldiers’ experience? By analyzing the histories of the segregated Filipino and Filipino American units of the Second World War and supporting literature that addresses the impacts of colonialism on the colonized, I will analyze aspects of the role of the minority and colonized soldier as a tool of the colonial empire. I argue that the colonial soldier is a paradigm of the United States military and colonial footprint of the country during the Second World War, prior, and up until the present. The perspectives of Orientalism towards minorities, colonialism and how it subjects the oppressed population, and subaltern realities for the oppressed minorities are the factors that make up the experience for the minority and colonized soldier.

This thesis analyzes the colonial relations between the United States and the Philippines and the recruitment of colonized soldiers in the Second World War through the recruitment of Filipino American and Filipino soldiers for the war efforts in the global conflict through the historical documents and official United States government stances on the occupation of the Philippines and the Filipino people. Colonial constructions of the Filipino Other are also observed with many ideals and lenses from the work of Edward Said and Orientalism; specifically the relationship between policy/discourse and societal paradigms in which the Filipino culture and existence was otherized and targeted. The concept of the otherization of the Filipino American and Filipino is seen through the interviews conducted with family members detailing the hardship of their experience, the grassroot movements of the Filipino and Filipino American veterans in the plight for acquiring equal veteran status and medical benefits after having them revoked following the Rescission Act of 1946, and the removal of their contributions from the mainstream historical record of the conflict.