Chinatown and World War II: A Historical Turning Point

Japanese atrocities against China in the 1930s and the entry of the U.S. into World War II radically altered America's image of China and resulted in a change of federal policies towards Chinese immigrants and an opening up of job opportunities.

Philadelphia's Chinese sensed the impending changes when they heard the news of the Japanese bombardment of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Although they grieved for the loss of American soldiers and the devastation of war back in their native land, many people toasted to the occasion, knowing their fate was linked with American involvement in the Second World War.

The much-hated discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882 was removed in 1943. Although Chinese immigration was still limited by a national quota system at 105 annually, the door was opened for the Chinese to come to the United States. The bachelor society gave way to an increasingly family-oriented community as enlisted Chinese servicemen brought "war brides" to America.

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