There weren't that many Japanese-Americans in the prewar military. Recruitment stepped up in 1940 focusing on men who could serve as interpreters or military intelligence personnel, but numbers were still low before Pearl Harbor. Hawaii's territorial government raised a few home-guard units in the panic of 1941-42 that were partially recruited from Japanese-Americans, but the federal government was mostly interested in its internment program and not in recruiting Nisei, either as volunteers or draftees. For about a year, the Nisei of the Hawaiian 100th Infantry Battalion were pretty much the only serving combat troops, and they didn't even get to see combat. Eventually, the War Department and the White House decided to allow the Japanese-Americans to participate in combat to stave off Axis propaganda about Allied racism. Recruitment was obviously difficult among the denizens of the West Coast concentration camps, but Hawaii's Nisei were not rounded up and had, after a fashion, been on the front lines. They enlisted in significantly larger numbers. About 33,000 Japanese-Americans served in the US military by the end of the war, including over a hundred WACs and about 6,000 interpreters. Their combat formations were segregated, because this was the pre-Truman US military, and they were small: one infantry battalion (the 100th) and one infantry regiment (the 442nd RCT), with one (often) attached field artillery battalion (the 522nd). Eventually, the 100th was actually folded into the 442nd. Famously, the 442nd was the most-decorated formation in the history of the US military of its size and length of service. It was a crack outfit. However, that reputation (and those awards) were earned because of their dedication to completing missions regardless of casualties. A lot of that came from the soldiers themselves, who adopted "go for broke" as their slogan to prove everything that they could do. And a lot of it came from their white general officers, not necessarily because of anti-Japanese racism but because the 442nd fought in Europe's "forgotten theaters" - Italy and southern/eastern France - where higher commanders pushed men to try to accomplish increasingly difficult objectives to make up for strained resources and a relative lack of media attention. Combining those two things - young Japanese-Americans burning to prove themselves and officers disinclined to be overly concerned about long casualty lists so long as objectives were reached - was a great way to get lots of young Nisei killed...and to turn the 442nd into one of the best in the US Army. The fact that the unit was segregated meant that, when in Europe, the troops were...less concerned about racism than they might otherwise have been. I'm hardly an expert, but for the most part, 442nd memoirs and oral histories emphasize the awkwardness of segregated society in the continental US, in California and in Mississippi where they trained before going to Europe. And after the war, Nisei veterans played an important political role in trying to end the treatment of Japanese-Americans as second-class citizens. Many of them were elected to statewide and national office, especially in Hawaii. When they were in Europe, though, the pressures of combat and their universally acknowledged status as a top-notch outfit meant that a lot of them didn't really recount much nastiness - not compared to what it was like in America. The number of deferred military decorations handed out decades later, however, indicates that they still weren't necessarily treated as equals. Did the Germans notice them? Not on a macro level. One regiment - less than ten thousand men in an apocalyptic struggle of millions - didn't make much of a splash on a European level. The German battalion- and regimental-sized formations opposite the 442nd knew them as a crack unit, which they were - but that was about it. Aw, thanks. I miss those days, too. Yeah, the 442nd's most famous exploit was the rescue of the "Lost Battalion", during the course of which they took absolutely horrifying casualties. What a lot of people remember about the 442nd's attack was actually what came afterward, when the 36th ID's CO, MG John Dahlquist, berated 442nd officers for the small number of troops in formation before he was told to his astonishment that these were all that were left unwounded. The whole story was made into films as early as the 1950s. 36 ID was a hard-luck unit for the first part of its career, but eventually, during Sixth Army Group's big offensive in the early winter of 1944, it shaped up into a formation that was on par with the rest of its stablemates. A lot of German officers liked to indulge in wishful thinking. It was, after all, the reason why they went to war. Some of them did manage to delude themselves into thinking that the Americans would join them against the Communists. I think most of them did manage to avoid that delusion. There was no serious prospect of the US fighting the USSR.