Ww2, world war two, pows, race in the united states, japanese internment
When examining the Second World War, it is impossible to overlook the influence race had in both creating the conflict and determining the intensity with which it was fought. While this factor existed in the European theater, it pales in comparison to how race influenced the fighting in the Pacific. John Dower produced a comprehensive study that examined the racial aspects of the Pacific theater in his book War Without Mercy. Dower concluded that Americans viewed themselves as racially superior to the Asian "other" and this influenced the ferocity of the Pacific war. While Dower's work focused on this relationship overseas, I examine the interaction domestically. My study examines the influence of race on the treatment of Japanese Prisoners of War (POWs) held in the United States during the Second World War. Specifically, my thesis will assess the extent to which race and racism affected several aspects of the treatment of Japanese prisoners in American camps. While in theory the American policy toward POWs made no distinctions in the treatment of racially different populations, in reality discrepancies in the treatment of racially different populations of POWs (German, and Japanese) become clear in its application. My work addresses this question by investigating the differences in treatment between Japanese and European POWs held in the United States during and after the war. Utilizing personal letters from both American policymakers and camp administrators, U.S. War Department POW camp inspection reports, documents outlining American policy, as well as newspaper and magazine articles, I attempt to demonstrate how treatment substantially differed depending on the race of the prisoner. The government's treatment of the Japanese POWs should illuminate the United States Government's racial views during and after the war.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Rock, Adam, "The American Way: The Influence of Race on the Treatment of Prisoners of War During World War Two" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4740.