Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Honors Project

School

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Nurith Zmora

Abstract

This research covers the treatment and internment of Italian American residents during the Second World War to lay bare infringements of civil rights by the United States Government. During this time, Italian American residents were subject to persecution in the form of job discrimination, censorship, detainment, and internment. The scholarly work surrounding the topic thus far primarily discussed the causes and details of Japanese internment, only referencing the treatment of Italian or German Americans. The research on the treatment of Italian American residents during the war centers around the idea of the secret history and try to understand what legislation the U.S. passed to control these individuals. While most historians focused on the question of why the history is unknown, my research centers on the community and their reactions to World War Two.

To accomplish this, I studied laws passed by the U.S. Government designed to control and distinguish the Italian, Japanese, and German resident and non-resident communities. I also studied the investigation conducted by the Department of Justice that included court hearings; these detailed who was interned and where, and what these individuals were interned for. Finally, from looking at cultural artifacts and newspapers written by Italian American residents I conclude how different demographics responded to the circumstances they faced.

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