David W. Bath

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




5,424 Japanese prisoners were captured by Allied forces during World War II and brought to the United States for internment. No scholarly account has been written of these men. This thesis will explain why there were so few, where they were interned, and the conditions of their internment.

The topic was researched at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D. C., through interviews with veterans who served in the Pacific Campaign or had contact with the Japanese prisoners, through newspaper and magazine articles of the time, and through secondary sources of the Pacific Campaign.

The Campaign in the Pacific became a brutal race war, with few prisoners taken. Even those taken were not guaranteed to make it back to the United States for internment. However, those who did were treated well, in light of their circumstances. This was the result of three different factors: those in charge of the Japanese confinement saw the prisoners as humans, America did not want the Japanese to retaliate against U.S. prisoners foractions taken against the Japanese prisoners, and the U.S. was trying to gain the cooperation of the prisoners, who responded better to kindness than to abuse, against which they were more prepared.