A Comparative Study of Second World War Internment Experiences in Great Britain and the United States of America

Rachel Pistol

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis is the first comparative history of internment between the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and compares a nation with both a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to one with neither. Government files, personal correspondence, memoirs, and oral testimony have been used to describe the years preceding internment, the camps themselves, the aftermath, and how internment has been remembered. New sources such as previously unseen letters, interviews, memoirs, monuments, and commemorative ceremonies have been used to describe the experiences of the internees and how this blot on the Allied war record has been remembered. Memoirs, letters, and oral testimony help to put a human face on the suffering incurred during the turbulent early years of the war, and serve as a reminder of what can happen to vulnerable groups during times of conflict. This thesis also considers how these ‘tragedies of democracy’ have been remembered over time, and how the need for the memorialisation of former sites of internment is essential if society is not to repeat the same injustices.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Cesarani, David, Supervisor
Award date6 Mar 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


  • Internment
  • Second World War
  • Japanese Americans
  • Refugees in Britain
  • Immigration

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