Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level





Michael Pierce

Committee Member

Laurence Hare

Second Committee Member

Patrick Williams


Arkansas, Concentration Camp, German Prisoners of War, Internment, Japanese American, World War II


During WWII the US government housed German POWs at a camp in Denson, Arkansas that it had previously used to incarcerate Japanese Americans. This thesis compares how US authorities treated the camp’s two different inmate populations—one composed of enemy soldiers and the other US residents, about 70 percent of whom were citizens—to analyze larger questions surrounding how the US government interpreted race, citizenship, gender, and nationhood during the war. Federal authorities regulated and surveilled Japanese Americans at Jerome concentration camp with more vigor and energy than they did German prisoners of war at Dermott POW camp. Moreover, US officials provided German POWs at Dermott with more funding, support, and autonomy than they did the inmates at Jerome. This disparity in treatment within the camps reflects the US government’s larger conceptualization of their wartime enemies—the war with Japan was against a race of people, as depicted in US WWII propaganda, whereas the war with Germany was one against a political ideology, Nazism.