Skip to main content

HST 289: Concentration Camps

A resource guide for students looking into the history of concentration camps

Concentration Camps

The United States is unique in its use of concentration camps, using the term "internment camp" as a means to separate a portion of the population by race and restrict their freedom of travel within the borders of, for many, their native land. At a time when the US was at war with Italians, Germans, and the Japanese; it was only this last group that was so enjoined from its liberty. This enforced captivity meant loss of property, wages, as well as individual freedoms under the US constitution and lengthy legal battles after the war to regain what was lost. 

Much as the United States had treated Native Americans in the previous century with the reservation system. The internment camp restricted movement outside of the established camps. Later in the war, Japanese Americans were able to join the US Military and made valuable contributions in Italy and many other theaters to bring a close to a world wide war.