American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II

American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II

Hardback H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series

By (author) Eric L. Muller

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  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Format: Hardback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 173mm x 236mm x 23mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 15 November 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Chapel Hill
  • ISBN 10: 0807831735
  • ISBN 13: 9780807831731
  • Illustrations note: 11 illustrations, notes, bibliography, index

Product description

When the U.S. government forced 70,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry into internment camps in 1942, it created administrative tribunals to pass judgment on who was loyal and who was disloyal. In "American Inquisition", Eric Muller relates the untold story of exactly how military and civilian bureaucrats judged these tens of thousands of American citizens during wartime. Some citizens were deemed loyal and were freed, but one in four was declared disloyal to America and condemned to repressive segregation in the camps or barred from war-related jobs. Using cultural and religious affiliations as indicators of Americans' loyalties, the far-reaching bureaucratic decisions often reflected the agendas of the agencies that performed them rather than the actual allegiances or threats posed by the citizens being judged, Muller explains. "American Inquisition" is the only study of the Japanese American internment to examine the complex inner workings of the most draconian system of loyalty screening that the American government has ever deployed against its own citizens. At a time when our nation again finds itself beset by worries about an "enemy within" considered identifiable by race or religion, this volume offers crucial lessons from a recent and disastrous history.

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Author information

ERIC L. MULLER is George R. Ward Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author of Free to Die for Their Country: The Story of Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II.

Review quote

"Muller is one of the few scholars who has continued to dig in the archives and papers to find valuable information--stuff that has relevance for the Japanese American community and for American life today. . . . All this is laid out in fascinating detail and makes for absorbing reading."--"Nichi Bei Times"