First Advisor

Katrine Barber

Term of Graduation

Winter 2008

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Tule Lake Relocation Center -- Japanese Americans -- Agriculture, World War (1939-1945) -- Concentration camps -- California -- Tule Lake, Japanese Americans -- Forced removal and internment (1939-1945), Japanese Americans -- Civil rights, Cultural pluralism



Physical Description

1 online resource (152 pages)


In the Spring and Summer of 1942, the population of West Coast Japanese were rounded up and forcibly moved from their homes to temporary camps and soon after to ten permanent relocation camps in the interior Western United States. This thesis traces the history of one such camp, the Tule Lake Relocation Center. In this thesis I argue that from its inception the Tule Lake Center was unique among the ten camps. The decision to build a permanent center at Tule Lake was based upon the unique potential the area provided for agriculture on a huge scale. The other permanent centers were located in remote inhospitable areas where large scale agricultural operations were impossible.

The introduction outlines my key research questions and the methodology used. This section identifies my central theme, agriculture at the Tule Lake Relocation Center, and situates my own research within the existing scholarship on the Japanese-American Relocation. Chapter one is a review of the factors, including racial animosity, and wartime hysteria leading up to the decision to relocate every Japanese individual living on the West Coast. Chapter two discusses the little known history of how and why Tule Lake was chosen for a permanent relocation center. Chapter three documents the commitment of the War Relocation Authority to a massive agricultural project at the Tule Lake Center.

Chapter four recounts the tumultuous registration period at Tule Lake. In the winter of 1943, the War Relocation Authority and the War Department combined to administer a loyalty questionnaire to every internee over the age of 17, revealing shocking disloyalty at Tule Lake. Chapter five discusses the decision of the War Relocation Authority to segregate Japanese Americans declared disloyal, and the choice of Tule Lake as the segregation center. Chapter six discusses the events, in particular the tragic accidental death of a farm worker, which led to the end of large scale agriculture at Tule Lake.

In conclusion, I assert that War Relocation Authority blunders, including a lack of cultural sensitivity, led directly to the cessation of the agricultural project at Tule Lake Segregation Center.


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