Document Type

Research Paper


In wartime, demographic groups with a greater resemblance or relation to the populations of adversarial powers often bear the brunt of social pressure on the homefront. To a degree, even the oft-hated proponents of peace -- who sometimes do coincide and overlap with the aforementioned sort of demographics -- seem to receive comparably less vitriol from the rest of the public. Indeed, wartime powers frequently persecute portions of their population for the sake of uncovering a “fifth column” -- an idea made popular by a fascist general in the Spanish Civil War who claimed that the march of his four columns on the capital had been aided by another column formed by citizens within the city.During the Second World War, the United States government, believing that its western coast was at risk to similar sabotage, interned its own citizens of Japanese descent, many of whose families had existed peacefully in the country for decades by that point. Such perceptions of a demographic’s subversive potential are often fabricated entirely, as they were during World War I when various powers incorrectly viewed their Jewish citizens as being agents of their opponent nations. Similarly, the Ottoman Empire predicated its atrocities against Armenians on such paranoia, ultimately resulting in genocide. All of these instances fly in the face of the fact that any given demographic -- whether it be ethnic, racial, or cultural in nature -- holds in itself a great many attitudes, motivations, and objectives. In essence, no demographic is monolithic in the sense that it may be prone to a single approach in its wartime attitudes and activities.

Publication Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Marcus Smith