Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3044-162X

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

4-8-2020

Degree Program

History

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2020

Month Degree Awarded

May

Abstract

From 1945 to 1979, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was responsible for identifying and prosecuting Nazi collaborators and potential war criminals in the United States. It failed in this task for a number of reasons. The first of these was that the agency was severely disorganized and mismanaged. Reliance on interagency cooperation, lack of manpower and resources, and lack of institutional support for “Nazi hunters” posed further problems. Morale crises among employees and the legal difficulties of actually prosecuting Nazi collaborators also hampered the agency’s effectiveness. Most importantly, the agency was overwhelmingly focused on policing the southern border and preventing the entry of unauthorized Mexican migrants. This policy focus prevented resources from being devoted to other initiatives, including investigating the presence of Nazi collaborators in the United States.

In this paper I analyze the existing historiography on this topic and discuss its shortcomings. These include a focus on the small number of cases prosecuted by the INS, from which historians have tended to make inapplicable generalizations, and a focus on the Cold War and anticommunism as explanations for the INS’s failure. I have also surveyed historical works on denazification in Germany, which I argue provide a better template for historians working on the collaborator presence in the United States.

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Fronc

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew Donson

Third Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Hamlin

Share

COinS