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World War Two - POWs

The Re-Education of German Prisoners of War (The American Magazine, 1946)

During the earliest days of 1944, the U.S. Army's Special Projects Division of the Office of the Provost Marshal General was established in order to take on the enormous task of re-educating 360,000 German prisoners of war. Even before the Allies had landed in France it was clear to them that the Germans would soon be blitzkrieging back to the Fatherland and in order to make smooth the process of rebuilding that nation, a few Germans would be required who understood the virtues of democracy. In order to properly see the job through, two schools were set up at Fort Getty, Rhode Island and Fort Eustis, Virginia.


German Prisoners Resisted Soviet Coercion (Pathfinder Magazine, 1949)

The article posted above pointed out that the American-held German P.O.W.s who participated in the U.S. Army's Special Projects Division were all volunteers and willing participants in the program. These Germans had shown some enthusiasm and an interest to learn about democracy and little coaxing was needed. Contrast this with the column linked to the title above that illustrated the crude manner in which the unforgiving Soviet Army chose to propagandize the malnourished German P.O.W.s who fought at Stalingrad:

"If communism provides the Utopia that Marx, Lenin and Stalin claim, why does Russia have to rule by the bayonet?"

As many of you know, the U.S.S.R. did not release most of their German P.O.W.s until the death of Stalin in 1953.


Drawings of German POWs in America (Click Magazine, 1943)

"This account of life aboard a U.S. train carrying Nazi prisoners of war to prison camps is an authentic bit of after-the battle reporting by an army MP who was a civilian artist. That his eye missed no telling detail is evident from both his first-person story and his on-the-spot pencil sketches."

"The Nazis are extremely curious about America, they gaze out of the windows constantly...War plants along our routes are the real eye-openers to the Nazis; those factories blazing away as we travel across America day after day. At first the prisoners look with mere interest and curiosity, then they stare unbelievingly, and before we reach the camps they just sit dumbfounded at the train windows."

Click here to read about Hitler's slanderous comment regarding the glutinous Hermann Goering.


Wounded POWs Liberated in Germany (Yank Magazine, 1945)

A printable account from a YANK correspondent assigned to General Patton's Third Army as it swept through Germany and liberated the wounded Air Corps personnel who had been kept at a German military hospital during their recuperation.

Statistical data concerning the U.S. Army casualties in June and July of 1944 can be read in this article.


Prisoners of the Japanese (Yank Magazine, 1945)

An escaped Australian Private, having been rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine, recalls how life was in the hell of a Japanese jungle P.O.W. camp, where all Allied prisoners were forced to build a railroad for the Emperor:

"'I often sit and wonder what I'm doing here' reflected Pvt. James L. Boulton of Melbourne, Australia. 'By the law of averages I should have been dead two years ago, and yet here I am smoking Yank cigarettes, eating Yank food with Yank nurses taking care of me. When I was a PW in the jungles of Burma I never thought I'd survive the beatings and fevers and ulcers.'"

Click here to read articles about post-war Japan.


The Japanese Prison Camp at Cabanatuan (Yank Magazine, 1945)

Here is an interview with the American P.O.W.s who were strong enough to survive the abuses at the Japanese Prison Camp at Cabanatuan (Luzon, Philippines).These men were the survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March:

"You were on the Death March?" somebody asked him.

"Is that what they call it?...Yes, we walked to Capas, about 65 miles. Three days and three nights without food, only such water as we could sneak out of the ditches. We were loaded into steel boxcars at Campas, 100 men to a car - they jammed us in with rifle butts..."

The rescue of these men by the 6th Ranger Battalion (U.S. Army) was dramatized in a 2005 television production titled "The Great Raid".

Click here if you would like to read more about the 6th Rangers and the liberation of the Cabanatuan P.O.W. camp.


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