Britain and the United States and Their POWs in Nazi Germany
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
For the research that went into this book I visited archives and libraries on both sides of the Atlantic, among them the National Archives, College Park, Maryland; the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York; the Public Record Office, Kew, England; the British Red Cross Archive, London; and the Imperial War Museum, London. ...
Sailing back from the Russian port city of Odessa on the Black Sea after having spent nearly five years as a British prisoner of war (POW) in German captivity, David Wild relates how ‘‘[a]fter four days the Duchess, which had so far carried no more than three hundred ex-prisoners, was filled to capacity with hundreds of homeward bound troops of various units ...
Part I. Facing the Challenge
1. Whitehall and British POWs
World War II broke out on 1 September 1939 with Germany’s invasion of Poland. Turning westward after the winter, the German armies during May 1940 invaded the Low Countries, where they met little or no resistance. In effect, the thrust of the German attack was such that it forced British and French troops to beat a hasty retreat from southern Belgium and northern France. ...
2. Years of Long Captivity
On 19 August 1942, a joint British-Canadian commando launched a major raid on the French port of Dieppe. Five thousand Canadians and 1,000 British troops took part in the operation, which ended disastrously with more than 1,000 of the Allied soldiers killed and about 2,000 taken prisoner, most of them Canadians. ...
3. Washington and American POWs
Four days after Japan attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, on 7 December 1941, Germany declared war against the United States. ‘‘The long known and the long expected has thus taken place,’’ President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote in the message he sent to Congress the same day requesting it ‘‘to recognize a state of war between the United States and Germany, and between the United States and Italy.’’1 ...
Part II. Repatriation
4. Exchanging Seriously Wounded and Sick POWs
Within a few weeks of the outbreak of World War II, the German government issued a proposal to ensure the repatriation of seriously wounded and seriously sick POWS.1 Soon thereafter German Foreign Office officials informally advised the American embassy in Berlin that the German government had already appointed the people who would serve on the mixed medical commission (MMC) ...
5. Long-Term POWS Kept in Abeyance
When, in October 1942, the Red Cross asked the British whether they would want to consider a mutual repatriation of POWS in long-term captivity, several months passed before London even reacted.1 The Geneva Convention did not make such an exchange binding,2 and Whitehall was pressed to first arrive at concrete arrangements ...
Part III. The Final Stage of the War
6. Prisoners’ Safety and the Collapse of Germany
Neither in London nor in Washington, until the end of 1943, did the physical safety of British and American troops who had fallen into German hands appear prominently on the agenda of government officials. Initial apprehension in Britain that the Germans might act against British prisoners in an openly brutal fashion ...
7. Forced Marches
It was general German policy to hold POWS in camps located as far away as possible from the front on which their compatriots were fighting so as to prevent prisoners who had succeeded in escaping from rejoining their own forces. Russian and Polish POWS were largely concentrated in western Germany, while British and U.S. prisoners were retained in the east.1 ...
Part IV. Liberated by the Soviets
8. An Anglo-Soviet Bargain
Within a few days of D-Day, 6 June 1944, British and American military commanders discovered that among the German troops they were capturing there were unexpectedly large numbers of men who had originated from the Soviet Union proper but also from the Baltic republics, which Moscow had annexed in 1940, and eastern Poland. ...
9. A U.S.-Soviet Package Deal
"My darkest days in Russia," Major General John R. Deane wrote in his memoirs, "were in the winter of 1944–45, when I was trying to arrange for the best possible care and speedy repatriation of American prisoners of war liberated by the advance of the Red Army."1 Deane was head of the U.S. Military Mission in Moscow and as such in charge of the negotiations with the Russians ...
Barely one month into the war British intelligence had warned: ‘‘It appears very probable that the Germans will fight this war on no rules whatsoever, and that our conceptions of the treatment of prisoners of war will have to be entirely revised. It is even possible that certain Prisoners of War camps in Germany will be in the hands of the Gestapo, ...
Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 8 illus. 1 maps
Publication Year: 2005
OCLC Number: 65183782
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Confronting Captivity