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Confronting Captivity
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How was it possible that almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands during World War II survived captivity in German POW camps and returned home almost as soon as the war ended? In ###Confronting Captivity#, Arieh J. Kochavi offers a behind-the-scenes look at the living conditions in Nazi camps and traces the actions the British and American governments took--and didn't take--to ensure the safety of their captured soldiers. Concern in London and Washington about the safety of these POWs was mitigated by the recognition that the Nazi leadership tended to adhere to the Geneva Convention when it came to British and U.S. prisoners. Following the invasion of Normandy, however, Allied apprehension over the safety of POWs turned into anxiety for their very lives. Yet Britain and the United States took the calculated risk of counting on a swift conclusion to the war as the Soviets approached Germany from the east. Ultimately, Kochavi argues, it was more likely that the lives of British and American POWs were spared because of their race rather than any actions their governments took on their behalf. Kochavi describes how it was possible for almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands in WWII to survive captivity in German POW camps and go back home almost as soon as the war ended. Kochavi shows that Berlin tended to adhere to the Geneva Conventions, but when Hitler shifted responsibility for the camps to the SS and the Gestapo after D-Day and Allied bombing campaigns devastated German cities, fear set in for the captives' very lives. Nonetheless, Kochavi conludes, London and Washington took a calculated risk during the final months of the war by excluding any operative steps on behalf of their POWs. Kochavi describes how it was possible for almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands in WWII to survive captivity and return home soon after the war ended. How was it possible that almost all of the nearly 300,000 British and American troops who fell into German hands during World War II survived captivity in German POW camps and returned home almost as soon as the war ended? In ###Confronting Captivity#, Arieh J. Kochavi offers a behind-the-scenes look at the living conditions in Nazi camps and traces the actions the British and American governments took--and didn't take--to ensure the safety of their captured soldiers. Concern in London and Washington about the safety of these POWs was mitigated by the recognition that the Nazi leadership tended to adhere to the Geneva Convention when it came to British and U.S. prisoners. Following the invasion of Normandy, however, Allied apprehension over the safety of POWs turned into anxiety for their very lives. Yet Britain and the United States took the calculated risk of counting on a swift conclusion to the war as the Soviets approached Germany from the east. Ultimately, Kochavi argues, it was more likely that the lives of British and American POWs were spared because of their race rather than any actions their governments took on their behalf.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. Part I. Facing the Challenge
  2. pp. 7-8
  1. 1. Whitehall and British POWs
  2. pp. 9-39
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  1. 2. Years of Long Captivity
  2. pp. 40-70
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  1. 3. Washington and American POWs
  2. pp. 71-102
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  1. Part II. Repatriation
  2. pp. 103-104
  1. 4. Exchanging Seriously Wounded and Sick POWs
  2. pp. 105-147
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  1. 5. Long-Term POWS Kept in Abeyance
  2. pp. 148-168
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  1. Part III. The Final Stage of the War
  2. pp. 169-170
  1. 6. Prisoners’ Safety and the Collapse of Germany
  2. pp. 171-202
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  1. 7. Forced Marches
  2. pp. 203-222
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  1. Part IV. Liberated by the Soviets
  2. pp. 223-224
  1. 8. An Anglo-Soviet Bargain
  2. pp. 225-254
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  1. 9. A U.S.-Soviet Package Deal
  2. pp. 255-279
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 280-286
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 287-348
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 349-364
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 365-382
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