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Prisoner of War Camps in United States during World War 2 - Essay Example

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Summary
There was much that the American and the German POW shared in common during the World War II. Both of them had to suffer boredom, they weren't any longer allowed to live their own lives and choose a destiny for themselves on their own. During the free time they could not do anything of their own interest…
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Prisoner of War Camps in United States during World War 2
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Prisoner of War Camps in United States during World War 2

Download file to see previous pages... Describing the typical disorientation and vulnerability of these German prisoners, historian Ron Robin writes, "Captivity destroyed all remnants of their predictable routine and hurled the surrendering troops into a maelstrom of disorder, uncertainty, and disgrace. . . . At every stage of the arduous journey from the temporary stockades in Europe and Africa to POW camps in the United States, the prisoners were systematically deprived of all remaining symbols of their past, pride, and identity." (Ron Robin, 1995)
American and German prisoners experienced vastly different traveling conditions en route to their permanent camps. American captives were either marched on foot or jammed into "40-and-8" railroad box cars. Prisoners were sometimes locked in these cars for days, without food, water, or any kind of sanitary facilities. The result, according to ex-POW Kenneth Simmons, was "a trip that would turn men into swine." (Simmons, 1960).
Compounding the danger was the "friendly" fire of Allied planes that had no way of knowing who was trapped inside their targets. It is no exaggeration to compare this harrowing experience to the notorious "Middle Passage" endured by captive Africans on their way to slavery in the New World. German prisoners initially suffered similar dangers, but once safely on board ship creature comforts greatly improved, although they did face the possibility of being sunk by their own U-boats. Once they had landed safely in the United States, German prisoners were amazed to discover the comfort of a Pullman car.
The POW camps in U.S. were all over the country, while largely in Michigan, due to the warm, mild climate. Starting with Michigan, POWs were generally at Fort Custer. They had all these POWs and there must have been 400-500 camped in there. Although in the camps, the POWs' work was to make Gerber baby food. They sowed all the vegetables and after that grounded them into Gerber baby food. They were good workers. Two of such camps were Camp Owosso and Fort Custer in Michigan:
Camp Owosso in Michigan:
The U.S. Government, during WWII setup a Prisoner of War Camp at the corner of M-21 and Carland Rd. The area was used as a dirt race track, but since it was not used during the war, it served as Camp Owosso. The prisoners were captured on the battlefields of Europe and Africa and after being brought to Owosso, were allowed to work on area farms, the Roach Canning Factory at Owosso or the Aunt Janes Pickle Factory on Easton Rd. near New Lothrup. Under the Emergency Farm Administration Labor Program, most prisoners chose to work and get paid, over staying confined in camp. The prisoners preferred working at the farms, as they given extra food and there had to be one guard for every 3 prisoners. They earned about 80 cents a day. The first prisoners were typical Nazis, but the later ones of 1945 had a different attitude. They preferred farm work if they had a chance. At the Canning Factory, corn, peas and tomatoes were canned there and the prisoners were transferred by truck to and from the plant each day. As they rode through town, they would sing and holler and wave to anyone they saw. They apparently enjoyed being prisoners, far from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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