Confronting Captivity: Britain and the United States and Their POWs in Nazi Germany

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Confronting Captivity: Britain and the United States and Their POWs in Nazi Germany

By Arieh J. Kochavi
University of North Carolina Press, 2005
392 pp. $45.00
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It is the escape attempts by prisoners of war in Germany during World War II that attract the most interest, but very few POWs succeeded; most spent many years in often malnourished incarceration until the war's conclusion. In an excellent, thoroughly researched study, enlivened by many quotations from the diaries and letters of World War II POWs, Kochavi explores the politics of the issue of POWs and the complex negotiations that surrounded the eventual safe return of so many of them. After D-day, the Allied raids on German cities, and the Soviet advance, concerns grew for their safety. Ultimately, the key question was the attitude of the Soviets, who used the Allies' concerns to strike deals on the return of their own people (many of whom suffered a grim fate) and to gain recognition of their political position in liberated Europe.