Friday, July 22, 2016

Additions to the MP Third Edition – POWs

         One indication of the value placed on the lives of these prisoners is their use by the allies in mine clearance.  This was in violation of Article 32 of the 1929 Geneva Convention.  A Norwegian documentary claimed, “Many of the Germans were killed through their guards' habit of chasing them criss-cross over a cleared field to ensure that no mines remained.”
According to S. P. MacKenzie, "by September 1945 it was estimated by the French authorities that two thousand prisoners were being maimed and killed each month in [mine clearance] accidents" S. P. MacKenzie, P.503 The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II, The Journal of Modern History, The University of Chicago Press

According to the BBC, a fifth of all agricultural work in the UK was performed by German prisoners in 1946.
The British Ministry of Agriculture argued against repatriation of German prisoners 1947 because in they made up 25 percent of the agricultural workforce.  In spite of their objections 250,000 of the prisoners were repatriated by the end of 1947 with the last prisoners released by November 1948.
         One of the main opponents of the use of slave labor was Supreme Court Justice, Robert Jackson.  Jackson stated, “The plan is to impress great numbers of laborers into foreign service, which means herding them into concentration camps.”  He believed this, “will largely destroy the positions of the United States in this war.” 3  Jackson told President Truman in October 1945 that the Allies, "have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practicing it. We say aggressive war is a crime and one of our allies asserts sovereignty over the Baltic States based on no title except conquest.”

p. 217 Claus Nordbruch – Bleeding Germany Dry

“This extraordinary news – that starved people ridden with lice, pneumonia, TB and typhoid fever, sleeping in the mud, have a lower mortality than civilians eating every day in houses – did not strike the German observers as odd.  They blithely ignored evidence that was howling at them.”  (Crimes and Mercies p. 59)

3 M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein, Stalin’s Secret Agents p. 190.

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