In this thread, on German treatment of Allied POW’s in WWII, mention was made of the massacres of American and Canadian prisoners by the Germans. And, although not germane to that thread, the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese on American, British, and Canadian POW’s (among others) are infamous.
I am curious to know if there are any verified accounts of Allied massacres of Axis prisoners. I feel pretty confident in stating that Allied treatment of their POW’s was generally good and in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Still, were their (m)any exceptions?
German prisoners who surrendered before VE day were shipped back to North America and had it pretty good. It was easier to ship one living body west over the Atlantic than to ship continuous food supplies east to maintain the POW’s in Europe.
Sadly, Germans who surrendered after VE day on their western front, expecting more lenient treatment than what the vengant Russians offered, faced deliberate stavation. Eisenhower’s name has been blackened by the accusation of vindictivness, but the facts show that he could either feed the civillians of Western Europe, or the army of its vanquished oppressor, but not both. The figure bandied about is approx. 60,000 starved fedlgraub (German G.I.'s)
As far as Germans killed while offering to surrender, Paul Fussell recounts a situation of this in his memoir “Doing Battle,” where a ravine of Germans were supprised and gunned down by a group of jovial Americans. I’ve never been in such a situation, so I’ll make no judgements as to where the line is drawn between slaughter and victory on easy terms.
I’m sure a lot of German and Japanese soldiers never lived long enough to make it to prison camps. Frinstance I’ve read many places that snipers were pretty routinely killed out of hand, and SS troops as well.
The closest I’ve heard to this in an American camp, was the execution of 6 U-boat sailors for killing another German who ratted them out. Hardly counts.
I wouldn’t be surprised surprized if there was some Attica-like event, a riot or a breakout that ended up with killing lots of prisoners. But I’ve never heard of it.
In the end of the opening combat sequence of Saving Private Ryan, you see a few instances of Germans being shot without being allowed to surrender. I imagine this kind of thing happened pretty often too. When is the battle over? And you can hardly take a prisoner when the next guy along the trench is still shooting.
However, once a POW made it into the camp system, I don’t think any side ROUTINELY killed prisoners. After all, putting them in the camps also put them on prisoners lists, and subject to international oversight, lame as it was. That’s not to say they were safe; the Russians and Japanese let large numbers starve to death, and executed others for one petty reason or another. The Germans treated British and American prisoners significantly better that Russian ones.
Another controversial policy in the allied treatment of Axis POW’s was the decision to ship all POW’s back to their nations of origin after the war. This seemingly benign policy was bitterly opposed by the hundreds of thousands of Russians or other Eastern Europeans who had fought on the Axis side and justifiably feared reprisals when they (and their families) were returned to Soviet controlled territory.
There was a story on TV Channel 4 called ‘Hell in the pacific’ Japanese troops and airmen were sometimes captured
from nearby battles and taken to Australian camps , they were filmed playing baseball all day and eating pretty good. They interviewed a survivor from(japanese) from this camp and asked him about the experiences which were baseball
and good food , but he also told about thier obligation to the emperor where they one night tried to escape and or commit suicide.
casdave, I would seriously question the objectivity of a site that concludes 677,000 German soldiers became Allied prisoners and died at Allied hands because 1.1 million were eventually found missing and only 423,000 died in Russian hands. That’s not logic–that’s an agenda.