'America beats by far anything,' said the ex-POW | History | Smithsonian

'America beats by far anything,' said the ex-POW

In WWII, thousands of captive Germans found our prison camps so hospitable that they later became U.S. citizens

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From the start, our POW policy was driven by an intent to ensure the safety of Americans in Nazi hands. So scrupulously did we hew to the 97 Geneva Conventions that many Americans thought the prisoners were being coddled. It didn't take long, however, for word about the good conditions in all 644 U.S. POW camps to reach the European front. As former POWs at a reunion in Arizona relate in this story, prisoners had room and board better than that provided by the German army, and eventually were allowed to work on farms and in factories. Add to that educational and recreational programs that served as subliminal instruments of de-Nazification, and the country ended up with many POWs who, after the war, chose to return to the land of their captors.

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