WWII German POWs in Michigan — Eric Reardon
The story of German Prisoners of War (POW) is an often-overlooked part of the history of World War II in Michigan.
German prisoners of war were kept in over thirty-two camps across both the Upper and Lower Peninsula for use as labor both in agriculture and factories. These men would see America in person instead of through German propaganda. Many POWs would form lasting friendships with American citizens that they worked beside.
With the labor program ongoing, the United States government decided that the opportunity to affect the views of the POWs was too great to simply pass over. This was done in an attempt to shift the common soldier’s ideology away from National Socialism but was limited by time and staff. This thesis will examine the camps, the reeducation program, the labor program in Michigan, and their effects on the German POWs. This paper will argue that the reeducation program had a lesser impact upon POWs than the interactions with the American civilians in the labor program.
The reeducation program was hampered by poor decisions on content and was put together too late into the war to have much of an effect. The labor program allowed POWs to interact with American civilians and exposed them to American values.
WWII GERMAN POWS IN MICHIGAN Planned Reeducation vs. Fair Treatment by Ethan Reardon
6 x 9 inches
ISBN: 978-1-950659-32-6 (Softcover) Retail price: $12.95
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Midwest
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