POW Conditions

Discuss the April Book of the Month Shot Down by Steve Snyder.
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Re: POW Conditions

Post by Sarah_Khan » 21 Jun 2016, 12:25

I don't think we can ever fully understand what made human beings treat other human beings so horribly during the war. I think it was possibly the environment, the fear, the anger, the lack of food, the want to just be home with their families and also the fact that treating POWs badly was the norm back then.

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Post by rssllue » 06 Jul 2016, 00:58

That is a very interesting view on the treatment of enemies in captivity. Just treating them bad may be an extension of the animosity that was felt between combatants. As they transitioned from direct conflict where they were actively trying to kill each other, to policing them in captivity, it was probably very difficult to just "switch off" that anger/hatred no matter how much their conscience urged them to do so.
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Post by Sasha For » 06 Jul 2016, 23:44

POW's are highly mistreated. They are considered unfavorable for whatever reason, in history it has been reasons such as religious beliefs or skin colour and therefore are not acceptable reasons for imprisonment. The conditions found in both Gulags (a version of concentration camp) as well as Concentration Camps (used not only by Germany but could also be found in places such as Canada and the United States) are appalling.

The stories that have come out of times such as during World War II have been rather enlightening. While it can be hard for a civilian to understand exactly how people are mistreated at any given time, it has been brought to the view of the public through enlightening tales. While it is unclear as to whether these biographical books will be of any help to the imprisoned, they make it hard for the entire population to turn a blind eye.

It is important to note that while there are non-fiction books written, there are also fictional books that detail the struggles of people who live in POW camps and the lives that they live if they are ever freed from those camps.


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Post by AuthoressofMystery » 30 Aug 2016, 18:13

PashaRu wrote:Nationalism, patriotism, and pride of country - "My country is the best one" - are often the enemies of compassion and understanding. It's a very narrow-minded point of view, and when the propaganda machines churn out hate, prejudice, and lies, especially during wartime, this makes those on opposite sides look at one another one-dimensionally - simply as "the enemy" - and then it becomes easy to treat such ones as less than human. In the years leading up to WWII, Hitler methodically carried out propaganda campaigns to sub-humanize the Jews, and by the time the Final Solution was instituted, there were many who had already been so thoroughly brainwashed, participating in the genocide didn't present much of an ethical or moral dilemma for them.

Those who abuse prisoners in a POW camp are conditioned to look at those prisoners as inferior beings. Once that has been accomplished, the rest is easy.
While I agree with PashaRu, I will contend that such propaganda campaigns are still being used today to justify war and it's treatment on POW's. I will also add Religion to Nationalism, Patriotism and Pride of Country.
My Grandfather was WWII POW and I would sit for hours listening to him recount his war experiences, begging for more. In many ways, I felt like I was living it through him. I grew up with view points people may consider obsolete.
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Post by Camogirl217 » 17 Nov 2016, 15:06

I think taking prisoners stems from the belief that the captors are somehow superior to the prisoner and that superiority is what makes the harsh neglect "acceptable". After all, the prisoners are less than human. They don't deserve respect. For soldiers to treat the prisoners so terribly, I think it's caused by their personal lack of control. They were forced into war and they need to vent their frustrations. Beating the prisoners, for example, would help them vent and they probably wouldn't get in any trouble for it. That's why we hear of so many elderly veterans who try so hard to contact their victims later in life in order to apologize. They're in a mentally better place now and are able to realize just how horrible they were. Stress, hatred, pain...all in one nasty cocktail.
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Post by Jessica Samuelsen » 14 Mar 2017, 00:54

I think the captors are preconditioned to view the captive as less than human. They are viewed as the enemy and therefore are treated beyond harshly. I saw in another comment that it has to do with hate. I believe that but I also believe that hate is cultivated by leadership and or culture.
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Post by Laura Del » 01 Jun 2018, 14:44

I think it's because these men are considered the "enemy" and that's why POW's are treated so badly. The people they're fighting against really believe that what the are doing is for their country. Honestly, I find it sick and twisted the stuff that they put the men through. It's just so saddening.
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