Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Peace: Captivity, Homecoming, and Memory in World War II

Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Peace: Captivity, Homecoming, and Memory in World War II

Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Peace: Captivity, Homecoming, and Memory in World War II

Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Peace: Captivity, Homecoming, and Memory in World War II

Synopsis

Until recently, the popular image of World War II prisoners of war has been framed by tales of heroic escape or immense suffering at the hands of malevolent captors. For the vast majority, however, the reality was very different. This collection brings together new scholarship, largely based on sources from previously unavailable Eastern European or Japanese archives. Authors highlight a number of important comparatives. Whereas for the British and Americans held by the Germans and Japanese, the end of the war meant a swift repatriation and demobilization, for the Germans it heralded the beginning of an imprisonment that, for some, lasted until 1956. These and many more moving stories are revealed here for the first time.

Excerpt

This book is the outcome of a conference organized by the International Committee for the History of the Second World War in Hamburg in July 2002. The Committee was created in the 1960s to promote historical research on all aspects of this period and encourages intellectual exchanges between historians across the world. One of its primary activities is the organization of a conference as part of the quinquennial International Congress of Historical Sciences, to which the Committee is officially affiliated. During the last Congress, held in Oslo in 2000, the Committee decided to intensify its activity by organizing an intermediate conference before the next Congress in Sydney in 2005 and to improve the circulation of its publications. Instead of the Bulletin or Blue Book previously published by the Committee, all its organizational information is now accessible on a website. As for the scientific content of the Committee's activities, it has been agreed that a collective volume edited by a major publisher would have a more lasting impact than previous publications, and this book is the first-fruit of this new policy.

With the Hamburg conference on the homecoming of prisoners of war after World War II, the Committee pursued three goals. The first was to counter the prevalent tendency to treat the European and Pacific theatres of war as completely separate from each other by involving historians from Australia, Japan and the United States, together with historians from most European countries, in an intensive exchange on defined areas of research relevant to all belligerent societies. The second goal was to encourage new approaches to the topic, crossing the barriers between social and military history, between political, cultural and gender history and widening the chronological horizon by investigating the longer-term consequences of war-related experiences, such as captivity. The third goal was to encourage the participation of younger researchers, as they stand to benefit most from international exchange, and to initiate a new phase of historical research based on the principles of a transnational approach. With nineteen contributors from eleven countries, the conference covered a great diversity of geographical areas, but the outcome showed a high degree of convergence between the participants on questions of methodology and interpretation and there is no doubt that the conference itself was a great success. Revised and expanded versions of fourteen papers presented to the conference form the chapters in this book. Gerhard Hirschfeld Peter Romijn and Pieter Lagrou took charge of the conceptual and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.