The Barbed-Wire College: Reeducating German POWs in the United States during World War II

By Ron Robin | Go to book overview

Note on the Sources

The following description of primary sources covers the framework of this study. For additional sources please consult the notes.


Documentary Collections

This study of the German POW experience in the United States relies heavily on the files of U.S. Army Provost Marshal General, Record Group 389, at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. These files contain a full record of routine business and curriculum development of the Special Projects Division (SPD) charged with the reeducation of German POWs within the continental United States. Given the fact that most of the SPD's faculty were not proficient in German, this collection includes English language translations of most German material used in the reeducation program.

The files of Edward Davison, at Yale University's Beinecke Library are of special importance for understanding the internal politics among the SPD staff, as well as the significance of the “Red Scare” that rocked the program in 1945. Davison's papers include numerous unpublished poems, some of them quite revealing of his personal politics.

The Walter Schoenstedt papers, at the special collections library, University of California, Davis, provide a comprehensive documentary record of the ideological inclinations of this important team member of the SPD. Among his many duties, Schoenstedt was responsible for the content of the POW newspaper, Der Ruf, as well as the selection of POW collaborators for the Idea Factory.

Stephen Farrand was a legal advisor in the office of the Provost Marshal General. His files at the Hoover Institute, Stanford University, include the exchange of letters between the War and State Departments regarding the establishment of the SPD, personnel evaluations of the SPD staff written by State Department officials, censors' reports based on the mail received and sent by POWs, as well as a large collection of local camp newspapers.

The Office of the Historian of the Army provided me with a full record of the SPD monographs which were written by the American faculty toward the final stages of the program. These historical accounts include staff evaluations of the various schools projects. All monographs are accompanied by appendixes containing important original documents used at various stages of the program.

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