How prisoners of war were treated during the second world war

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How prisoners of war were treated during the second world war

Prisoners captured by Japanese forces during this and the First Sino-Japanese War and World War I were also treated in accordance with international standards. While Japan signed the Geneva Convention covering treatment of POWs, it did not ratify the agreement, claiming that surrender was contrary to the beliefs of Japanese soldiers.

This attitude was reinforced by the indoctrination of young people. The Australian soldier on the beach had called on him to surrender.

This document sought to establish standards of behavior for Japanese troops and improve discipline and morale within the Army, and included a prohibition against being taken prisoner.

During the war, this led to wounded personnel being either killed by medical officers or given grenades to commit suicide. Always think of [preserving] the honor of your community and be a credit to yourself and your family.

Redouble your efforts and respond to their expectations.

How prisoners of war were treated during the second world war

Never live to experience shame as a prisoner. By dying you will avoid leaving a stain on your honor. Senjinkun [13] While scholars disagree over whether the Senjinkun was legally binding on Japanese soldiers, the document reflected Japan's societal norms and had great force over both military personnel and civilians.

In the Army amended its criminal code to specify that officers who surrendered soldiers under their command faced at least six months imprisonment, regardless of the circumstances in which the surrender took place.

How prisoners of war were treated during the second world war

This change attracted little attention, however, as the Senjinkun imposed more severe consequences and had greater moral force. During the Pacific War, there were incidents where Japanese soldiers feigned surrender in order to lure Allied troops into ambushes.

In addition, wounded Japanese soldiers sometimes tried to use hand grenades to kill Allied troops attempting to assist them. Not all Japanese military personnel chose to follow the precepts set out on the Senjinkun. Those who chose to surrender did so for a range of reasons including not believing that suicide was appropriate or lacking the will to commit the act, bitterness towards officers, and Allied propaganda promising good treatment.

Many of these men were recently conscripted members of Boeitai home guard units who had not received the same indoctrination as regular Army personnel, but substantial numbers of IJA soldiers also surrendered. In these reports Americans were portrayed as "deranged, primitive, racist and inhuman".

However, a factor equally strong or even stronger to those, was the fear of torture after capture. This fear grew out of years of battle experiences in China, where the Chinese guerrillas were considered expert torturers, and this fear was projected onto the American soldiers who also were expected to torture and kill surrendered Japanese.

The Western Allies sought to treat captured Japanese in accordance with international agreements which governed the treatment of POWs. The Japanese Government responded stating that while it had not signed the convention, Japan would treat POWs in accordance with its terms; in effect though, Japan had willfully ignored the convention's requirements.

While the Western Allies notified the Japanese government of the identities of Japanese POWs in accordance with the Geneva Convention's requirements, this information was not passed onto the families of the captured men as the Japanese government wished to maintain that none of its soldiers had been taken prisoner.

During the first two years following the US entry into the war, US combatants were generally unwilling to accept the surrender of Japanese soldiers due to a combination of racist attitudes and anger at Japan's atrocities committed against US and Allied nationals and its widespread mistreatment or summary execution of Allied prisoners of war.

The Japanese soldier on the left is reading a propaganda leaflet. Despite the attitudes of combat troops and nature of the fighting, Allied militaries made systematic efforts to take Japanese prisoners throughout the war. Each US Army division was assigned a team of Japanese Americans whose duties included attempting to persuade Japanese personnel to surrender.

These programs highlighted the intelligence which could be gained from Japanese POWs, the need to honor surrender leaflets, and the benefits which could be gained by encouraging Japanese forces to not fight to the last man. The programs were partially successful, and contributed to US troops taking more prisoners.

In addition, soldiers who witnessed Japanese troops surrender were more willing to take prisoners themselves. Survivors of ships sunk by Allied submarines frequently refused to surrender, and many of the prisoners who were captured by submariners were taken by force.

US Navy submarines were occasionally ordered to obtain prisoners for intelligence purposes, and formed special teams of personnel for this purpose. The submarines which took prisoners normally did so towards the end of their patrols so that they did not have to be guarded for a long time.

Estimates of the numbers of Japanese personnel taken prisoner during the Pacific War differ. Doyle gives a figure of 38, Japanese POWs in captivity in camps run by the western Allies at the end of the war.

Gilmore has also calculated that Allied forces in the South West Pacific Area alone captured at least 19, Japanese. The conditions these POWs were held in generally did not meet the standards required by international law. The Japanese government expressed no concern for these abuses, however, as it did not want IJA soldiers to even consider surrendering.

The government was, however, concerned about reports that POWs had joined the Chinese Communists and had been trained to spread anti-Japanese propaganda.

Prisoners of War - History Learning Site

While the Bureau cataloged information provided by the Allies via the Red Cross identifying POWs, it did not pass this information on to the families of the prisoners. When individuals wrote to the Bureau to inquire if their relative had been taken prisoner, it appears that the Bureau provided a reply which neither confirmed or denied whether the man was a prisoner.

Although the Bureau's role included facilitating mail between POWs and their families, this was not carried out as the families were not notified and few POWs wrote home. The lack of communication with their families increased the POWs feelings of being cut off from Japanese society.

The leaflet's wording was changed from 'I surrender' to 'I cease resistance' at the suggestion of POWs.Members of the German military were interned as prisoners of war in the United States during World War I and World War all, , German prisoners lived in camps throughout the United States during World War II.

During the () battle of Warsaw, as reported in "Rising 44", when Polish prisoners were captured, the German General von dem Bach-Zalewsi told his men to treat them "as if they were British." In World War II, the Germans reserved their best POW treatment for captured men from America, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The image of prisoners behind barbed wire gazing at the camera taking their photograph is a striking one. Prisoners of war were central to the propaganda machine in the First World War, with belligerent states keen to circulate photographs that showed that they were treating their captives well.

Prisoners captured by Japanese forces during this and the First Sino-Japanese War and World War I were also treated in accordance with international standards. . It depends on several factors, namely which country they are from, and which they are held in, as well as at what stage of the war they were captured in.

Allied POWs were more likely to be treated well early in the war, when the Axis was more confident and had the food and resources to properly hold them.

Yes they were. I was a pre-teen in Britain in WWll and German POWs - mainly Luftwaffe aircrew who had been trying to kill us (and the succeeded with nearly 40,00 of us) and some from the Afrika Corps earlier in the war and other ground troops later during the advance after D-Day - were treated humanely under the terms of the Geneva Convention.

German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war - Wikipedia