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Barbed Wire DiplomacyBritain, Germany, and the Politics of Prisoners of War 1939-1945$
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Neville Wylie

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199547593

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547593.001.0001

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Avoiding Götterdämmerung, 1945

Avoiding Götterdämmerung, 1945

(p.237) 9 Avoiding Götterdämmerung, 1945
Barbed Wire Diplomacy

Neville Wylie (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The final chapter examines the various strategies adopted by the Allied authorities in 1945 to influence German behaviour towards Allied POWs. Face‐to‐face meetings with the Swiss authorities in November 1944 strengthened British understanding of the conditions existing inside Germany and provided an insight into the minds of their enemies. The mass evacuation of Allied POWs from camps in Poland and eastern Germany in early 1945 nevertheless confounded Allied expectations and increased the danger of their men falling victim to disease and starvation. News of Hitler's violent reaction to the bombing of Dresden in early February likewise heightened concern about the possibility of revenge attacks against Allied airmen and other prisoners. The chapter shows how, though options were necessarily limited, the Allies were able to shore up the POW regime at this critical juncture, and were ultimately successful in persuading German officials to abide by excepted standards in their treatment of Allied prisoners.

Keywords:   relief, evacuation, Allies, Switzerland, Adolf Hitler, Dresden, revenge, compliance

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