British attitudes towards German prisoners of war and their treatment: 1939-48

MALPASS, Alan Patrick (2016). British attitudes towards German prisoners of war and their treatment: 1939-48. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam Universiy.

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This thesis examines attitudes expressed towards German prisoners of war (POWs) and their treatment in Britain between 1939 and 1948. The original contribution of this thesis is to highlight the importance of British values, particularly the notion of fair-play, in public discussions of the treatment of POWs. In so doing, this thesis brings together three historiographical areas which had usually been dealt with separately: German POWs held in Britain, British national identity, and Anglo-German relations. Chapters two and three are concerned with the wartime period (1939-45), and chapters four, five, and six are concerned with the post-war period up to 1948, when the last German POWs were repatriated. While it is structured chronologically, each chapter is thematic. Chapter two examines the period between the outbreak of war in 1939 and the end of 1942 and explores the legacy of the Great War on discussions of captivity. Following chronologically, chapter three is concerned with the period between the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 and the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945. The effect of the disclosure of atrocities committed by Nazi Germany on discussion of captivity is explored. Breaking from the chronological structure, chapter four takes up the theme of employment. Chapter five then considers the debates on the fraternisation regulations and the marriage ban between British women and German POWs. Finally, chapter six examines the campaign to repatriate German POWs. Throughout the war, the treatment of POWs was a marker of cultural difference between Britain and the German enemy. In the context of the emerging Cold War, the treatment of POWs was given new significance in that it was contrasted with the Soviet Union. Amongst others, this thesis concentrates on three principal sources: newspapers, newsreels, and Mass Observation material. Focusing on these sources, this thesis considers how the narrative of captivity was presented to the British public and the variety of responses which challenged representations of POW treatment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Stibbe, Matthew [0000-0002-7269-8183]
Additional Information: Director of Studies: Matthew Stibbe. No PQ harvesting
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 17:17
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04

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