Prisoners of War

Following the First World War, the Geneva Convention produced the rules of modern war. Among these established rules was the duty of Prisoners of War (or POWs) to try to escape, to disrupt the enemy, and to help the cause of their nation through sabotage and espionage. During World War II, the massive number of POW's across the world did their best to do just that. They are perhaps the bravest souls who ever fought for their country, and many times, it was without fighting at all.

As the war against Germany escalated in 1943 and 1944, Allied airmen were being shot down in large numbers. The result was that the Allies had massive
numbers of service men that were being captured, and being held in German POW camps. Life was difficult in these camps. Soldiers suffered hunger, cold, and an overwhelming fear of being forgotten.

The largest number of U.S. prisoners taken at one time was in the Philippines in April of 1942. Over twenty-thousand American soldiers along with fifty-thousand Filipino soldiers were force marched through the Bataan peninsula without food or water. Conditions in Japanese prisoner of war camps were brutal. Captives were beaten, tortured and starved. As many as forty percent of the prisoners held in Japanese camps died due to conditions.