German prisoners of war in the United States

Members of the German military were interned as prisoners of war in the United States during World War I and World War II. In all, 425,000 German prisoners lived in 700 camps throughout the United States during World War II.

Major POW camps across the United States as of June, 1944
Major POW camps across the United States as of June, 1944.
View of the Main Entrance at Camp Swift Texas, August 6, 1944
Camp Swift entrance during World War II

World War I

Hostilities ended six months after the United States saw its first action in World War I, and only a relatively small number of German prisoners of war reached the U.S.[1] Many prisoners were German sailors caught in port by U.S. forces far away from the European battlefield.[2] The United States Department of War designated three locations as POW camps during the war: Forts McPherson and Oglethorpe in Georgia and Fort Douglas in Utah.[3] The exact population of German POWs in World War I is difficult to ascertain because they were housed in the same facilities used to detain civilians of German heritage residing in the United States, but there were known to be 406 German POWs at Fort Douglas and 1,373 at Fort McPherson.[4][5] The prisoners built furniture and worked on local roads. The few dozen who died while incarcerated as POWs were buried at Ft. Douglas, Utah, the Chattanooga National Cemetery, and Fort Lyon, Colorado.[6][7][8][9]

World War II

Background

After the United States entered World War II in 1941, the government of the United Kingdom requested American help with housing prisoners of war due to a housing shortage in Britain.[10] The United States agreed to house them,[11]:5 although it was not prepared. Its military had only brief experience with a limited POW population in the last world war, and was unprepared for basic logistical considerations such as food, clothing and housing requirements of the prisoners.[12] Almost all German-speaking Americans were engaged overseas directly in combat efforts, and the American government feared the presence of Germans on U.S. soil would create a security problem and raise fear among civilians.[10]

Despite many "wild rumors" about how the Allies treated their prisoners,[13]:86 some Germans were pleased to be captured by the British or Americans—fear of being captured by the Soviets was widespread—because they disagreed with Nazism or their nation's conduct of the war.[13]:42–45,148,163 The prisoners were usually shipped in Liberty Ships returning home that would otherwise be empty,[11]:5 with as many as 30,000 arriving per month.[14] While they risked being sunk by their own U-boats on the ocean, good treatment began with the substantial meals served aboard. Upon arriving in America, the comfort of the Pullman cars that carried them to their prison camps amazed the Germans,[13]:32,70 as did the country's large size and undamaged prosperity.[15]

The Geneva Convention

The camps

The Office of the Provost Marshal General (OPMG) supervised[11]:8 the 425,000 German prisoners. They stayed in 700 camps[14] in 46 states; a complete list may not exist because of the small, temporary nature of some camps and the frequent use of satellite or sub-camps administratively part of larger units.[16] Other than barbed wire and watchtowers, the camps resembled standard United States or German military training sites;[12][17][11]:33 the Geneva Convention of 1929 required the United States to provide living quarters comparable to those of its own military,[15] which meant 40 square feet (3.71 m²) for enlisted men and 120 square feet (11.15 m²) for officers.[13]:xxii If prisoners had to sleep in tents while their quarters were constructed, so did their guards.[18] The three admirals and forty generals in custody were sent to Camp Shelby in Mississippi, where each had his own bungalow with a garden.[15]

Government guidelines mandated placing the compounds away from urban, industrial areas for security purposes, in regions with mild climate to minimize construction costs, and at sites where POWs could alleviate anticipated farm labor shortages.[17]

Work

Owasso, MI POW camp sign
A current (2013) sign outside the Owosso, MI, WW-II P.O.W. camp where German soldiers were held. The site had been, and then was again, the Owosso racetrack.

The Geneva Convention's mandate of equal treatment for prisoners also meant they were paid American military wages.[19]:78 They could work on farms or elsewhere only if they were also paid for their labor, and officers could not be compelled to work. As the United States sent millions of soldiers overseas, the resulting shortage of labor eventually meant that German POWs worked toward the Allied war effort by helping out in canneries, mills, farms and other places deemed a minimal security risk.[20]

Prisoners could not be used in work directly related to the military work, or in dangerous conditions. The minimum pay for enlisted soldiers was $0.80 a day, roughly equivalent to the pay of an American private. In 1943 the government estimated that prisoner labor cost 50 to 75% of normal free labor. While language differences and risk of escape or unreliable work were disadvantages, prisoner workers were available immediately on demand and in the exact numbers needed. While prisoners on average worked more slowly and produced less than civilians, their work was also more reliable and of higher quality.[19]:79,82,98 Part of their wages helped pay for the POW program, and the workers could use the rest as pocket money for the camp canteen.[20] (They were paid in scrip. All hard currency was confiscated with other personal possessions during initial processing for return after the war as mandated by the Convention, as money could be used during escape attempts.[21][19]:78) The government received $22 million in 1944 from prisoner wages, and that year it estimated that it had saved $80 million by using prisoners in military installations.[11]:6

Newspaper coverage of the camps and public knowledge were intentionally limited until the end of the war, in part to comply with the Geneva Convention and in part to avoid the fear of an enemy presence in such large numbers.[16] While most citizens living near camps accepted the prisoners' presence, the government received hundreds of letters each week protesting their treatment. Many demanded that the POWs be immediately killed, a sentiment the regular casualty lists in American newspapers encouraged.[21][22][23] The government had difficulty in persuading the public that treating the prisoners according to the Geneva Convention made it more likely that Germany would treat American prisoners well.[16] Labor unions were the largest opposition to the use of the prisoner workers, citing the War Manpower Commission's rules that required union participation in worker recruitment whenever possible.[19]:98–101 Given the wartime labor shortage however, especially in agriculture, many valued their contribution; as late as February 1945, politicians in rural states asked the government for 100,000 more prisoners to work on farms.[11]:6

Labor Reports

POW Camp Labor Report 1946-02-12.pdf
Dos Palos POW Branch Camp Final Report

Twice each month each prisoner of war camp was required to fill out WD AGO Form 19-21 and mail it to the Office of the Provost Marshal General, Washington 25, D.C., Attention: Prisoner of War Operations Division.

The report included the camp's name and address, the nationality of the prisoners, the total number of prisoners broken down by the number of officers, NCO's and privates, and the number of man-days worked by project in that camp during the reporting period. Sometimes additional remarks were included on the back of the form. For example, the additional remarks from Dos Palos POW Branch Camp for the period ending 12 February 1946 stated "1692 [German POWs] waiting for Repatriation CAMP CLOSED 12 February 1946."

Camp life

Life for the Germans in American POW camps was reportedly "firm but fair".[24] There were insufficient American guards, especially German speakers. They mostly supervised the German officers and NCOs who strictly maintained discipline.[12][25][11]:33–34[15] The Germans woke their own men, marched them to and from meals, and prepared them for work;[26] their routine successfully recreated the feel of military discipline for prisoners.[11]:34 Prisoners had friendly interaction with local civilians[26] and sometimes were allowed outside the camps without guards on the honor system[13]:104,223 (Black American guards noted that German prisoners could visit segregated restaurants that they could not.[19]:52–53), luxuries such as beer and wine were sometimes available, and hobbies or sports were encouraged.[14] Alex Funke, a former POW at Camp Algona, wrote: "We all were positively impressed" by the U.S. and that "We all had been won over to friendly relations with" the U.S.[27] Indeed, unauthorized fraternization between American women and German prisoners was sometimes a problem.[23][15] Several camps held social receptions with local American girls, and some Germans met their future wives as prisoners.[13]:25–26[18]

Rations

When I was captured I weighed 128 pounds. After two years as an American POW weighed 185. I had gotten so fat you could no longer see my eyes.
— A German prisoner of war[13]:208

Many prisoners found that their living conditions as prisoners were better than as civilians in cold-water flats in Germany.[20] The prisoners were provided with writing materials, art supplies, woodworking utensils, and musical instruments,[24] and were allowed regular correspondence with family in Germany.[25] General officers received wine with their meals, and all prisoners ate the same rations as American soldiers as required by the Geneva Convention,[15] including special meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day,[18] Unable to eat all their food, prisoners at first burned leftover food fearing that their rations would be reduced.[15]

Groups of prisoners pooled their daily beer coupons to take turns drinking several at a time. They also received two packs of cigarettes a day and frequently meat, both rationed for American civilians.[22][23][15] (Cigarettes were sold in the prisoner canteen for less than outside the camp, so guards were sometimes amenable to being bribed with them.) One German later recalled that he gained 57 pounds (26 kg) in two years as a prisoner.[13]:59,208 Despite complaints to International Red Cross inspectors about the alleged inferiority of American white bread and coffee, prisoners recognized that they were treated better in the United States than anywhere else.[18]

Entertainment and education

Funke stated that "Nobody could become bored [as a prisoner]."[27] Prisoners held frequent theatrical and musical performances attended by hundreds or thousands, including American guards and Red Cross inspectors.[28] Movies were shown as often as four nights a week;[23] if the camp did not have a projector, prisoners often pooled their savings to purchase one.[19]:110 The cinema served as an important reeducation and propaganda tool as well as entertainment, with Hollywood anti-Nazi films, cartoons such as "Herr Meets Hare", and the Why We Fight series used;[28][29] American World War II films shown mostly dealt with the Pacific War. Near the end of the war approved German films from a list exchanged through the Red Cross became available.[19]:110 After the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, films of the atrocities of the Holocaust were shown to the prisoners, which engendered shock, anger, and disbelief; amazed and disbelieving prisoners nicknamed them knochen films ("films of bones"). After compulsory viewing of an atrocity film, 1,000 prisoners at Camp Butner dramatically burned their German uniforms.[15][19]:119 Prisoners at other camps called on Germany to surrender. In an idea seriously considered but ultimately rejected by American military officials, a few prisoners even volunteered to fight in the war against Japan.[30]

Camps built libraries to organize their reading material and prisoners often purchased their own, but they never had enough reading material, with an average of one half book per prisoner. The YMCA printed thousands of copies of books for the camps, and even provided bookbinding material so camps could repair them due to frequent use.[19]:113 Camps had subscriptions to American newspapers, and every camp published its own newspaper[28] with poetry and short stories, puzzles and games, listings of upcoming events, and classified ads.[18] Camp authorities recognized the periodicals' value in serving as creative outlets and as accurate indicators of the prisoners' views. The tone of their articles varied; some promoted Nazi ideology and foresaw German victory.[19]:110–111 Even as Germany's defeat neared in early 1945, eight of 20 camp newspapers advocated Nazi ideology.[11]:22

Many future German CEOs benefited from education they received as prisoners in the United States.[18] Educated prisoners such as future German cabinet member Walter Hallstein[13]:150 taught classes on their areas of expertise including German, English and other foreign languages, business, and mathematics. The systematically taught courses were so successful that in May 1944 the German Ministry of Education and the OKW sent through the Red Cross detailed procedures for students to receive credit at German high schools and universities.[28] Some prisoners took correspondence classes through local universities, and German universities also accepted their credits after returning home.[12]

Prisoner resistance

Relying on Germans to discipline themselves, while efficient, also permitted committed groups of Nazi prisoners to exist despite American attempts to identify and separate them.[15] Often members of the Afrika Korps who had been captured early in the war during Germany's greatest military successes,[13]:150–151 they led work stoppages, intimidated other prisoners, and held secret kangaroo court for those accused of disloyalty. Those convicted were sometimes attacked or killed in a process known as the "Holy Ghost"; most prisoner "suicides" were likely murders.[7][17][15] While the American government executed 14 Germans after the war for murdering other prisoners in three incidents, hundreds of such murders may have occurred.[13]:158–159 Many devoted Nazis remained loyal to their political beliefs and expected a German victory until the Allies crossed the Rhine in March 1945; their faith amazed prisoners captured during and after the Battle of Normandy, who had more realistic views of the likely outcome of the war. In turn, the earlier prisoners often viewed the others with contempt, calling them "traitors" and "deserters". Fear of secret punishment by such men caused one prisoner to later state that "there was more political freedom in the German army than in an American prison camp." He and other anti-Nazis were sent to Camp Ruston in Louisiana to protect them,[13]:xx,27,114–115,151,153,157,161,167–168 while an Oklahoma camp received Waffen-SS and violent prisoners.[15]

Prisoners regardless of ideology often taunted their captors, such as saluting with Sieg Heils when forced to attend the lowering of the United States flag. They secretly celebrated Hitler's birthday and other Nazi holidays after the Americans banned them, and many became upset when Jewish American officers supervised them.[19]:48–49[11]:34–37 Less than 1% of all prisoners of war in America attempted to escape, however—about half the rate of Italian prisoners[11]:7 and less than the rate in the civilian prison system[18]— and most were unsuccessful.[20][12] The likelihood of an escapee returning to their forces overseas was very remote;[26] the wish to avoid boredom was the reason most often given by those who attempted to escape,[13]:132,152 often hoping to reach Argentina. Prisoners who died during escape attempts usually received military funerals with US government-provided Nazi flags.[15]

On December 23, 1944, 25 German POWs broke out of Camp Papago Park in Arizona[31] by crawling along a 178-foot (54 m) tunnel.[32] By January the escapees were caught, in part because a river they intended to cross by raft turned out to be a dry river bed.[33]

Special Projects Division

The OPMG began a formal reeducation program for German prisoners in fall 1943. Named the Special Projects Division (SPD) and directed by a group of university professors, the program published der Ruf, a prison newspaper edited by sympathetic POWs, and distributed books banned in Nazi Germany. The effort was kept secret because it probably violated the Geneva Convention's ban on exposing prisoners to propaganda, the possibility of German retaliation with American prisoners, and the expectation that prisoners would reject overt reeducation. After V-E Day, SPD began a series of rapid classes on democracy for some of the most cooperative prisoners. The 25,000 graduates of these classes returned directly to Germany, instead of being used for additional labor in Europe.[11]:8–10,22[13]:169–170

SPD's efforts were unsuccessful. Many in the OPMG opposed the program, in part because they believed that changing most adults' basic philosophies and values was impossible and, if successful, might cause them to choose Communism as an alternative. The American professors were almost entirely ignorant of German language or culture, as well as military and prison life. The reading material they prepared was overly intellectual and did not appeal to most prisoners, and der Ruf was unpopular as it was essentially a literary journal with little current news. Surveys of camp prisoners found no change in the views of the vast majority of prisoners from the program. This was consistent with the unchanging level of confidence found in German soldiers immediately after their capture in Europe despite steady German defeats. Their nation's complete defeat in the war and subsequent division into two countries were likely much more influential than SPD reeducation in Germans' postwar rejection of Nazism.[11]:8–11,21–22

After the war

Dennis while
Dennis Whiles, aka Georg Gärtner (July 4, 2009)

Although they expected to go home immediately after the end of the war in 1945, the majority of German prisoners continued working in the United States until 1946—arguably violating the Geneva Convention's requirement of rapid repatriation—then spent up to three more years as laborers in France and the United Kingdom.[13]:ix,xxii,26–27 (see also German prisoners of war in the United Kingdom). As the Geneva Convention no longer applied, and because of the atrocities discovered at concentration camps, prisoners' rations were cut and work loads were increased. Before being sent home they were required to watch documentaries of the camps. (Scholar Arnold Krammer noted that in his years of interviewing prisoners he never met one who admitted to being a Nazi, and most Germans had some knowledge of the camps; however, how much those captured in North Africa knew of the Eastern Front—where most atrocities occurred—is unclear.)[15]

Despite the delay in repatriation, Krammer reported that "I've yet to meet a German prisoner who doesn't tell me that it was the time of their lives."[15] Most Germans left the United States with positive feelings about the country where they were held,[16][15] familiarity with the English language, and often with several hundred dollars in earnings. The funds benefited the postwar German economy on their return.[14] They had benefited from being held by a nation that largely did not hate German soldiers; a November 1943 poll found that 74% of Americans solely blamed the German government, not Germans, for the war.[11]:8 After repatriation about 5,000 Germans emigrated to the United States, and thousands of others returned later to visit[20][13]:248 such as Rüdiger von Wechmar, who lived in New York City for 14 years as the German Permanent Representative to the United Nations.[15] Funke reported that the visitors did so "as convinced democrats" due to their treatment.[27]

The camps in the United States are otherwise what the Associated Press later called an "all but forgotten part of history", even though some former inmates went on to become prominent in postwar Germany. About 860 German POWs remain buried in 43 sites across the United States, with their graves often tended by local German Women's Clubs.[14] Even in the communities which formerly hosted POW camps for Germans, local residents often do not know the camps ever existed.[16][24] Reunions of camp inmates, their captors and local townspeople such as those held in Maine and Georgia have garnered press coverage and local interest for this unusual and infrequently mentioned aspect of the war.[14][34]

There is at least one recorded attempt by US authorities to extract information from German POWs through torture.[35] The camps for Germans were cited as precedents for various positions or failures of U.S. detainee policy during the debate over detainees at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.[36]

A total of 2,222 German POWs escaped from their camps. Most were recaptured within a day.[37] The US government could not account for seven prisoners when they were repatriated.[15] Georg Gärtner, who escaped from a POW camp in Deming, New Mexico on September 21, 1945 to avoid being repatriated to Silesia, occupied by the Soviet Union, remained at large until 1985. After the war, the other few escaped prisoners were recaptured or surrendered. After Kurt Rossmeisl—who had lived in Chicago for 14 years—surrendered, Gärtner was the only remaining escapee who had not been captured.[37] He assumed a new identity as Dennis F. Whiles and lived quietly in California, Colorado, and Hawaii before coming forward in 1985. Although wanted by the United States government for years, Gärtner was granted permission to remain and became a naturalized US citizen in 2009. He lived under his adopted name Dennis Whiles, and wrote a book about his life, Hitler's Last Soldier in America.[38]

See also

References

  1. ^ "America in the Great War," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com, retrieved March 28, 2011
  2. ^ "Blow Up Corman, Interned Gunboat," The New York Times, April 8, 1917. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  3. ^ Yockelson, Mitchell, "The War Department: Keeper of Our Nation's Enemy Aliens During World War I," Presentation to the Society for Military History Annual Meeting, April 1998. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  4. ^ Cunningham, Raymond K., Jr.,"Fort Douglas War Prison Barracks Three Prisoners Of War", University of Utah Records Center. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  5. ^ Cunningham, Raymond K., Jr.,"German Prisoners 507 Strong, Join Interned Comrades", University of Utah Records Center. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  6. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott, "Wreath-laying honors WWI German prisoners buried at Fort Douglas", Deseret News, November 14, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Copeland, Susan, "Foreign Prisoners of War", The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  8. ^ Janiskee, Bob, "Pruning the Parks: Chattanooga National Cemetery", NationalParksTraveler.com, December 25, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2011
  9. ^ "Cemeteries - Fort Lyon National Cemetery," United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved March 29, 2011
  10. ^ a b Bowman, Michael, "World War II Prisoner of War Camps", The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Rabin, Ron (1995). The Barbed-Wire College: Reeducating German POWs in the United States during World War II. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03700-0.
  12. ^ a b c d e Krammer, Arnold, "German Prisoners of War", Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Carlson, Lewis H. (1997). We Were Each Other's Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisoners of War. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-09120-2.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Day of mourning will honor German POWs held in U.S.", msnbc.msn.com, November 15, 2004. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Nazi POWs in America. History Channel. 2004-04-18.
  16. ^ a b c d e Billinger, Dr. Robert D. Jr. (Spring 2008). "Enemies and Friends: POWs in the Tar Heel State" (PDF). Tar Heel Junior Historian. 47 (2). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-24.
  17. ^ a b c Corbett, William P., "Prisoner of War Camps", Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Krammer, Arnold (2008). Prisoners of War: A Reference Handbook. Greenwood Publishing. pp. 46–48, 51–52. ISBN 0275993000.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Thompson, Antonio (2010). Men in German Uniform: POWs in America during World War II. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 1572337281.
  20. ^ a b c d e Garcia, Malcolm J.,"German POWs on the American Homefront", Smithsonian.com, September 16, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  21. ^ a b Sytko, Glenn, "German POWs in North America: The Journey to Prison Camps", Uboat.net. Retrieved 2012-09-06
  22. ^ a b Flynn, Jacob, "German POWs kept in Central Florida during WWII", WestOrangeTimes.com. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  23. ^ a b c d Hawfield, Michael, "World War II camp had impact on city" Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, December 15, 1990. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  24. ^ a b c Camp Algona POW Museum. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  25. ^ a b Sytko, Glenn, "German POWs in North America", Uboat.net. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  26. ^ a b c Pepin, John, "POW Camps In the U.P.", The Mining Journal, Marquette Michigan. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  27. ^ a b c Camp Algona POW Museum: Questions and Answers of Alex Funke, accessed April 2, 2011
  28. ^ a b c d Sytko, Glenn, "German POWs in North America: Recreation", Uboat.net. Retrieved 2012-09-06
  29. ^ Waters, Michael R., Mark Long, and William Dickens. Lone Star Stalag: German Prisoners of War at Camp Hearne. 2004, Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-545-5, page 27.
  30. ^ Krammer, Arnold (1979). Nazi Prisoners of War in America. Stein and Day. pp. 217–19.
  31. ^ Pela, Robert L., "Flight From Phoenix", PhoenixNewTimes.com, March 8, 2001. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  32. ^ Moore, John Hammond, The Faustball Tunnel: German POWs in America and Their Great Escape. US Naval Institute Press 2006. ISBN 1-59114-526-0
  33. ^ "The Great Escape of '44", Arizona Stories, Season Two. KAET-TV, a broadcast service of Arizona State University. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  34. ^ Allington, Adam, "German POWs Return to Maine in Friendship", VOAnews.com, May 6, 2005. Retrieved March 28, 2011
  35. ^ Adams, Merdith Lentz, Murder and Martial Justice. Kent State University Press 2011. ISBN 978-1-60635-075-1
  36. ^ Stephenson, Megan, "How Did Americans Feel About Incarcerating German POW's in W. W. II on US Soil?", History News Network. Published by George Mason University. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  37. ^ a b Holley, David (1985-09-12). "Hitler's Last Soldier in U.S. Surrenders After 40 Years". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  38. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph, "Ex POW ends 40 years of hiding", The New York Times, September 11, 1985. Retrieved 2008-01-14.

External links

Armistice of Salonica

The Armistice of Salonica (also known as the Armistice of Thessalonica) was signed on 29 September 1918 between Bulgaria and the Allied Powers in Thessaloniki. The convention followed after a request by the Bulgarian government on 24 September asking for a ceasefire. The armistice effectively ended Bulgaria's participation in World War I on the side of the Central Powers and came into effect on the Bulgarian front at noon on 30 September. The armistice regulated the demobilization and disarmament of the Bulgarian armed forces.

The signatories were, for the Allies, the French General Louis Franchet d'Espérey, commander of the Allied Army of the Orient, and a commission appointed by the Bulgarian government, composed of General Ivan Lukov (member of the Bulgarian Army HQ), Andrey Lyapchev (cabinet member) and Simeon Radev (diplomat).

Battle of Changsha (1941)

The Battle of Changsha (6 September – 8 October 1941) was Japan's second attempt at taking the city of Changsha, China, the capital of Hunan Province, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Battle of Changsha (1942)

The third Battle of Changsha (24 December 1941 – 15 January 1942) was the first major offensive in China by Imperial Japanese forces following the Japanese attack on the Western Allies.

The offensive was originally intended to prevent Chinese forces from reinforcing the British Commonwealth forces engaged in Hong Kong. With the capture of Hong Kong on 25 December, however, it was decided to continue the offensive against Changsha in order to maximize the blow against the Chinese government.The offensive resulted in failure for the Japanese, as Chinese forces were able to lure them into a trap and encircle them. After suffering heavy casualties, Japanese forces were forced to carry out a general retreat.

Camp Adair

Camp Adair was a United States Army division training facility established north of Corvallis, Oregon, operating from 1942 to 1946. During its peak period of use, the camp was home to approximately 40,000 persons — enough to have constituted the second largest city in the state of Oregon. The camp was largely scrapped as government surplus following termination of the war, with a portion of the site reconstituted as Adair Air Force Station in 1957.

Part of the former Camp Adair is now contained within the E. E. Wilson Wildlife Area operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), with other parts of the camp now incorporated into the city of Adair Village.

Camp Butner

Camp Butner was a United States Army installation in Butner, North Carolina during World War II. It was named after Army General Henry W. Butner. Part of it was used as a POW-Camp for German prisoners of war in the United States and this site eventually became the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner. The Camp site was chosen around early January 1942 to have a major training area built and in just 6 short months, over 3500 buildings were constructed. There were enough beds in the enlisted barracks alone to accommodate over 35,000 soldiers.

Several major US Army divisions used the camp as a staging area during the war, to assemble and organize prior to being deployed to the Western Front. Divisions like the 35th Infantry Division, 78th Infantry Division, and 89th Infantry Divisions were all activated here.

After the war, the Camp was used as a major facility for the demobilization and deactivation of Army units returning from the war. Among the units deactivated at the camp were the 3d United States Infantry Regiment and the 4th Infantry Division.

The Camp was also the location of the Battalion Surgeon's Assistant school.

Camp Douglas (Wyoming)

Camp Douglas was an internment camp for Prisoners of War (POW) during World War II, located in the city of Douglas, Wyoming, United States. Between January 1943 and February 1946 in the camp housing first Italian and then German prisoners of war in the United States. While there are few remaining structures, the walls of the Officer's Club were painted with murals by three Italian prisoners. These paintings depicting western life and folklore are now registered with the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service on the National Register of Historic Places. The story of this POW camp is an important part of the history of the town of Douglas.

Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union

There were two waves of the Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union during World War II: POWs during the Winter War and the Continuation War.

France during World War II

The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II:

Maginot Line and Alpine Line of fortifications and defences along the borders with Germany and Italy

Phoney War, or drôle de guerre ("strange war"), the period of little military activity between the defeat of Poland in October 1939 and April 1940.

Anglo-French Supreme War Council set up to organize a joint Entente Cordiale strategy against Germany

The Battle of France, in which the German victory led to the fall of the Third Republic in May and June 1940.

Free France (La France Libre) the government-in-exile in London and provisional government over unoccupied and liberated territories, and the forces under its control (Forces françaises libres or FFL), fighting on the Allies' side after the Appeal of 18 June of its leader, General de Gaulle.

French Liberation Army (Armée française de la Libération) formed on 1 August 1943 by the merger of the FFL and all other Free French units, principally the Army of Africa

French Forces of the Interior (Forces françaises de l'intérieur) elements of the Resistance loyal to London and under its operational military command

Free French Air Force

Free French Naval Forces

Vichy France, the rump state established in June 1940 under Marshal Philippe Pétain in the non-occupied Zone libre, officially neutral and independent until invaded by the Axis and the Allies in November 1942

Vichy French Air Force

Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon

Axis occupation of France:

German occupation of France during World War II - 1940-1944 in the northern zones, and 1942-1944 in the southern zone

French Resistance and the National Council of the Resistance which coordinated the various groups that made up the resistance

Service du travail obligatoire - the provision of French citizens as forced labour in Germany

The Holocaust in France

Italian occupation of France during World War II - limited to border areas 1940-1942, almost all Rhône left-bank territory 1942-1943

Japanese and Thai occupation of French Indochina - beginning with the Japanese invasion in September 1940 and with the Franco-Thai War which started in October 1940

Liberation of France

Operation Overlord - the invasion of northern France by the western Allies in June 1944

Operation Dragoon - the invasion of southern France by the western Allies in August 1944

Liberation of Paris - the freeing of the French capital in August 1944

Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine - advance (as the right flank of the western front) into Alsace-Lorraine in 1944

Western Allied invasion of Germany - invasion (as the right flank of the western front) of Baden-Württemberg in 1945

German Prisoner of War Camp, Hoopeston, Illinois

The Prisoner of War Camp in Hoopeston, Illinois, was one of 21 such camps in Illinois created to house German prisoners of war in the United States during World War II.

German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union

Approximately three million German prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union during World War II, most of them during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war. The POWs were employed as forced labor in the Soviet wartime economy and post-war reconstruction. By 1950 almost all surviving POWs had been released, with the last prisoner returning from the USSR in 1956 . According to Soviet records 381,067 German Wehrmacht POWs died in NKVD camps (356,700 German nationals and 24,367 from other nations). German historian Rüdiger Overmans maintains that it seems entirely plausible, while not provable, that one million died in Soviet custody. He also believes that there were men who actually died as POWs amongst those listed as missing-in-action (MIA).

Invasion of the Kuril Islands

The Invasion of the Kuril Islands (Russian: Курильская десантная операция "Kuril Islands Landing Operation") was the World War II Soviet military operation to capture the Kuril Islands from Japan in 1945. The invasion was part of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, and was decided on when plans to land on Hokkaido were abandoned. The successful military operations of the Red Army at Mudanjiang and during the Invasion of South Sakhalin created the necessary prerequisites for invasion of the Kuril Islands.

Lake Naroch Offensive

The Lake Naroch Offensive in 1916 was an unsuccessful Russian offensive on the Eastern Front in World War I. It was launched at the request of Marshal Joseph Joffre and intended to relieve the German pressure on French forces. Due to lack of reconnaissance, Russian artillery support failed to overcome and neutralise the well-fortified German defenses and artillery positions, leading to costly and unproductive direct attacks, hindered by the weather. On 30 March General Evert ordered to stop the offensive.

List of World War II weapons

World War II saw rapid technological innovation in response to the needs of the various combatants. Many different weapons systems evolved as a result.

Note: This list does not consist of all weapons used by all countries in World War II.

List of military awards of World War II

Military awards of World War II were presented by most of the combatants.

The following is from the article World War II, removed from that article for clarity, and represents an incomplete list of some of the awards.

Operation Cottage

Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June 1942.

The Japanese, however, had secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, and so the Allied landings were unopposed. Allied forces suffered over 313 casualties in total during the operation, due to stray Japanese mines, friendly fire incidents, and battlefield combat.

Operation Keelhaul

Operation Keelhaul was a forced repatriation of former Soviet Armed Forces POWs of Germany to the Soviet Union, carried out in Northern Italy by British and American forces between 14 August 1946 and 9 May 1947.

Operation Starvation

Operation Starvation was a naval mining operation conducted in World War II by the United States Army Air Forces, in which vital water routes and ports of Japan were mined from the air in order to disrupt enemy shipping.

World War II cryptography

Cryptography was used extensively during World War II, with a plethora of code and cipher systems fielded by the nations involved. In addition, the theoretical and practical aspects of cryptanalysis, or codebreaking, was much advanced.

Probably the most important codebreaking event of the war was the successful decryption by the Allies of the German "Enigma" Cipher. The first complete break into Enigma was accomplished by Poland around 1932; the techniques and insights used were passed to the French and British Allies just before the outbreak of the war in 1939. They were substantially improved by British efforts at the Bletchley Park research station during the war. Decryption of the Enigma Cipher allowed the Allies to read important parts of German radio traffic on important networks and was an invaluable source of military intelligence throughout the war. Intelligence from this source (and other high level sources, including the Fish ciphers) was eventually called Ultra.A similar break into the most secure Japanese diplomatic cipher, designated Purple by the US Army Signals Intelligence Service, started before the US entered the war. Product from this source was called Magic.

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