Leeds History First

Between Death and Glory: The Experience of German Combatants held as Prisoners of War in Great Britain during the First World War

The topic of captivity during the First World War has received little attention until very recently. This dissertation aims to address this omission and contribute to the emerging debate by utilising under-used archival sources to explore the experiences of combatant prisoners of war held in Britain during the war. The study uses English language sources, making extensive use of a large number of camp inspection reports alongside newspaper articles and first-hand accounts of captivity. The dissertation has an overarching focus on ascertaining the quality of physical and mental health enjoyed by the prisoners. To achieve this, the study explores the experience of capture, as well as the standard of housing, sanitation, nutrition and medical facilities available to the prisoners. It also examines the manner in which prisoners were able to combat the deterioration of their mental and physical health by assessing the significance recreational activities, employment and escape. The study also seeks to explore the extent to which the experience of capture and captivity varied between each individual prisoner. To do this it compares the experience of captured infantrymen, airmen and seamen and explores the experience of prisoners held at officers’ camps, camps for enlisted men, prison hulks and working camps. The findings of this dissertation are ultimately shown to be of interest to historians of numerous fields as well as soldiers, politicians and policy-makers.

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This entry was posted in 1900-1919, Britain and Ireland, HIST3500, Military History, Social History and tagged , .

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