This book, published in Switzerland, shows daily life for German prisoners of war in France. It gives information on nutrition, lodging, clothing, work and leisure time. The pictures suggest a well-organised life for German prisoners, which included leisure time during which they could play music or cards. The pictures fail to show the deprivations of being imprisoned.
It’s not known who commissioned it, but Switzerland had conceived the international Geneva Conventions that established standards for the humanitarian treatment of prisoners in times of war. It is not out of the question, though, that it was propaganda, used to calm the German population down or to invite German soldiers to desert.
By the end of World War One there were about nine million prisoners of war throughout Europe. About 2.5 million were in Germany and 400,000, mainly Germans, were in France.
- Article by:
- Kate Kennedy
- Representation and memory
As there were war poets, were there also war composers? Dr Kate Kennedy reflects on the role of classical music – by turns morale-raising and commemorative – and its composition among civilians and combatants.
- Article by:
- Heather Jones
- Life as a soldier
What was the reality for prisoners of war in World War One? Dr Heather Jones looks beyond the propaganda to consider the facts around prisoner mistreatment, labour and death rates across Europe.