About 25,000 German POW’s were put through the War Department’s reeducation classes before they were sent home directly to Germany. That was about 15 percent of the 370,000 POWs held in the United States during WWII. The classes were six days of intensified lectures, workshops and films that pushed the American way of life to men who only wanted to go home.
Unfortunately, according to Arnold Krammer’s Nazi Prisoners of War in America, a brief survey completed by 150 students of the program after they returned to Germany, the results of the reeducation program were disappointing. The survey found ”the principles and attitudes which sustain a democracy were only partly absorbed by the former POWs, and remained superficial and brittle enough to be easily forgotten.”
For some, the program was too quick, too fast and too late. Why weren’t they taught these principles during their years in the POW camps? For others it was the experience of a lifetime.
Next time: Reeducation Instead of Indoctrination
Copyright, Geraldine Birch. All rights reserved.