In addition to the various methods of subterfuge used by the War Department to educate the POWs about American democracy–the showing of American films, American books and newspapers stocked in POW libraries, and a newspaper called Der Ruf written by POWs who had been carefully vetted to represent the American point of view–as the war came to a close, there was a distinct realization that more needed to be done to infuse the German prisoners with the principles of freedom and individualism.
That was when more than 20,000 POWs were chosen to attend a six-day seminar on democracy at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. With a thousand men going through the program, it took more than four months to complete. Those who were chosen to attend were going to be shipped directly home to Germany to act as the front guard, so to speak. They were to be the spokesmen for democracy.
Unfortunately, when they got to Germany, the Military Government did not know what to do with them.
Next time: Getting POWs Ready for Administrative and Police Positions in Germany
Copyright, Geraldine Birch. All rights reserved.