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Prisoners of Limited War Languish as Propaganda Becomes a Substitute for Victory

Charles S. Young

in Name, Rank, and Serial Number

Published in print May 2014 | ISBN: 9780195183481
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199344796 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183481.003.0006
Prisoners of Limited War Languish as Propaganda Becomes a Substitute for Victory

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In place of military victory, both sides pursued propaganda gains at peace talks. Americans charged that thousands of prisoners they held had renounced communism and should not be forced to return home after the war, a policy they called “voluntary repatriation.” Communist representatives replied that incomplete repatriation violated the Geneva Conventions and that the prisoners had been brutalized into defecting. Their insistence on getting all their prisoners back and the United States’ refusal to agree prolonged peace talks for 18 months. Washington could have ended the impasse by fiat and given early parole to favored prisoners, but instead used bombing to compel a capitulation. The communists replied by fomenting riots in the prison camps and falsely accusing the United States of germ warfare, buttressed by POW confessions. The military stalemate had turned the conflict into a prolonged political contest and entrapped the POWs.

Keywords: germ warfare; Robert McClure; Psychological Strategy Board; Geneva Conventions; Admiral C. Turner Joy; substitute for victory; Operation Scatter; Koje-do screening; Ambassador John Muccio; forcible repatriation

Chapter.  9338 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas ; Military History

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