The Shadow of the Shackling Crisis, 1943

Neville Wylie

in Barbed Wire Diplomacy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199547593
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720581 | DOI:
The Shadow of the Shackling Crisis, 1943

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This chapter traces Anglo‐German POW relations over 1943. It examines how the shackling crisis affected the two governments' attitudes towards the functioning of the POW regime, and emphasizes the sense of realism that entered German thinking in the light of the loss of Tunisia in early 1943 and the Allied landings in Italy later that summer. This led to a softening in German attitudes towards the repatriation of sick and wounded POWs and gave rise, in October, to the first of five Anglo‐German POW exchanges of the war. Britain's protecting power also began to occupy a more prominent place in British calculations: having proved its worth during the shackling crisis the previous winter, the Swiss government was called upon to help stem the gradual decline in camp conditions over the course of the year and hold Berlin to its responsibilities under the POW convention. By the end of the year, however, a noticeable brittleness had entered Anglo‐German POW relations, as the German authorities became increasingly security‐conscious and saw British POWs, especially escapers, as a threat to the Reich's internal security.

Keywords: POW regime; repatriation; shackling crisis; internal security; protecting power; captivity

Chapter.  12536 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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