Chapter

Avoiding Götterdämmerung, 1945

Neville Wylie

in Barbed Wire Diplomacy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199547593
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720581 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547593.003.0010
Avoiding Götterdämmerung, 1945

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The final chapter examines the various strategies adopted by the Allied authorities in 1945 to influence German behaviour towards Allied POWs. Face‐to‐face meetings with the Swiss authorities in November 1944 strengthened British understanding of the conditions existing inside Germany and provided an insight into the minds of their enemies. The mass evacuation of Allied POWs from camps in Poland and eastern Germany in early 1945 nevertheless confounded Allied expectations and increased the danger of their men falling victim to disease and starvation. News of Hitler's violent reaction to the bombing of Dresden in early February likewise heightened concern about the possibility of revenge attacks against Allied airmen and other prisoners. The chapter shows how, though options were necessarily limited, the Allies were able to shore up the POW regime at this critical juncture, and were ultimately successful in persuading German officials to abide by excepted standards in their treatment of Allied prisoners.

Keywords: relief; evacuation; Allies; Switzerland; Adolf Hitler; Dresden; revenge; compliance

Chapter.  11536 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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