AS a wonk on history and foreign policy especially on conflicts around the world….my granddaughter came to me and ask if there were any WW2 POWs in the US….if not where were they held.
She had watched the Hitler Channel with her father and saw all the German troops that had surrendered at Tunisia in 1943….her brain wanted to know where all these people were held since the war was still raging around Europe and other locations.
I told her that many were sent to the US and that there were even some held here in Mississippi…..okay she wanted to know where….so I did what I always do…I dropped some history on her….
Just about 60 miles up Highway 49 is Camp Shelby, today it is a training site for the Reserves and the Seabees but during WW2 it was a POW camp…..it held prisoners from the Africa Corps…….
World War II was truly a world war. All of the major countries and a large number of small nations were drawn into the fight. Even countries that tried to remain neutral found themselves in the conflict either by conquest or by being in the path of the campaigns of the major powers. For example, in 1940, more than a year before the United States entered the war, the major powers — Britain, Italy, and Germany — fought important battles in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya in North Africa.
Not until November 1942, almost a year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, did American forces enter the fight in North Africa. U.S. forces made amphibious landings at the North African cities of Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. German and Italian forces in Libya were then caught in a vise — Americans advanced from the west along the North African coast to Tunisia while British troops advanced from the east out of Egypt. The Germans and Italians had to defend on two fronts — the British front on the east and the American front on the west. (See the maps on the left.)
After we talked about this situation I got to thinking…where else in the US were German POWs held?
So I went into full research mode and came up with a simple answer….
Internment camps themselves were a new concept for the U.S. government. Sure, there had been forcible relocations of Native Americans for centuries prior to World War II, but none of those horrific crimes involved strategically removing American citizens and their families from one area of the country to another until a war ended (when the removed citizens would then – in theory – be allowed to return home). The Roosevelt administration eventually created three types of camps for prisoners: temporary camps, internment camps, and detention centers. The detention centers, run by the Department of Justice, housed the most suspicious prisoners, and it is the detention centers that deserve the most focus. So, without further ado, here are the ten harshest WWII prison camps in the U.S.:
The old professor hopes that this answered any question that my reader has about this subject……
I love it when my granddaughter visits!