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Prisoners of War

Although international law lays down certain rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war, in the heat of the battle these principles are not always adhered to. In particular, Soviet Russia, which had not ratified the Geneva Convention, treated its prisoners of war with utmost cruelty – that is, if they weren’t executed on the spot. Germany, in return, felt no longer bound by the Geneva Convention either, with respect to Russian prisoners. Considering the logistical impossibility of feeding and housing millions of Russian PoWs who fell into German hands early on in the war, disaster was nigh inevitable. PoWs were often ill-treated in the other theaters of war also, in particular in the Pacific, and in western Europe towards the end of the war, when local U.S. units declared that no German prisoners were to be taken…

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