“The Prisoners Are Not Hard to Handle:” Cultural Views of German Prisoners of War and Their Captors in Camp Sharpe, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

by Atkins, Elizabeth

Abstract (Summary)
This paper explores how perceived cultural and ethnic identities effected the interactions between German prisoners of war and the citizens of Adams County, Pennsylvania during the Second World War. Newspapers articles, oral histories and government documents were analyzed to gauge the level of interaction between and the reception of German POWs who worked in the community as temporary labor relieve. The first chapter locates Camp Sharpe geographically within the history of Adams County and Pennsylvania, historically within the larger study of German prisoners of war in America and outlines the development of German culture within southern Pennsylvania. Chapter two provides a chronology of the creation and management of Camp Sharpe and the temporary work camp in Gettysburg. It also details the interactions between German prisoners of war and the citizens of Adams Country, showing that there was ample opportunity for German prisoners and Americans to communicate with each other due to the peculiar policies for prisoner of war labor. The last chapter examines the creation and maintenance of German culture and the existence and influences of several factors that could impact the formation of identity. By acknowledging these factors, this work will explore why German prisoners of war and the citizens of Gettysburg generally responded favorably to each others’ presence and try to account for the varying influences that caused both this reaction and less frequent negative responses.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:world war ii homefront prisoners of gettysburg german


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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