Kurt Vonnegut: Prisoners Of War

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Victorious conquerors have taken prisoners of war in conflicts across human history. The foreign prison camps of the World Wars were infamous for their cruelty. However, many people are not aware that millions of German prisoners of war were placed in hundreds of camps all across America. These prisoners had their own unique experiences that differed significantly from prisoners held in foreign POW camps. Kurt Vonnegut voices his own traumatizing prisoner of war experience through the main character of Slaughterhouse-Five. Comparing Billy’s experience with the treatment of POW’s on American soil allows readers to analyze the moral structure of each country.
Sixteen million Americans served in World War II. Four million prisoners were shipped to the United States from 1942 through 1945. As World War II raged, Allies, such as Great Britain, were running short on space to house prisoners of war. Thousands of prisoners of war ended up in U.S. mills, farm fields, etc. Almost 400 camps were built for prisoners of war in the South, the Great Plains and in the Midwest; ironically, while the prisoner camps were filling up across the country, America was struggling with acute labor shortage (“Prisoners of war”). …show more content…

One former soldier, Kerr, recalled that as a prisoner of war in America, he was safe because no one was shooting at him and it was better to work in America; he didn 't have anything to be scared of. Keith Buss, who was a child living in Kansas during the war, remembers, “Four POWs came to his house in search of a job on his family farm in 1943.” (“German Prisoners of war”). The four prisoners of war built the Buss family a concrete garage. Buss said they nailed it, they did a great job building the garage. That garage still stands today. American POW’s camps were clearly not as harsh as camps in other countries (“German Prisoners of

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