Small-Scale Conflicts: The American Civil War

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Small-scale conflicts tend to be more gruesome and violent for the POWs in comparison to larger-scale ones. Civil wars, revolts, and other such events that happen locally or within one nation usually see a greater death percentage and more mistreatment of the soldiers involved than world wars or other international conflicts. One of the most well known small-scale conflicts is the American Civil War. This internal war did not treat its prisoners very well, many agreeing that the experience was more horrible than battle. Although there were much fewer deaths in the Civil War compared to both of the world wars, the treatment of POWs was overall worse and a larger percentage of the prisoners died while in captivity.
The Civil War was a horrid
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The main offender of the rules of war, the Empire of Japan, which had signed but didn’t follow the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War, did not treat prisoners of war in accordance with international agreements because they viewed surrendering as dishonorable (DeDominicis). Prisoners of war from China, the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the Philippines held by the Japanese Empire were subject to unthinkable things such as murder, beatings, forced labor, medical experimentation, starvation rations, and cannibalism. Because of the alienation of Japan and the violence that the ruled the country, enforcing international rules for the protection of prisoners of war was impossible. Germany treated different POWs differently according to their nationality (Shepherd). Prisoners from France, Britain, and the US were treated in accordance to the Geneva Convention, which had been signed by those three countries. Western Allied officers were usually not made to work. Other than a few food shortages, these POWs were in the best place to be during the war. However, a small portion of the Jewish Allied POWs were sent to concentration camps and killed. Germany did not apply the same standard of treatment to non-western prisoners, especially many Polish and Soviet POWs who suffered harsh conditions and died in large numbers while in captivity. A total of 58% of all Soviet prisoners held by Germans died. 3.3 million out 5.7 million died. By comparison, only 8,000 Western Allied prisoners died in German camps, which is 3.5% of the total. The number of POW deaths for these two wars were so much greater than during the Civil War because they were fought on much a larger scale. However, due to lack of proper medicine or resources, and not to mention the fact that both sides had the same motherland, both the Union and Confederate prisoners went through arguably much worse

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