The Geneva Convention In Billy Pilgrim's Slaughterhouse Five

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World War II was the deadliest war of all time. Many soldiers who did not die had been captured by their enemies. After World War I, there was an addition to the Geneva Convention, a document created to protect prisoners during war. The document proved crucial and saved countless soldiers from almost certain death. Unfortunately, not all countries participating in the war had signed it. The Geneva Convention was first adopted in 1846. It was revised in 1907 and 1927, then later revised after World War II. The convention was governed by an organization named the International Red Cross, a neutral organization whose goal is to protect the lives of victims of war. Red Cross allowed prisoners of war to send letters back to their families while in captivity letting them know that they were alive. Before the war the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany had all ratified the convention. The only two countries who were not bound to the convention were Russia and Japan. The goal of the Geneva Convention was to protect the wounded, medical personnel, and…show more content…
Many war veterans share their stories, sometimes glorified, sometimes the brutally honest truth. In Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut tells a story about the life of Billy Pilgrim, an American war veteran who was captured by the Nazis. In Billy Pilgrim’s trip through a Nazi POW camp, Vonnegut tells of the conditions soldiers from different countries were facing. “. . . through gate after gate again. There were more starving Russians with faces like radium dials.” (Vonnegut p.91) Later in the novel, Vonnegut goes on to show British prisoners of war in the same camp. These British POWs were friendly with the Nazi soldiers, healthy, and well fed (due to an error by the Red Cross). The novel highlights how inconsistent Nazi treatment was depending on what country you were
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