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History Research Guide - World War II: Prisons and Prisoners

A guide to the resources available in the library on World War II.

The March of Death


The March of Death... Bataan Death March, May 1942. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Books in the Library

Possible Topics

Here are some topic questions to help you get started on your paper.

What treatment did Allied POWs recieve in Nazi prison camps? What treatment did they recieve in Japanese prison camps? What treatment did Axis POWs recieve in Allied prisons? Were prisoners on either side tortured? Who were the prisoners in these camps; soldiers, support, families? etc. What was the impact of the POW experience after the war?  

What did prisoners do to keep their spirits up?  Did they rebel and if so how? Were any escape attempts made? How successful were these attempts? What did escapees have to do to reach safety? What methods did the enemy use to recover escapees?

After the Battle of Bataan thousands of American and Filipino soldiers were marched across the Phillipines by the Japanese. Why did the Bataan Death march happen? What was the rate of survival for prisoners? How were the dead treated? How were the wounded treated? Why should we keep events like this alive in human memory?

Online Resources

British Prisoners at Dunkerque, France


British Prisoners at Dunkerque, France, June 1940. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.