It may be hard to believe, but thousands of German prisoners of war were interred on U.S. soil beginning in 1943.
Nearly every state in the United States had a POW camp. Camps were hastily built within a matter of months to prepare for the vast influx of German soldiers, most of them from Rommels' Afrika Korps in Northern Africa.
In Fort Robinson, Nebraska, located in the upper northwest corner of the state, German POWs arrived in June of 1943. They stayed until the camp closed in 1946.
For my MA thesis, I focused on the intellectual diversion program implemented by the Office of the War Department. The War Department wished to "re-educate" the German soldiers in democracy.
Although the success of this program has never been fully known, it is entirely possible that it was not a failure. Germany today has moved far beyond the Nazis rhetoric of the 1930's and 1940's. Is it possible that German POW's found a voice when they returned to their country? Further studies need to be done, but sadly, the opportunity to do such studies is slipping away. As the World War II generation disappears, it becomes even more difficult to discover answers to the past.
For more photos of the German POW camp at Fort Robinson, click here.