Axis Prisoners of War in Tennessee

Coerced Labor and the Captive Enemy on the Home Front, 1941–1946


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SKU: 9781476681672 Categories: ,

About the Book

During World War II, Axis prisoners of war received arguably better treatment in the U.S. than anywhere else. Bound by the Geneva Convention but also hoping for reciprocal treatment of American POWs, the U.S. sought to humanely house and employ 425,000 Axis prisoners, many in rural communities in the South.
This is the first book-length examination of Tennessee’s role in the POW program, and how the influx of prisoners affected communities. Towns like Tullahoma transformed into military metropolises. Memphis received millions in defense spending. Paris had a secret barrage balloon base. The wooded Crossville camp housed German and Italian officers. Prisoners worked tobacco, lumber and cotton across the state. Some threatened escape or worse. When the program ended, more than 25,000 POWs lived and worked in Tennessee.

About the Author(s)

Antonio S. Thompson is a professor of history at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is the author of four books on World War II Axis prisoners of war in the United States, has co-edited two books on American military and diplomatic history, and has also published on zombie popular culture.

Bibliographic Details

Antonio S. Thompson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 255
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8167-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4879-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Chapter 1. War Comes to Tennessee 5
Chapter 2. The Grand Central Station of the Southern United States: Enemy Aliens, Axis Prisoners of War, and the U.S. Army Come to Tullahoma and Camp Forrest, Tennessee 23
Chapter 3. The Workhorse of POW Camps in the South: The Camp Forrest POW Camp and POW Hospital 44
Chapter 4. At the Crossroads of the Nation: The Memphis and Axis POWs at the Army Service Forces Depot and Kennedy General Hospital 73
Chapter 5. The Myriad Problems at the “Jap Camp”: German and Italian Prisoners of War at Camp Crossville, Tennessee, 1942–1946 114
Chapter 6. The Branches of the Trees: The Branch Camps Operated from Camp Forrest 148
Chapter 7. Trimming the Trees: Camp Closures, American and Axis Soldiers Go Home, and the Aftermath for Tennessee 177
Appendix 1 189
Appendix 2 192
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliography 231
Index 245