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Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War: Britain, France and Germany, 1914–1920

Heather Jones
Cambridge University Press (June 2011)

In this groundbreaking new study, Heather Jones provides the first in-depth and comparative examination of violence against First World War prisoners. She shows how the war radicalised captivity treatment in Britain, France and Germany, dramatically undermined international law protecting prisoners of war and led to new forms of forced prisoner labour and reprisals, which fuelled wartime propaganda that was often based on accurate prisoner testimony.

This book reveals how, during the conflict, increasing numbers of captives were not sent to home front camps but retained in western front working units to labour directly for the British, French and German armies - in the German case, by 1918, prisoners working for the German army endured widespread malnutrition and constant beatings. Dr Jones examines the significance of these new, violent trends and their later legacy, arguing that the Great War marked a key turning-point in the twentieth century evolution of the prison camp.

  • Dr Heather Jones is a lecturer in international history at LSE.

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Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War