Term of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of History

Committee Chair

Brian K. Feltman

Committee Member 1

Eric Hall

Committee Member 2

William Allison


Studies of prisoners of war in America have received renewed attention since the opening of the prisoner facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. However, this is not a new field of scholarship. Since the 1970s, with Arnold Krammer’s Nazi Prisoners of War in America, American treatment of prisoners, especially during WWII,has flourished as a field. Increasingly popular in the 1980s were statewide studies of prisoner of war camps and the captive experience. Despite this focus, Georgia’s role in prisoner of war administration and the captive’s experiences have been overlooked. This thesis seeks to remedy this gap.

Georgia housed prisoners of war and enemy aliens in World War I, with two of the three containment facilities residing within the state’s borders. In World War II, the state boasted five major prisoner of war camps with several accompanying branch camps. The labor garnered from prisoner labor programs supplemented the draft-drained labor pool, especially in the agricultural industry in rural Georgia. The impact of the labor programs was undeniable, and prisoner of war labor prevented an economic downturn throughout the state. The prisoners oftentimes developed relationships with their employers, blurring the lines between enemy and captor.

The following study offers a comparative view of WWI and WWII programs, arguing that WWI prisoner of war plans provided the prototype for the successful administration of POWs in WWII.