By Noam Chomsky
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Extra info for After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology (The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume 2)
33 This procedure was regarded as an indication of the deep moral principle of the victors. The same is true of current reaction to the Allied treatment of captured POWs. In Britain, there were some 400,000 German POWs. By Autumn 1944 they were being used for forced laborasa form of "reparations". Repatriation began in September 1946 and continued until the summer of 1948, over three years after the German surrender. After the war, too, the POWs spent the harsh winter of 1945-1946 in tents in violation of the 1929 Geneva Convention.
But no such justification can be brought to bear on the treatment of German POWs by the United States. "36 "The reeducation program," she notes, "adopted at the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt, was undoubtedly a violation of the spirit of the Geneva Convention's provisions against denationalization. It was a massive multimedia effort to bring about a democratic trend among the prisoners which would not only change their views but could also provide a vanguard for redirecting postwar Germany" and "to return the men to Christian practices" (2, 110-1).
It is not impossible that many of the statements used were the product of leading questions. Incomplete versions of actual events were the basis of the report. In addition, this official report of the British government dignified a great many old wives' tales and considerable barrack-room gossip (pp. 53-54). Of one story, Peterson notes, "This, of course, is but a rewrite of a standard wartime atrocity story. Senator Cullen of Nebraska used it in 1898" (p. 55). Of another, "This story is undoubtedly the work of someone's feverish imagination" (p.
After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology (The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume 2) by Noam Chomsky