Though only one among hundreds of prison camps in which British servicemen were held between 1939 and 1945, Colditz enjoys unparalleled name recognition both in Britain and in other parts of the English-speaking world. Colditz remains a potent symbol of key virtuesincluding ingenuity and perseverance against apparently overwhelming oddsthat form part of the popular mythology surrounding the British war effort in World War II. Colditz has played a major role in shaping perceptions of the POW experience in Nazi Germany, an experience in which escaping is assumed to be paramount and "Outwitting the Hun" a universal sport.
The story of Colditz has been told in a variety of forms but in this book MacKenzie chronicles the development of the Colditz myth and puts what happened inside the castle in the context of British and Commonwealth POW life in Germany as a whole. Being a captive of the Third Reichfrom the moment of surrender down to the day of liberation and repatriation was more complicated and a good deal tougher than the popular myth would suggest. The physical and mental demands of survival far outweighed escaping activity in order of importance in most camps almost all of the time, and even in Colditz the reality was in some respects very different from the almost Boy's Own caricature that developed during the post-war decades. In The Colditz Myth MacKenzie seeks,for the first time,to place Colditzboth the camp and the legend in a wider historical context.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||9.00(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
S. P. MacKenzie is the author of several previous works on Britain in the Second World War, including The Home Guard (OUP, 1995) and Politics and Military Morale (OUP, 1992), winner of the Templer Medal. He is currently Professor of History at the University of South Carolina.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Colditz Phenomenon
1. Capture and Interrogation
2. Transit and Processing
3. Compounds and Commandants
4. Leaders and Followers
5. Body and Soul
6. Work and Play
7. Reprisals and Rewards
8. Allies and Aliens
9. Patriots and Traitors
10. Abiding and Escaping
11. Exodus and Liberation
12. Repatriation and Adjustment
Conclusion: Farewell to Colditz?
Notes on Sources