By Larry Romanoff
June 01, 2020
This story has all the requirements to qualify for a conspiracy theory, and may not make sense to you without some background for context.
Prior to the US entering WWI, an enormous years-long anti-German propaganda campaign was unleashed by the Creel Commission, headed by Walter Lippman and Edward Bernays, the latter being a nephew of Sigmund Freud. (1) (2) Public literature attacked everything German in America, including schools and churches. In many schools the German language was forbidden to be taught to “pure Americans”, and administrators were urged to fire “all disloyal teachers”, meaning any Germans. The names of countless towns and cities were changed to eliminate their German origin: Berlin, Iowa became Lincoln, Iowa. German foods and food names were purged from restaurants; sauerkraut became ‘liberty cabbage’; dachshunds became ‘liberty dogs’ and German Shepherds became ‘Alsatians’.
All American orchestras were ordered to eliminate from their performances any music by classic German composers like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. Public libraries removed and (most often) burned all books by German authors, philosophers and historians. In some states, the use of the German language was prohibited in public and on the telephone. German professors were fired from their universities, German-language or German-owned local newspapers were denied advertising revenue, constantly harassed, and often forced out of business. The patriotic Boy Scouts of America contributed to the effort by regularly burning bundles of German newspapers that were on sale, and Germans were regularly insulted and spat upon by other citizens. Germans were forced to gather in public meetings and denounce Germany and its leaders, forced to purchase war bonds and publicly declare their allegiance to the US flag.
As the rhetoric reached dangerous levels, the anti-German hysteria and violence increased proportionately. Many Germans were forcibly removed from their homes, often torn from their beds during the night, taken out into the street and stripped naked, beaten and whipped, then forced to kneel and kiss the American flag. Many were tarred and feathered, then forced to leave their cities or towns. Some were lynched from trees. Priests and pastors were dragged out of their churches and beaten for giving sermons in German.
Newspaper editors were screaming that all Germans were spies poisoning American water supplies or infecting hospital medical shipments, and that most “ought to be taken out at sunrise and shot for treason”. Congressmen recommended hanging or otherwise executing all Germans in America, State Governors urging the use of firing squads to eliminate “the disloyal element” from the entire state. The US Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels stated that Americans would “put the fear of God into the hearts” of these people. Most Americans are aware that during the national hysteria of the Second World War the US government forced more than 100,000 US-born Japanese into concentration camps, but history has deleted the fact that many more Germans were interned in concentration camps in the US prior to and during the First War, and in all cases had all their assets seized.
With all of this and much more, America was a hotbed of hatred for the entire German population. After the Second World War, Germany was widely accused of using propaganda against the Jews, while our history books have airbrushed out the massive and unspeakably evil storm of hate propaganda in America against Germans prior to and during WWII. There were thousands of posters and articles containing lurid descriptions of fake atrocities, newspaper articles, cartoons and so much more, but the historical record of this years-long tapestry of lies and hate has been quite well buried. It is possible to find copies on the internet of many wartime posters, but this collection has been well sanitised with virtually all of the genuinely evil and dirty productions apparently lost to history. The narrative today in the history books casually dismisses all of this as “an innovative use of graphic arts to stir patriotism”, but it was hatred rather than patriotism that was being stirred.
The propaganda incited an intense hatred for everything German, to ease US entry into the First World War. It was not different during the Second World War, and the propaganda/hate campaign was not limited to the US. In 1940, the UK government initiated what it called an “anger campaign” with the stated cause of “instilling personal hatred against the German people and Germany”, the authorities pleased that the original 6% of the British population that ‘hated Germany’ increased to over 50% by the end of the campaign. The radio waves were full of descriptions of the “cruelty and blackness of the German soul”. There were articles in the British newspapers advocating the “systematic extermination of the entire German nation” to be carried out after the war ended. Thus, after victory over Germany, every person of German extraction was to be executed and the nation of Germany itself to disappear forever. (3)
It wasn’t only the US and UK where this hatred of Germans was being propagated. Germans in every nation were vehemently portrayed as evil incarnate, this nature stemming simply from the fact of their being of German origin. In countries all around the world, the media spread the same message of hatred against Germany and the Germans. In Brazil, anti-German demonstrations and riots consumed the country, with German businesses being destroyed and Germans being assaulted and killed. In almost every nation, the German-language press and use of the German language completely disappeared during the war from fear of reprisal, as did all German schools and most businesses. None re-opened.
Throughout the world, as in the US, false wartime propaganda was used as during both World Wars to incite entire populations into an irrational hatred of everything German, even to the extent of powerful media recommendations that the entire German race be exterminated after the war. The American public in particular was as full of hatred for things German during the Second World War as they were during the First World War; on both occasions to the extent there was a significant movement to exterminate all those of German descent in the US.
It was in this context that Eisenhower so famously said, “God, how I hate Germans”, and it was in this context that 12 million Germans died in American concentration camps in Germany AFTER the war. As James Bacque discovered, the Americans killed between 8 million and 12 million Germans in American concentration camps in Germany. Perhaps two million were executed, and the rest died by starvation, it being a capital offense to even attempt to bring food to the prisoners. (4) (5) (6)
The US was a hotbed of hatred for everything German during the Second World War as well as during the first. Germany and Germans had been so reviled in the US for decades that most Americans possessed an instinctive fear and hatred of them. Those memories so fervently instilled by the propaganda machine, did not dissipate quickly but lingered for many years, so much so that even after the war it was actually dangerous for an American to say anything positive or complimentary toward either Germany or German people. Anyone expressing even tolerance or sympathy for Germans was very liable to find himself in prison. The above forms the context for what follows. We can now fast-forward to the end of World War II and the American concentration camps in Germany.
Concentration Camps in America
It was in this context that the US military established around 700 concentration camps for Germans in the US, prisons which housed nearly 500,000 German so-called “Prisoners Of War” who were forcibly shipped from the concentration camps in Germany to the US during the later stages and also after the war ended. The official reasons given for this enterprise were varied and conflicting. The original government claim stated an insufficiency of food in Germany so the US military shipped these prisoners to America to better feed them. A later claim was of insufficient space remaining in Germany for more American concentration camps, so these civilians were relocated to the US. Another was that the prisoners filled the country’s need for extra farm labor. (7) (8)
This topic has understandably received little attention from the US media, and the pages in the history book are mostly blank. My first impression on reading the few articles that exist was, given the more or less uniform commentary and context, that an official template had been followed, though I have been unable to locate it. Wikipedia claims that “Newspaper coverage of the camps and public knowledge [of them] were intentionally limited until the end of the war, in part to comply with the Geneva Convention.” Maybe, but I am aware of no stipulation in any convention, Geneva or otherwise, prohibiting public knowledge of concentration camps. Let’s begin by taking a brief look at the lives of these German prisoners while encamped in the USA.
Several of the published articles present what is purported to be quotations from letters written by German prisoners to their families, letters apparently mailed to Germany. From the September 2009 issue of the Atlantic magazine, (from a letter purportedly mailed to Germany in 1944): “All in all, our life here is very orderly. We sleep in beds which have white covers and we eat with knives and forks. Up till now, we were treated excellently.” Another quoted in the Atlantic: “I am really in a golden cage.” And another: “When I was taken prisoner, I visualized a life of horror but it is quite different.”
The Atlantic article tells us: “The POWs were overwhelmed by the excellent conditions in the camps and the abundance of food and other articles”, further claiming the existence of “countless letters” from Americans resenting the fact that “there are German prisoners here and they live better than we do.” Texas A&M history professor Arnold Krammer tells us “German POWs were treated very well. … they were given wine and beer with every meal.” Wikipedia tells us, “Many prisoners found that their living conditions as prisoners were better than as civilians in Germany”, and that some prisoners were sent to a camp, where “each had his own bungalow with garden.” Also according to Wikipedia, they received wine with all their meals, had special meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and in fact received too much food: “Unable to eat all their food, prisoners at first burned leftover food fearing that their rations would be reduced.” (9)
Loren Horton confirms that the German prisoners “got more rationed items – like cigarettes – than the civilians in the area could get”, and that many Americans believed “the prisoners had more luxuries than the average citizen”. Wikipedia claims further that “Groups of prisoners pooled their daily beer coupons to take turns drinking several at a time. They also received two packs of cigarettes a day and frequently meat”, noting as have others that meat and cigarettes were strongly rationed at the time, and unavailable to most American civilians. Wikipedia further tells us that for these German prisoners, “their good treatment began with the substantial meals served aboard (the ships carrying them to the US)”, and that upon arriving in America they were amazed to travel in unusual comfort on “sleek, comfortable passenger trains” that carried them to their prison camps.
Someone named John Ray Skates wrote an article claiming “The high ranking generals had special housing [while] lower ranking officers had to content themselves with small apartments”, some officers having not only a private home but furnished also with a car and driver. He also tells us that at least some officers often went to movie theaters because they were “the only air-conditioned place in town”. Skates tells us further that these prison camps “had most of the facilities and services that could be found in a small town – dentists, doctors, libraries, movies, educational facilities”. And not only educational facilities. Horton tells us “the prisoners formed their own orchestras”, and that “a massive nativity scene was constructed at Christmas time” by the prisoners who “paid for the materials from their 80 cents per day credits. They had more than $8,000!” They even had sports teams, and printed their own newspapers. Wikipedia tells us that “nobody could become bored” as a prisoner since these German prisoners “held frequent theatrical and musical performances attended by hundreds and even thousands” of people, including the entire local citizenry and all their American guards, and that movies were shown four times each week. (10)
According to the Smithsonian magazine, the prisoners to a man claimed such excellent treatment that their only complaint was the lack of sufficient girl friends. (11) But then the men in many camps held “social receptions” with local American girls, this “unauthorized fraternization between American women and German prisoners” being so common as to often be a problem. Apparently this wasn’t all bad because in this way many German soldiers met their future wives. Part of the problem appears to have been the natural attractiveness of German men, at least to American women. The Atlantic magazine article claimed these men were often described as “magnificent physical specimens, physically supreme, muscular types”, and “fine specimens of physical manhood.”
As well, “typical Americans” described these German prisoners as “just the best bunch of boys you ever saw”, “uniformly neat, excessively polite, splendidly disciplined, these young men are – frankly – hard to dislike.” The Atlantic also tells us that “grateful Americans” (no idea why they were grateful) “often showed their appreciation by inviting the German prisoners to restaurants and even their homes for dinner.” These warm feelings apparently prevailed to such an extent the Inspector General wrote that Americans were too “apt to become overly friendly and solicitous of the prisoner’s welfare.” All articles claim the prisoners were more or less free to come and go as they pleased and, while a few tried to escape, this was never a concern, the prison camps having little to no security so as to permit the Germans to leave the camp for their day jobs.
A Ronald H. Bailey informs us that the Germans adjusted wonderfully to prison life, where the “guards marveled at the changes” in the men, keeping their compounds so neat, and where “The prisoners appeared in high spirits. They spent hours creating large and well-tended flower beds.” Wikipedia tells us that the Germans were “pleased to be captured” by the Americans, and stated Krammer as reporting that “I’ve yet to meet a German prisoner who doesn’t tell me that it was the time of their lives”. Krammer claims the Germans left the US “with positive feelings about the country”, the men stating, “We all were positively impressed by the USA … We all had been won over to friendly relations with the USA.”
It seems that the wonderful treatment by the Americans “inadvertently defanged” any Nazi sentiment and created half a million “Little Ambassadors” for America. This was true in part because the Germans realised that the “rabid, anti-American propaganda” they had received, “didn’t fit what they saw in America”. But, and much more importantly, “all German POWs learned by example what democracy looked like on a daily, personal basis.” Krammer tells us further that due to these and other factors, “thousands returned to Germany fluent in English and “having a new love and respect for the United States”, having formed “decades long friendships with the enemy”.” Skates tells us that over the years since the war, many German prisoners have returned to the US for the purpose of seeing the camps they lived in as young men, and were uniformly “sad” to learn the camps had all been torn down after the war. He tells us these men are now “very old” but they still return to the US “to remember their experience” as prisoners. (12)
We even apparently have documented evidence of all this. In 2001 and 2002, a research team from a group named TRACES claims to have filmed over 75 hours of interviews with former German prisoners or their family members, and have apparently seen copies of cheques issued by the US Military and payable to German prisoners returning home, and Krammer has apparently written several books on the matter. Not only that, but the US government held a kind of memorial celebration in 2004, to “salute the hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war taken to camps in the United States during World War II.”
That’s a good story, but there are a few chinks in the armor.
None of the official statements establish a reason for incarcerating German civilians in the US for years after the end of the war. To suggest that Germany had no space for more prisons is ridiculous nonsense since the US military simply established them in fenced open fields without shelter or protection of any kind. The claim about the shortage of food is true, but that was because the Americans refused to permit food imports to postwar Germany, the stated aim being to starve Germany to death, and Eisenhower ordered the immediate execution of anyone attempting to smuggle food to the prisoners. If Eisenhower was deliberately starving millions to death in Germany, and it is beyond dispute that he was, why would he want to bring them to the US so as “to better feed them”?
What reason could the US government have, to incur the expense of transporting half a million Germans across the Atlantic, then feeding and housing them for years? Why not simply let them die with the others? General Eisenhower, the same man who had made no secret in telling the country, “God, how I hate Germans”, and who had organised and supervised the extermination of more than 12 million of them, had now moved from the battlefields into the White House and built 700 “Golden cages” for these same people, with rations, privileges, and girlfriends that apparently far exceeded those available to ordinary Americans. In what way does this story make sense?
The official narrative is that the last shipment of German prisoners left the US on July 22, 1946, that the men were returned to Germany, but I have been unable to locate any confirmation of these prisoners actually having left the US. Certainly it is possible that official and public records exist which I have not discovered, but the export of half a million prisoners in a short space of time from only two or three possible locations on the US Eastern seaboard is more than nothing in terms of public events since it would have required at least 100 to 150 ships, yet I have been unable to locate any media or other public evidence of this. The only real facts I could uncover were brief stories about camps being emptied in the middle of the night, the locals being told the prisoners had been ‘transferred’, and to not ask questions.
Recognising the difficulty in proving that something didn’t happen, I turned my attention to a search for evidence that the Germans did indeed arrive in Germany as the US narrative claims, but I could find not a shred of evidence that such a transfer occurred. Neither Germany nor the Red Cross (who would have been involved in all such transfers) appear to have any record of any transfer of personnel from the US after the war. And as James Bacque pointed out, the German ports had all been bombed to rubble and would have been unable to accept such transfers. As well, in my conversations with Bacque, he claimed an examination of all military records and troop movements and had seen no transfers of Germans from the US to anywhere.
The Atlantic magazine contradicted the official version and claimed they were instead turned over to the UK and France for what would have been years of punishing forced labor almost certainly ending in death, claiming that for the prisoners, this was a “modern slave trade on the grandest scale” (not a nice way to treat “the best bunch of boys you ever saw”). But from the detailed research by James Bacque and other sources of information, there appears no record of prisoners arriving from the US anywhere in either the UK or Europe after the war. Further, of all my media, historical, university, and other contacts in Germany, only one person was even aware of the existence of German concentration camps in the USA. I was unable to find anyone with any knowledge of half a million Germans arriving from the US after the war, and absolutely no record or evidence of such a transfer.
The US military, led by General Eisenhower, established enormous concentration camps throughout Germany, some containing more than one million soldiers and civilians each, and executed or starved to death around 12 million, most deaths occurring long after the war had ended. Eisenhower had forbidden food to be delivered to the camps, issuing orders to shoot and kill anyone attempting to smuggle food to the prisoners. Coincidentally, the US military transported to the US some 500,000 German soldiers (from these same camps) to be interned in concentration camps where they would join large numbers of German-Americans and their families who were imprisoned and had their assets confiscated, also for the sin of being German. All this done under the command of Eisenhower who, as noted above, had now transferred to the White House.
But now something strange happens. These same Germans living under the same watchful eye of Eisenhower and still in the atmosphere of seemingly limitless hatred for Germans, were now suddenly living “in a golden cage”, in private bungalows, with cars and drivers, “social receptions” with local American girls, all the beer they could drink and movies at least four days a week. Instead of being worked and starved to death, they had so much food they would burn it for fear of having their rations reduced. And rather than being treated poorly, they had “more luxuries than the average American citizen”, especially for items that were heavily rationed. These wonderful “physical specimens” were cavorting with American girls and meeting their future wives, beloved by all Americans while discovering the blessings of democracy. They had their own orchestras and put on performances attended by “thousands of people”, this while all German music, composers and authors were banned by the US government in all other parts of the country. And they printed their own newspapers in German while German books and newspapers were also banned in the entire US.
Every part of the official narrative begs to be disbelieved. I do not have all the facts, but a hatred stoked continuously among the American population from at least 1914, and shared by the President and military, would not be expected to lend itself to keeping Germans in a golden cage. Roughly 500,000 Germans were indeed shipped to the US but I can find no record of them having left and there is no record of them arriving anywhere else. German Americans had their assets confiscated and were imprisoned in these same camps with their families and none permitted to leave, yet our German physical specimens were apparently free to come and go as they pleased, often to have dinner at the homes of loving Americans, and accumulating substantial assets in the interim.
I would point out that the “one small group” of prisoners who accumulated “$8,000” in cash would have to be fictitious since the median annual income for Americans at the time was only about $1,400. Moreover, the German-Americans interned in these camps were not being paid while their assets were being confiscated, and those in the concentration camps in Germany certainly weren’t being paid, so why were these men given daily prisoner stipends? As well, why would the Atlantic contradict the official narrative of a return to Germany, claiming instead they were sent to France to be worked to death as slaves and, if that were the case, how could they return to the US to be filled with joy at seeing their former prisons?
As documented by several sources, in 1943, the US military initiated a “formal reeducation program” for German prisoners, led by university professors, psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as those who would later form the CIA. Wikipedia tells us “the program was kept secret because it probably violated the Geneva Convention’s ban on exposing prisoners to propaganda”, but the prisoners may have been exposed to more than propaganda. You will need to study the CIA’s Project MK-ULTRA to have a proper appreciation of this. It would seem reasonable to conclude these re-educated Germans did not consider their time in America to be “the best time of their lives”, and also likely that these “fine specimens of physical manhood” were introduced to more than the wonders of democracy.
I can only speculate at this point but without substantial – and credible – official documentation, as well as media coverage, of the shipment of nearly 500,000 men from an American port, I am reluctant to accept claims that these men actually left the US. And with the lack of any evidence from official military records and the International Red Cross, it is pointless to assume they arrived anywhere else.
There are two other items which appear a necessary part of this puzzle. First, the events described above coincide perfectly in time with the US military’s explosive interest in human experimentation. Readers may be aware of Shiro Ishii and his Unit 731 in Harbin, China, where his group performed the most hideous human experiments imaginable, including live vivisections. (13) (14) Few seem to know that the reason there were no war crimes trials for the Japanese is that General Douglas MacArthur made a deal with Ishii that they would all be immune from prosecution if all documents and records on human experimentation were turned over to the US and Ishii and his entire troop of thousands would be relocated to America. This is what transpired, with the Japanese given new identities and housed on US military bases, Ishii himself being a professor and a supervisor of biological research at the University of Maryland until his death decades later. Second, these activities coincide perfectly with the creation of the CIA’s horrendous MK-ULTRA program which was nothing if not “human experimentation” of the worst kind imaginable. (15) There isn’t room to dwell further on these two aspects here.
When we add together the killing of about 12 million Germans in American concentration camps after the war, then Shiro Ishii and his Unit 731 troop, the US military’s sudden and vast interest in human experimentation, and the CIA MK-ULTRA project, and add in the intense hatred of Germans throughout America, stoked almost continuously for more than 30 years, with prominent politicians calling for the execution of all Germans in the US, this is the atmosphere and environment into which the 500,000 German prisoners were forcibly transferred to the US, and it is their “Golden cages” which were so often mysteriously emptied during a night. There is also the question of the German-Americans interned in the same camps. Their internment is documented, and the natural assumption has been made that they were all released at some point, but I have seen no evidence to substantiate this assumption and, given the existing sentiment that all those of German extract in the country should be executed, we may be forgiven for wondering about their well-being.
I find myself coming away from this story with an unshakable feeling that this is a very black chapter in American history which has been fearfully buried and whose interment is being protected by powerful people and fabricated mythology. To date, I cannot conclusively prove or disprove the thesis that the 500,000 German prisoners incarcerated in the US were used as subjects in the vast array of human experiments being performed at that time. However, from everything I know, negating all the circumstantial evidence would be a daunting task. And, at the risk of sounding foolishly trite, if it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it makes noises like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
(1) Propaganda: Edward Bernays: 9789563100921: Amazon.com; https://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Edward-Bernays/dp/9563100921
(2) WWI Propaganda: The Bryce Report, Edward Bernays; www.revisionist.net/hysteria/cpi-propaganda.html
(3) The psychological tricks used to help win World War Two – BBC; http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20161021-the-psychological-tricks-used-to-help-win-world-war-two
(4) James Bacque – Best-selling author; https://www.jamesbacque.com
(5) Wikipedia Zionists Attack Honest Historian James Bacque; https://rense.com/general73/wiki.htm
(6) Other Losses by James Bacque – Internet Archive; https://archive.org/details/OtherLosses_201608
(7) German prisoners of war in the United States – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_prisoners_of_war_in_the_United_States
(8) List of World War II prisoner-of-war camps in the United States: https://military.wikia.org/wiki/List_of_World_War_II_prisoner-of-war_camps_in_the_United_States
(9) Nazi Prisoners of War in America; https://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Prisoners-America-Arnold-Krammer/product-reviews/0812885619
(10) An excerpt from an article by John Ray Skates; www.newsouthernview.com/pages/nsv_shm_pows_camp_clinton.html
(11) German POWs on the American Homefront; https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/german-pows-on-the-american-homefront-141009996/
(12) Preserving America’s World War II POW Camps; https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2018/04
(11) Pure Evil: Wartime Japanese Doctor Had No Regard for human suffering; https://www.medicalbag.com/home/features/despicable-doctors/pure-evil-wartime-japanese-doctor-had-no-regard-for-human-suffering/
(12) [PDF] General Ishii Shiro: His Legacy is That of Genius and Madman; https://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2167&context=etd
(13) MKULTRA – RationalWiki; https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/MKULTRA
Larry Romanoffis a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.