The Colditz Myth: British and Commonwealth Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany

Paperback | September 27, 2006

byS. P. MacKenzie

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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. Made famous in print, on film, and through television, Colditz remains apotent symbol of key virtues - including ingenuity and perseverance against apparantly overwhelming odds - that 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, anexperience in which escaping is assumed to be paramount and 'Outwitting the Hun' a universal sport. The story of Colditz has been told often and 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 Reich - fromthe 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, andeven 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 Real Colditz MacKenzie seeks, for the first time, to place Colditz - both the camp and the legend - in a wider historical context.

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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. Made famous in print, on film, and through television, Colditz remains apotent symbol of key virtues - including ingen...

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.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:450 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.03 inPublished:September 27, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199203075

ISBN - 13:9780199203079

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Colditz Phenomenon1. Capture and Interrogation2. Transit and Processing3. Compounds and Commandants4. Leaders and Followers5. Body and Soul6. Work and Play7. Reprisals and Rewards8. Allies and Aliens9. Patriots and Traitors10. Abiding and Escaping11. Exodus and Liberation12. Repatriation and AdjustmentConclusion: Farewell to Colditz?Notes on SourcesSelect Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

`MacKenzie's study is a fine piece of research and clearly reflects a historian deeply engaged with his subject. His approach is broad and yet detailed at the same time, and this book has increased our knowledge of the treatment of prisoners of was significantly'Mark Connelly, Twentieth Century British History