POWs on the Plains

Each day, KHC  features the hot topics and great speakers in the Speakers Bureau catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “From Fatherland to Farmland: German POWs in the Great Plains” by Matthew Thompson.

German POWs, 1945

German POWs, 1945

Some German soldiers predicted Allied victory in World War II based on unlikely evidence: meals served on Kansas dinner tables. When German POWs working as laborers on farms near Concordia discovered that American civilians were eating better than German front-line soldiers, they knew immediately that the war was not going in Germany’s favor.

Matthew ThompsonMatthew Thompson, a registrar at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, points out small details such as this in his compelling Speakers Bureau presentation about German POWs who were detained in prison camps throughout Kansas. By virtue of their work on the farms and the close proximity visitors shared with their guards and local populations, both groups had ample opportunity to learn about one another and even develop friendships. Thompson’s talk explores the politics of and reasons for the prison camps, the culture of these camps, the treatment of the prisoners, and how curious townspeople saw firsthand that they had more in common with their captured foes than they might have imagined.

Bring Matthew Thompson’s “From Fatherland to Farmland: German POWs in the Great Plains” or one of the other presentations in the Speakers Bureau catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC program officer, for more information.