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Chad Timm: Working with the Enemy

February 23 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Working with the Enemy: German, Italian and Japanese Prisoners of War in Iowa during the Second World War
As part of a relatively quiet and under-publicized government program, thousands of enemy soldiers invaded Iowa in 1943. With the hugely successful 1942 Allied campaign against Adolf Hitler’s vaunted Afrika Corps in North Africa, the number of enemy prisoners of war (POW) needing interment grew dramatically. Great Britain, no longer able to accommodate the increasing number of POWs, looked to the United States for help. Helping with the detainment of enemy POWs made sense, as American cargo vessels were returning home after delivering war materials with empty hulls.

What began as an experiment in isolated locations in the south and southwest eventually led to more than 500 camps and 400,000 enemy soldiers interned in the United States, including two camps in the state of Iowa. Due to a severe shortage of agricultural laborers coupled with increased War Food Administration quotas for farm goods, Iowa’s farmers needed help doing their part to assist the United States in winning the war.


February 23
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Mason City Public Library, 225 2nd St SE, Mason City, IA 50401, USA