German prisoners of war in the United States

Camp Swift entrance during World War II

Camp Swift entrance during World War II

The German prisoners of war in the United States were citizens and that the German military during the First and the Second World War, were interned in various camps.

The First World War

The entry into the war of the United States during the First World War came about months before the end of the conflict and therefore only a relatively small number of German prisoners of war were deported to America. Most of the Imperial Navy sailors were captured away from the battlefield in Europe.

During the Great War the War Department of the United States identified three locations where create prison camps Fort McPherson and Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia and Fort Douglas, Utah. In the latter were held 406 German prisoners at Fort McPherson while there were 1,373. The few Germans who died during his imprisonment were buried in the cemeteries of Chattanooga and Fort Lyon, Colorado, or at Fort Douglas (Utah).

The Second World War

Following the entry of the U.S. into World War II in 1941, the British Government asked America to transfer thousands of German prisoners of war. The ‘American army, however, was unprepared to handle this situation is due to a limited amount of training in this field is the lack of adequate logistical structures. In addition, the U.S. government feared that this could create public concern and safety issues.

Overall, during the Second World War, about 425,000 German prisoners of war were interned in camps 700 located in 46 states. However, this is only an estimate and may not take into account structures used temporarily or “branches” of the main areas.


In compliance with the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government paid a salary to prisoners of war and allowed those who wished to work in farms or factories to be paid.

The living conditions in the camps have been called “strict but fair-minded” and less than 1% of the prisoners tried to escape (also because the chances of being able to go back to Germany were very remote).

Germany in World War I

Contemporary History

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