Prisoner of war studies have largely focused their research on the experiences of the men and women within their captor countries. Although some country-specific work has been done regarding prisoner of war policy, there has been a significant gap in research regarding prisoner of war policy during the Second World War. This research focuses on the convergence of prisoner of war policy and diplomatic relations between Great Britain, Canada, and the United States during the shackling reprisals with Germany from 1942-43. The shackling reprisals represented the first conjunction of the three nations in diplomatic relations with Germany over the issue of prisoner of war policy. In addition, as the first instance of prisoner of war diplomacy with Germany for both the United States and Canada, the shackling reprisals signified the entrance of the Canadian and United States governments into prisoner of war diplomacy with Germany during the Second World War. The shackling of prisoners of war became a source of tension between the Allies because of the nature of each nation's role in the incident and conflicting perspectives of the three governments on the issue. Through the examination of the Canadian, British, and United States' foreign correspondence, domestic and individual leaders' accounts, as well as the provisions of the prisoner of war conventions in effect at the time, a detailed analysis of the interaction of the three governments over prisoner of war policy and diplomacy during the shackling reprisals will be accomplished. During the shackling reprisals, prisoner of war policy was based on the relationships between the British, Canadian, and United States governments, individual leaders and their respective interests. This work adds yet another dimension to the fragmentary field of prisoner of war and military history by focusing on the top tiers of British, Canadian, and United States military and government, ultimately fueling further research in international POW studies.


Lori Lahlum

First Committee Member

Matthew Loayza

Second Committee Member

Margaretta Handke

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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