Oh we can beat them-forever and ever"
According to a CNN article, “The U.S. Army says it will honor the "heroism and sacrifice" of 350 U.S. soldiers who were held as slaves by Nazi Germany during World War II.”
When I first watched the movie ‘Stalag 17’ on television long time ago my biggest surprise was contrary to what we had been told about the suffering in the concentration camps, being a captive American soldier in a Nazi camp is not horrific as what had happened to the Jews. (Think about William Holden who playfully trades with his German colleagues). In this type of movies (Stalag 17, The Great Escape or more recently as in Hart's War) the American soldier do not only manage to preserve their physical dignity but boldly confront their guardians both ideologically and psychologically. On the other hand, the hideous Nazi officers who do not refrain from ruthlessly torturing and liquidating Jews in various techniques are reluctant to disregard the provisions of Geneva Conventions in respect of American soldier, possibly by the reason of their hesitation against the capability of American individual to improvise cunning ploys when the things get complicated. It is not an unfounded delusion though since all these movies end up with practical American civility outsmarting, outplaying the collective stupidity of German idealism.
I think the reason why American army had covered the actual conditions of its soldiers in the Nazi camps in all these years is to prevent the damage to the eternal dignity and courage of the soldier who is the embodiment of the collective universal American. But unfortunately as the American soldier has traversed to the other side of the shame finally, the only way to save his appearance is to reverse the image and reflect his humane-mortal face. This is way the U.S army suddenly decided to disclose the outworn secrets.
As I understand, in the WW2 era, one of the prominent images in the U.S was the monstrous Japanese rapist targeting white American female:
It is no surprise that Turks have been told once in a while that how treacherous Armenians raped and brutally butchered pregnant Turkish women in the unguarded villages of Anatolia. But it is all right as it and the illustrations above demonstrates our humane individual vulnerability against the strictly organized brutality of the enemy. But what happens if the enemy rape or transform our soldier to their slave? Total humiliation: It would be like to rape a nation all together. The tolerable fate of the soldier is heroic martyrdom and immorality but not to be enslaved by the enemy, this is why the Turkish state welcomed the freed soldiers as if they are disgraceful traitors and shameless cowards. Later it was revealed that some of them are people of Kurdish ethnic background, i.e. they don’t deserve to be a Turkish soldier in the first place.