By Daniel Krebs

ISBN-10: 0806148446

ISBN-13: 9780806148441

Some 37,000 squaddies from six German principalities, jointly remembered as Hessians, entered provider as British auxiliaries within the American warfare of Independence. now and then, they constituted a 3rd of the British military in North the United States, and hundreds of thousands of them have been imprisoned by way of the americans. regardless of the significance of Germans within the British struggle attempt, historians have principally ignored those males. Drawing on learn in German army files and customary infantrymen’ letters and diaries, Daniel Krebs locations the prisoners on middle level in A beneficiant and Merciful Enemy, portraying them as contributors instead of easily as numbers in casualty lists.

Setting his account within the context of British and eu politics and war, Krebs explains the motivations of the German states that supplied agreement squaddies for the British military. we expect of the Hessians as mercenaries, yet, as he exhibits, many have been conscripts. a few have been new recruits; others, veterans. a few desired to remain within the New international after the warfare. Krebs additional describes how the Germans have been made prisoners, both via seize or hand over, and brings to lifestyles their stories in captivity from New England to Havana, Cuba.

Krebs discusses legal stipulations intimately, addressing either the yankee method of struggle prisoners and the prisoners’ responses to their event. He assesses American efforts as a “generous and merciful enemy” to exploit the prisoners as monetary, army, and propagandistic resources. within the strategy, he by no means loses sight of the impression of imprisonment at the POWs themselves.

Adding new dimensions to a massive yet frequently ignored subject in army historical past, Krebs probes the origins of the trendy therapy of POWs. An epilogue describes an almost-forgotten 1785 treaty among the USA and Prussia, the 1st in western felony historical past to control the remedy of prisoners of war.

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