One of the misconceptions about the North Korean prisoner camps, where the extraordinary amount of brainwashing happening in them. The communists gave the American prisoners of war some reeducating. Brainwashing proved in the long run to be unproductive, but it did keep 21 Americans in camp. The American armed forces tried to find out what really happened with their own psychologists, but the information taken was inconclusive. Some of the POWs in the North Korean camps where corrupted with the communism toxin, which made a few of the men turn on their own friends and country. No Americans ever escaped from the Communism prison camps. The death rate was the highest in history, 38%.
Lt. Col. William E Mayer, one of the psychiatrists who participated in the interviewing and Eugene Kinkead, a free lance writer The revolution of the 1930s proved that the American adolescence church life and schooling was developing a good character in the childrens society, which intern translated itself onto the line of battle. Where the American POWs showed great weakness for the will to survive. As the author of the American Prisoners of War in Korea H. H. Wubben points out about the armed forces, The average soldier gave little concern to the conflicting values underlying the military struggle , , , and Although he showed a strong but tacit patriotism, this usually did not lead him in his thinking to subordinate his personal interests to the furtherance of ideal aims and values. The soldiers also faced bouts of apathy or depression which possibly led some of the troops to death. Kinkead-Mayer reported Failures in adjustment were most apparent in the 18-to-23-year-old group who had little or no previous experience and much overprotection.
Dr. Harold Wolff, a consultant to the Advisory committee reported that about 10% of the Americans didnt put up a fight or corresponded to the enemies requests. The escape rate was not impressive.
The Two aspects of the Korean POW story noted by the author H. H. Wubben. First, there is the fact that a poorly understood historical experience is interpreted in such a way that is makes a thoroughly inaccurate comparison between Americans past and Americans present. Second, there is the acceptance by the general public of this nonhistory as history, largely without the aid of historians. Wubben also mentions that these two aspects where recorded from the prisoners
The POWs where put into a grouping, depending how they reacted towards the North Koreans while in camp. 5% of the prisoners where resistors, 15% where the participators and the other 80% where the middlemen, which means that they a varied opinion on what stance they would take depending on the situation.
Morris Wills, one of the 21 POWs that escaped, testified on behalf of the animalistic approach. He acknowledged You really cant worry about the other fellow; you are at the line of existence yourself. If you go under that, you die. You would help each other if you could. Most would try; I wouldnt say all.
They chapter then discusses about the grueling march that the soldiers have to endure before they arrived to the prison camps. Captive British journalist Philip Deance said prisoners faced life or death under brutal march conditions. One of the Lieutenants pleaded with the North Korean soldiers to let a few of his men go, because he pleaded that they would die of exhaustion anyway. The Korean executed him on the spot.
Wubben wrote, by implication they blame most of the deaths on prisoner negligence, or worse, on loss of will to live, but five POW physicians noted differently. They wrote that Every prisoner or war in Korea who died had suffered form malnutrition, exposure to cold, and continued harassment by the Communists. One of the writers of the American POW behavior, Stanley Elkins wrote a similar story to the five soldiers. He was quoted in his writings by saying profound changes in behavior and values being effected without physical torture or extreme deprivation.
The conditions brought upon the American POWs where extremely brutal, which gave the American soldiers less energy and/or motivation to except from the prison camps.