Get Out of P.O.W. Camp Free?

A few weeks back we linked to a blog post describing the optimal strategy in the game Monopoly.

This fascinating article by Brian McMahon describes how the game of Monopoly was used during World War II to aid in the escape of Allied POWs.

(Is it just me, or does it seem from reading the story that this was an incredibly risky strategy — the Monopoly boxes contained maps that showed where Allied safe-houses were located within Nazi controlled areas. Wouldn’t it be a disaster if some of these maps were confiscated by the Nazis? Allied soldiers who were going off to fight were being told to look out for the specially-marked Monopoly boxes. All you needed was one traitor or P.O.W. to confess under torture, and the Nazis would know to intercept the Monopoly games.)

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  1. TruePath says:

    It would make sense if you assume the maps were only maps of the area that listed useful (but non-secret) like train stations, communication lines then if the Nazis discovered the maps they wouldn’t allow them to seize any hidden resources.

    In this case the cost of detection is virtually zero so why not pass these out. As far as being discovered you could be more helpful by telling only your actual pilots (and not spys who if caught were not covered by the geneva contention)

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  2. TruePath says:

    It would make sense if you assume the maps were only maps of the area that listed useful (but non-secret) like train stations, communication lines then if the Nazis discovered the maps they wouldn’t allow them to seize any hidden resources.

    In this case the cost of detection is virtually zero so why not pass these out. As far as being discovered you could be more helpful by telling only your actual pilots (and not spys who if caught were not covered by the geneva contention)

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  3. Enrico says:

    Germans did not torture any POWs, and in fact airmen were treated better than according to the Geneva conventions, due to the sense of honour of Mr. Goering, a former fighter pilot.

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  4. Enrico says:

    Germans did not torture any POWs, and in fact airmen were treated better than according to the Geneva conventions, due to the sense of honour of Mr. Goering, a former fighter pilot.

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  5. Martin Seebach says:

    The article says that all troops sent to the front were told about the Monopoly games – and since 35.000 escaped, likely many more were caught.
    But it would take only one to squeal to shut down the whole operation.. Sounds risky to me, but it’s not like I have a better idea.

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  6. Martin Seebach says:

    The article says that all troops sent to the front were told about the Monopoly games – and since 35.000 escaped, likely many more were caught.
    But it would take only one to squeal to shut down the whole operation.. Sounds risky to me, but it’s not like I have a better idea.

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  7. frankenduf says:

    the original plan, which was scrapped, was to send each POW a chocolate cake, with a gun in it, and 6 chocolate chip cookies, with a bullet in each

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  8. frankenduf says:

    the original plan, which was scrapped, was to send each POW a chocolate cake, with a gun in it, and 6 chocolate chip cookies, with a bullet in each

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