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. Patrick says:

    For the posters commenting that Allied POWs held by Germany fared fairly well, this only holds true for the Western Allies. For example, Polish and Russian POWs often experienced brutal and barbaric treatment, not to mention a massive amount of summary execution. While Germany did follow the Geneva convention with respect to Western POWs, it largely ignored Geneva with respect to its Eastern POWs. (The USSR had not yet ratified Geneva III, which covers treatment of POWs, by the time of the war, but that did not let Germany off the hook: Geneva III binds signatories to adhere to the rules unless its non-signatory opponent is not in adherence.)

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  2. Patrick says:

    For the posters commenting that Allied POWs held by Germany fared fairly well, this only holds true for the Western Allies. For example, Polish and Russian POWs often experienced brutal and barbaric treatment, not to mention a massive amount of summary execution. While Germany did follow the Geneva convention with respect to Western POWs, it largely ignored Geneva with respect to its Eastern POWs. (The USSR had not yet ratified Geneva III, which covers treatment of POWs, by the time of the war, but that did not let Germany off the hook: Geneva III binds signatories to adhere to the rules unless its non-signatory opponent is not in adherence.)

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  3. bhessert says:

    A Link from The Onion:
    Monopoly Releases Special ‘Regular Monopoly’ Edition
    http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/monopoly_releases_special

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  4. bhessert says:

    A Link from The Onion:
    Monopoly Releases Special ‘Regular Monopoly’ Edition
    http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/monopoly_releases_special

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  5. Drew says:

    Placing “contraband” such as escape tools into packages delivered under the auspices of the International Red Cross would have been a violation of its rules. Had the Germans discovered such contraband hidden inside Red Cross packages they would have been well within their rights to withhold further deliveries to Allied P.O.W.s.

    I believe that the real story is that the escape tools were hidden inside packages sent by other (fake) charities concocted by Allied intelligence services for such purposes.

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  6. Drew says:

    Placing “contraband” such as escape tools into packages delivered under the auspices of the International Red Cross would have been a violation of its rules. Had the Germans discovered such contraband hidden inside Red Cross packages they would have been well within their rights to withhold further deliveries to Allied P.O.W.s.

    I believe that the real story is that the escape tools were hidden inside packages sent by other (fake) charities concocted by Allied intelligence services for such purposes.

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  7. Marie says:

    I am not a proponent of torture, however, your article seems to assume that torture would cause someone to spill valuable information.

    Opponents of torture often claim it does not “work.” Again, I don’t support it, but I imagine it does “work.”

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  8. Marie says:

    I am not a proponent of torture, however, your article seems to assume that torture would cause someone to spill valuable information.

    Opponents of torture often claim it does not “work.” Again, I don’t support it, but I imagine it does “work.”

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