The Real Great Escape

Topics: The Great Escape, Prisoner of war, Stalag Luft III Pages: 5 (2011 words) Published: May 29, 2011
The Great Escape Movie and Real Story

The movie The Great Escape was based on the escape of many prisoners from a Nazi prison camp during World War II. Unfortunately, only a couple of the escapees made it to safety before being captured again.

Once the prisoners were captured, they were sent to a Nazi prison camp called Stalag. If they had done nothing except passing their time patiently they would have been able to make it through the war safely. However, the Germans were rather dependent upon their adversaries not putting up resistance. They had to be defeated and this would take a collective effort. The men who are the real heroes are those that took the risks and made the sacrifices. The “Great Escape” was showing the prisoners of war (POWs) resistance towards the fascist state of Germany and this is what made this prison break so much different than that of any other Hollywood movie involving a prison break. Even though the plan that they had set forth failed, that isn’t the point the point was that they took it into their own hands and tried as hard as they could to escape.

The movie was based off of a true story about a group of Allied POW’s that attempted to escape from what was thought to be an impenetrable Nazi prison camp during World War II. At the beginning, the Nazi’s gather some of the most devious and troublesome POWs and placed them into a prison camp. Soon after arriving there, they are already plotting their escape. They plan on building three separate tunnels that they refer to as “Tom”, “Dick”, and “Harry”. One of the ways that the men removed dirt from the tunnels in progress was by hiding bags in their trousers to spread the dirt over the camp, under the guard’s noses. On the first day there were many failed attempts at escaping, eventually they settled in. one of the men is told that if he tries to escape one more time he will be shot, and is placed back with the rest of the POWs. Being locked up with every escape artist in Germany, one of the men tries to plot a way to break 250 prisoners out of Stalag. The intent of this operation was to confuse the enemy to the point of them moving as many troops from the front lines to search for all of the escapees that it would be a waste of resources and troops. The prisoners were at work on the three tunnels and two of them were discovered before completion. Eventually tunnel “Tom” was completed but was found to be 20 feet short of the woods, due to this, only 76 men were able to escape. Almost all of the POWs were either recaptured and/or killed. Only three of the men made it to safety.

The real story of the “Great Escape” was “the mass escape of 76 Allied POWs from Stalag Luft III in March of 1944.” It all started when and Allied aircrew was shot down during World War II. The war camp was being run by the Luftwaffe, called Stalag Luft which was short for Stammlager Luft. The camp was opened May of 1942.

The German Luftwaffe had respect for their fellow flyers and their treatment of the prisoners should not be confused with that of the SS or Gestopo. The Luftwaffe treated the POWs well even though there was a very inconsistent supply of food. The security was very strict but life was not intolerable for the prisoners. The camp grew to hold 10,000 POWs, was 59 acres and had 5 miles of perimeter fencing.

Food in the camp would have been a major issue if it weren’t for the International Red Cross. Most people would think that the guards got plenty of food, but realistically they weren’t too much better off. Also; the Red Cross provided the prisoners with replacement clothing, shower items, coffees and teas, jams, meats, sugars, and all of these were distributed equally amongst the people. There was prolonged starvation and if it weren’t for the Red Cross parcels things would have been much worse. Some of the captured officers were paid an equivalent of their pay and were able to purchase things, but it was strictly forbidden to be in...
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