Illinois at War, 1941-1945
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DOCUMENT 49COMMUNICATION FROM GEORG BLUNDER CONCERNING HIS SON, A PRISONER OF WAR
November 14, 1945
Governor Green replied to this letter on November 17. He indicated that while the disposition of prisoners of war was a matter handled by the United States government he would be pleased to write the proper federal official on Blunder's behalf. In so doing he would need to know if the younger Georg Blunder was an American citizen. Blunder senior responded on December 5. He wrote that while his son was still a German citizen he had been educated in the Chicago public schools and had volunteered with the U.S. Marines. He had passed the physical exam and then was told to wait for an opening. A year passed and no word came so in desperation he was sent back to Germany to learn a trade. Governor Green then wrote Major General Edward F. Witsell, the Acting Adjutant General of the War Department. Witsell replied on December 17. He indicated that regulations did not permit enemy prisoners to be released to friends or relatives on bond or otherwise. All such prisoners were to be repatriated as soon as possible. After they had been sent back to their native countries they could endeavor to return to the United States under the immigration and naturalization laws then in effect.
In this country Congress enacted legislation of December 20, 1941 which required nearly every male resident between the ages of eighteen and forty-five to be liable for military service. There were exceptions for citizens of neutral countries, foreign representatives and employees of diplomatic embassies, and foreign students enrolled in American colleges and universities with the consents of the respective governments. By agreements among the Allied nations cobelligerent citizens on American soil had the option of returning home to serve in their own countries' militaries or remaining in the U.S. and serving in its armed forces.
Illinois was the home of several camps which housed German and Italian prisoners of war. Prisoners worked on farms and in fertilizer, meat packing, stock feed, and ammunition plants.
Points to Consider
Explain economic conditions in the U.S. and Germany in 1938.
How did the younger Blunder end up in the German army?
Why was the younger Blunder probably going to be sent back to Germany?
Should young Blunder have been returned to Germany? Why?