Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: Sixteen Months in Four German Prisons

By Henry Charles Mahoney, 1917

It is the true story of a Brit, who has been given travel directions and tries to make journey around the first of August, 1914.  Sadly, he arrives in the midst of the war is about to start.  They look over his baggage....find cameras.....sort through things, and decide he is a war criminal....then spends sixteen months in the worst possible situations.

Never in uniform....he is continually believed to be a spy.  Sadly, his treatment is about as bad as it comes.

The Prussian military mentality is displayed as Nazi-like in a number of ways.  Those from Britain, France, Russia and Belgium are treated terribly.

Mahoney will make his way around Germany....getting released from prison camp but forbidden to leave the country.  Then arrested again.....then released.  It's a pretty lousy experience.

So when he comes back sixteen months later....he writes the book.  It's taken to the newspaper articles and tends create what the Prussians never calculated upon.

From the 1870s on....Prussia enjoys fairly good economic times....with a fair amount of tourism due to the rich and elite of various neighboring countries coming and enjoying the landscape and lifestyle.  I doubt if the Kaiser, the Prussian military, or leadership of various states in Prussia understood what would occur as the war ended.

Prussia came to 1919 and likely thought that the war would end, and things would go back to the 'norm'.  It never did.  The 1920s and 1930s....saw little to none of the tourism traffic return.  After WW's hard to find any real tourism traffic within Germany except for Germans themselves, and Americans.  It's not until you get to the mid-1970s....that you notice tourism picking up.

What economic calamities came after 1919....can be attributed to a fair degree to the anger and frustrations from the rest of Europe.  If you drive around Wiesbaden and note the upper scale homes built around town....all came before 1914.  All came from business and resort enterprise success stories in Wiesbaden's spa district.  The rich and elite came....they spent money....and the money stayed in town.  The same is true for Baden-Baden.....Stuttgart.....Berlin and a dozen other major vacation spots before WW I.

The book?  Worth reading, but you have fairly negative view of Prussian military officers after reading  it.  Those who'd say it's a fictional account?  I'd just suggest to read around and find others who write similar stories.  The reason we have a Geneva Convention....are the accounts that came out of WW I.

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