Halfmoon Camp in Wünsdorf-Zossen. Three-legged race



The postcard shows a group of prisoners of war and their guards in the propaganda camp in Wünsdorf. They are shown supposedly in their leisure time; some of them doing a three-legged race, others are watching. The barracks and the outskirts of the forest are visible in the background.


Displaying extracurricular activities or the general well-being of prisoners of war was one strategy employed by wartime propagandists. The belief was that good treatment of (colonial) prisoners would encourage their comrades to surrender, desert, or even defect. War-weary soldiers were meant to believe that they could live an easy and secure life in one of the German camps. In particular, colonial prisoners of war needed to think that they were being treated better by their German enemies than by their French, British, or Russian rulers.
At the same time, this kind of propaganda served to reassure the German public of their belief that they were morally superior to their enemies. Germany did not deploy any colonial troops in Europe (as they simply did not have any) and thus could claim, as they saw it, to be the wardens of European civilisation or Kultur. Such propaganda was also designed to make the German public believe that they were treating their enemies better than they were treated by the Entente – the same rhetoric as given to enemy soldiers. In order to propagate this narrative, the Germans used printed postcards, leaflets, newspapers, and radio reports, all of which were disseminated to both sides of the front.