Wednesday, 10 January 2018

‘“For you the war is (not) over”: Active Disruption in the Barbed Wire Battleground’

From Balloons to Drones, a web-based forum which explores the development of air power from the earliest days of flight to now and the future, recently published ‘“For you the war is (not) over”: Active Disruption in the Barbed Wire Battleground’. This article is based on a paper presented at the Don’t Drown Post-graduate Conference, UNSW Canberra, 4 October 2017, which was a shorter version of that given at the Aviation Cultures Mk III Conference, University of Sydney, 27–29 April 2017.

The popular perception of the prisoner of war is that, once captured, he was hors de combat. This article, however, argues that airmen downed in Europe and the Middle East exchanged airspace for a new theatre of conflict—the RAF station behind barbed wire—and continued on active service.

Rather than docilely accepting their new state as they moved from the aerial arena to a barbed-wire battleground, many airmen prisoners of Germany continued to be potent military operatives. They resisted captors and guards and participated in escape organisations. They managed their lives to demonstrate personal power by not succumbing to the futility of captivity.

This article briefly explores the prisoner of war as active agent through the experiences of Australians in Stalag Luft III. Focusing on escape culture, it illustrates how they used humour and language to both protect and distance themselves from an identity of airman manqué and to maintain the persona of a barbed-wire operative. It also touches on how they established a post-war narrative of captivity.

Just follow the link to find the article.

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