MovieChat Forums > The Great Escape (1963) Discussion > Why Escape? Their conditions weren't tha...

Why Escape? Their conditions weren't that bad!


I understand that no one wants to be kept as a POW, but the German Commander made it pretty clear that they basically wanted to coexist peacefully until the end of the war. Granted, none of them could predict that the war would end in a year, so maybe they felt that they would be trapped in the camp for too long? But I saw no mistreatment from the guards, short of killing a guy for climbing the fence. In retrospect, they should have all stayed put for another year, and all of them (most likely) would have stayed alive.

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Yeah, You saw a vanilla version created by HOLLYWOOD. What a DOLT!

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Can we hear from someone that isn't a turd?

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Then don't ask DUMB questions

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First of all it was 1942 when they arrived at Stalag Luft 111 at the beginning of the movie, the Germans were very well placed at that time and they reasoned that the War could go on for several years so escape would have been very much on their mind. It took two years to build the tunnels so even though it was inevitable that Germany would lose the war when it was completed they went ahead with the escape otherwise all that effort would have been in vain.

Even though the vast majority of British (and other POW's) were not involved in any escapes and preferred not to be this was a special camp consisting entirely of failed escapees (I guess you could call them escape fanatics) and as they had an obsession with escaping no one could have prevented them trying.

Even though POW camps for British and American servicemen were humane and civilised they still caused feelings of frustration and claustrophobia amongst the inmates.

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They tried to escape because it was their duty to escape as soldiers and airmen. The idea is that even though you are a POW, you are still duty bound to resist the enemy as much as humanly possible. I know that seems strange to many young people today, but this was another time and another generation.

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It was considered their duty to escape, as is explained in the film. By escaping and making the Germans spend man-hours and gas money chasing them down, they were using enemy resources that could have been spent in ammo, and taking the time of enemy soldiers who could have been fighting at the front.

They weren't just escaping because they didn't like it there or for something to do, they were doing their bit for the war effort. Even if it got them killed, and they all knew it could happen.

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Conditions were better for officers than for enlisted men (this Stalag was an officers' camp). But it is a Hollywood version of life in this film. Things like the July 4 alcoholic celebration never happened. Even for officers, conditions could be harsh in Axis captivity - a British officer who was a prisoner of the Italians after being captured in North Africa drew caricatures of British officers half-fainting in what he called the "hunger swoon" because they were not getting enough to eat, or carefully going through their inadequate rice ration to remove maggots etc. Both officers and other ranks were dependent on Red Cross parcels because ordinary prison rations were not adequate, although the guards sometimes confiscated and misappropriated these parcels.
It was not so much about conditions - officers were considered to have a duty to escape, other ranks like sergeants and privates were not considered to have such a duty and relatively few tried to escape, although their conditions could be even worse than the officers'.

"Chicken soup - with a *beep* straw."

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According to the book the July 4th celebration did happen, not quite like the movie but not far off. The Italians treated PoWs badly from accounts I've read, worse than the Germans for the most part and the Germans fed them badly- I listed their rations on another thread- the Bon Appetit thread.
The thing that worried many PoWs was the possibility that Hitler would either kill them all or use them as hostages as the defeat of Germany became self evident.

Trust me. I know what I'm doing.

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OK - you've all given me some things to think about, and there are some good arguments here. Thank you!

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You should've paid more attention while watching the film. The reason for attempting to escape was given in the film itself!

At the beginning of the film, Ramsey tells the German officer, "Colonel von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability."

So, they just did what was their duty as officers: either to get away so that they'd be able to return to fight, or at least keep as much as possible of the enemy personnel occupied with their escape attempts (including trying to capture the escaped POWs) so that the Allies would have it at least a bit easier to fight, with more enemies tied up with keeping the POWs from escaping, and fewer enemies able to participate in the actual war effort. Following one's duty during a war is very important. Neglecting one's duty during a war is a very serious offence that may have serious consequences for the offending soldier/officer, and even the war effort as a whole. (And the latter part, causing harm to the war effort is exactly the reason why neglecting one's duty during a war is such a serious offence.)

--
Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

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Thanks for your post, but did you really have to start it off with "you should've paid more attention while watching the film"? You took the time to write a thoughtful response - do you really feel it's necessary to insult someone on a message board, because they missed a line of the movie?

Also, while I understand what you're saying, it's completely ridiculous of any army to consider soldiers "neglecting" their duty when they are POWs. Their capture is something that is beyond their control. That's like reprimanding a bank teller for not processing a check, while being held hostage at a bank.

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Stop being so damn sensitive, you're on a message forum for hardcore fans. You should've paid more attention. That's the problem with people like yourself, you're part of the entitlement society, you probably believe in "participation trophies"
Before you come to the forum and you feel you missed something, watch the movie twice then before you start a thread with dumb questions. All you're doing is taking up space

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Ya know Dorky, err, I mean Corky, I try and stay positive on these boards, even when some comments have you scratching your head. You, however, are just a COMPLETE Ja€ka$$! Not just sometimes, but ALL THE TIME! You provide ZERO to any thread that you participate in and just seem to be a D!ck to everyone. Maybe that is your M.O.? If it is, I gues you are having fun? But why?


Murdoch: Climb, baby, climb!

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Oh God, what is he saying now? He's on my ignore list, so it's probably for the best that I'm shielded from the troll, mouth-breather. But if it's offensive, feel free to report the fool. Thanks! :-)

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Just flicking through some of this Corky's post. Brandishing insults left, right and centre, he is indeed an Internet message board keyboard warrior and a 24 carat cùnt.

On my ignore list he goes too.

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"a 24 carat cùnt" - OMFG - this is too hilarious! Thanks for the great laugh! 

I used to fight back, argue, and try to one up trolls a lot. But it's so much easier and peaceful to just ignore them. Wise choice.

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Talk about quality subjects and we'll have a normal conversation MORON. All most of you is post your own thread for the heck of it just you can garner some attention

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Now that the boards are ending, I took everyone off my ignore list. Now that I see your šhit comments, you can eat an ocean of d!cks, you pathetic excuse for a human being. Probably some over the hill, basement dwelling, cheeto eating, Trump supporting, poorly educated piece of šhit. Now what will you do with your life, now that the message boards are ending? I'm glad you won't have this site to be toxic anymore. Phuggg off and get a life you giant turd!!!

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I will find you and I will stalk you. You're not smart enough to keep up with me you stupid twit

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Whatever you say snowflake. Your mental illness won't be able to affect this site anymore, and that is a beautiful thing. All of your hatred - deleted in less than two weeks. Bye bitch!

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Hahaha, and it kills you that I can still post and say what I want. You're just a filthy kun//t

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Until next Friday, and then its over for you, you mindless troll whore! Yay!!

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Oh don't worry I'll find you

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Yeah, good luck with that.

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^notice how Dorky didn't refute what I said about him either. I love being right!!

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That Corky guy is a serious Fck-head. Go look at his other posts. People like him are why they're shutting these boards down, guaranteed.

Pretty sure he's mentally ill and/or a shut-in.

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Got the best of you, didn’t I. Yep

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Ocean of dicks

Hahhaha, I’m rolling on the floor. Hysterical

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It had nothing to do with conditions of the camp. As this film explains early on they felt it was their duty to make the enemy use as much man power as possible to keep POWs interred thus taking away resources from the frontlines.

YOUR VOTE MATTERS! Please vote in every election. Thank you.

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You should read the book, but I thought it was in the movie as well,
or at least for the British. Their jobs as prisoners were the disrupt and
try to escape, to try to get the enemy to divert resources from the war
effort to guarding them. I guess the Allied prisoners had it good in
Germany compared perhaps the prisoners in the Pacific. The Japanese
were barbaric at this time to their subjects and to their prisoners.

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If the conditions were as they were depicted in the film, I would have just chilled until the war ended. They all appeared well-fed and clothed, and they had showers, books, gardening, singing, ornithology, and moonshine. Good enough.

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I'm sure real conditions were nowhere near that good.

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Apparently their conditions were better than what was shown in the film. The problem is they didnt know the war was only a year or so away from ending.

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