German Prisoners of War, 1943 - 1946 Lesson Plan

Drew Gardner

Students Will

  • Evaluate the purpose and role in maintaining World War II POW camps.
  • Compare the treatment of German POWs to that of Black Mississippians.


  • Computer/tablet with internet access
  • Paper and writing utensils

Curricular Connections

Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for the Social Studies

US History: 1877 to Present 

  • US.7 - Examine the nation’s role in World War II and the impacts on domestic affairs 

Teaching Levels

Grades 7 through 12

Before the Lesson

  1. Students will individually read the German Prisoners of War in Mississippi, 1943-1946 article.


  1. The teacher will open the activity by addressing the brutality of war.  Though it may be difficult, it is essential to maintain the humanity of all soldiers so that life may be preserved. Today’s lesson will focus on the German POW's encampments in the US. 

  1. Students will be placed into two groups to rotate throughout the activity to various stations. The teacher should place students into groups to save time.  

  1. Students will watch the KCENNews: World War II POW Camps in America story covering one of the few existing POW camps in central Texas.  

  1. Students will spend 10-15 minutes at each station (depending on available class time), each station being designed to address an individual subtopic of our previously read article. 

    • Station One: Students will write a 100-word reflection on the purpose and reasoning for maintaining POW camps, like the one mentioned in the video. Should Mississippi have maintain the POW facilities within the state and why? 

    • Station Two: Students at this station will focus on discussing the treatment of POWs in Mississippi and their standard of living compared to that of Black Mississippians. Students may use the “U.S. adheres to Geneva Conventions” section of the German Prisoners of War, 1943-1946 article for reference. 

      • Were White German POWs treated better than Black Mississippians?  

      • German POWs received regular food, shelter, safety, and other amenities that were not guaranteed to many poor White and Black Mississippians. What can we learn from the treatment of impoverished Mississippians compared to these German POWs? 

      • Mississippi’s Jim Crow laws repressed Black Mississippians to a second-class status. Compare what you know about the challenges of being a Black Mississippian during the 1940s with the conditions of German POW camps. 

  2. Students will then reflect on their engagement with the material as a class. The teacher should facilitate adequate space for students to debrief and communicate group ideas to the whole class.