Prisoner of war families and the British Government during the Second World War
In order to locate the particular financial problems faced by prisoner of war families, the first two chapters of the thesis address the general development of service allowances up to and during the Second World War. Chapters three and four then focus on the experience of prisoner of war families within this context. The remaining chapters move away from financial consideration to the equally important question of how information was disseminated to prisoner of war families through both official and unofficial sources. In the final chapter the impact of the Second World War on service allowances is reviewed. The thesis concludes that the Second World War had little impact on government treatment of prisoner of war families. At least in part, this is attributable to government perceptions of service families as a whole. During the course of the war, the need to ensure that servicemen performed as efficiently as possible led to a perceived duty on the part of the State to maintain their families. Once the conflict had ended, this responsibility devolved to the individual servicemen themselves. In addition, for prisoner of war families, the government had not encouraged servicemen to consider the possibility of being taken captive and make adequate financial provision for their families in this eventuality. Not until after the Korean War did the State acknowledge its responsibility to prepare both men and their families for the possibility of capture.