Exploiting the Enemy in the Orkneys: The Employment of Italian Prisoners of War on the Scapa Flow Barriers during the Second World War

Custodis, Johann
May 2011
Journal of Scottish Historical Studies;2011, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p72
Academic Journal
The article examines Great Britain's use of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) as laborers at the British Royal Navy's Home Fleet naval base at Scapa Flow in Scotland's Orkney Islands during World War II. The prisoners were used to help construct sea barriers at the naval base as part of Britain's fortification efforts in the Orkneys. The author is specifically concerned with the legality of Britain's POW employment at Scapa Flow according to the 1929 Geneva Convention, emphasizing labor strikes carried out by the Italians. The author concludes that Britain acted in accordance with the legal notion of lex talionis, or the retaliation concept.


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