Victory from Within: The American Prisoner of War Curriculum

Curriculum cover showing images of prisoners of war
Curriculum cover

NPS/Andersonville National Historic Site

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The Victory From Within (VFW) Curriculum is a companion middle/high school curriculum for the traveling exhibit "Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience."

Educating young people about the sacrifices made by American prisoners of war (POWs) is a shared goal of the Friends of Andersonville, the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Korean War Ex-POW Association, Nam-POW, and the National Parks Service. The Curriculum is designed to accompany the traveling exhibit, but it can also be utilized with a visit to the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville National Historic Site or as a standalone curriculum.

The VFW Curriculum is designed to provide a meaningful and powerful learning experience for young people across the U.S. to understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by American prisoners of war.

In an April 2011 American Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Survey, it was found that:

  • Only 1 in 5 American youth are familiar with the Geneva Conventions.
  • Youth are inclined to support illegal actions in times of war.
  • Only 1 in 5 American youth know that the U.S. first adopted rules limiting how wars should be conducted during the American Civil War.

The National Park Service and the POW organizations mentioned above hope to address these sobering statistics and bring the heroic and courageous stories of POWs to citizens across the country. The VFW Curriculum utilizes historical documents, political cartoons, artworks, interviews, articles, and other primary sources to provide a dynamic and active learning experience. By providing opportunities for young people to work with these historical artifacts, they learn to view information with a critical eye and to ask probing questions that lead to understanding. The hope is for lessons learned over time to come alive and be more meaningful for our next generation of historians and history-makers.


Additional Resources


African American History and Culture, American Indian History and Culture, Asian American History and Culture, Aviation, Civil War, Cold War, French and Indian War, Hispanic or Latino American History and Culture, Historic Preservation, History, Law, Mexican War, Military and Wartime History, Naval History, Public Policy, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, World War I, World War II
National/State Standards:
The VFW Curriculum design is based on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.
POW Camps, POW, internment, prisoner of war, prisoner-of-war camps, Prisoners of War, war of 1812, War for Independence, War in Iraq and Afghanistan, War in the Pacific National Historical Park, War Memorials, War Relocation Center, war of 1812, war

Last updated: February 21, 2017