After the end of the American-Korean war, General William H. Meyer, a psychoanalyst in the US army, studied one of the most complicated cases in the history of war in the world. About 1,000 US soldiers were captured and imprisoned during the war in Korea, and placed in a camp, where all prison privileges were available according to the international standards. Moreover, this prison was compatible with international laws in terms of services provided to the prisoner and in terms of treatment; furthermore, the prison was not surrounded by a high wall like other prisons.
However, the reports indicated that the number of deaths in this prison was higher than in other prisons. These deaths were not a result of an attempt to escape because the prisoners were not thinking of fleeing, but were due to natural death, and even though the prisoners were friends, despite their different classes and military ranks, and the friendly relationship they had with their jailers.
This phenomenon has been studied for several years, and Meyer was able to obtain some information and conclusions through this study:
– Only bad news and messages were delivered to the prisoners; however, the good news were kept from them.
– The jailers ordered the prisoners to publicly tell one of their bad memories about betraying or failing one of their friends or acquaintances. Moreover, anyone who spies on fellow inmates was rewarded.
Investigations revealed that these techniques were the cause of the demoralization of those soldiers to the point of death; and these factors eliminated their desire for life and pushed the human being to the state of silent death.