A TLA meaning Prisoner Of War.
Notable POW references throughout history:
- Classical Period: Extreme brutality where thousands of early POW's would be blinded or even killed to make a point to the opponents. Greeks and Persians notable in their brutality to each other and even to themselves.
- Roman: Tended to take captives with intention of killing them later in gladiatoral arenas. Mostly just killed you as you fled/surrendered.
- Dark Ages/Medieval: Captives tended to get no better treatment than they did in Roman times. If you were a knob, you could offer to be ransomed. If you did, your family better have some dosh.
- Renaissance: Things started to get a bit more civilized in that surrendering didn't get you slaughtered out of hand. Ottoman Turks for all their brutal reputation were quite fair about accepting surrender. Even fairer if you took to supporting Allah.
- World War 2: Notable for British POW's frequent (and successful) escape attempts from German prisoner of war camps. Turned into some excellent films where British servicemen get the credit they deserve rather than Hollywood stealing their stories to glamorize spam actors. Tragedy in the Far East theatre where a completely different mind set (a surrendered opponent is less than human - a holdover from Samurai period) resulted in appalling treatment of Allied POW's by the Japanese.
- Vietnam: Many Americans still believe to this day that not all the POW's (in particular USAF aircrew) were returned at the end of this conflict. US POW's treated very badly in the 'Hanoi Hilton'.
- Gulf War: US not doing so well in this conflict re treating POW's well what with Guantanamo Bay and Abu Graib. Not that US captives are treated well by the insurgents in Iraq - usually tortured follwed by death.