Camp Forrest was the result of major efforts by the War Department to prepare our nation for possible entry into WWII which had been going on for years.
Camp Forrest was originally named Camp Peay, after Tennessee Governor Austin Peay. Camp Peay was a National Guard Camp built in the 1920s on 1,100 acres. Later, it was renamed Camp Forrest and the facility grew to more than 80,000 acres.
Camp Forrest was one of the US Army’s largest training, induction and prisoner of war camps and served as the base for the Tennessee Maneuvers.
The maneuvers were seven large-scale simulated combat training exercises conducted by the US Army between 1941 and 1944 to prepare troops for World War II. They took in 21 Middle Tennessee counties.
“This exhibit is made up of three components: informational posters that explain how and why German prisoners of war were brought here from the battlefields and why German and Italian civilians living in the United States were held at Camp Forrest.
Secondly, photographs that go along with those posters.
And the third component is the artwork and hand-crafted items made by the prisoners and civilian internees, which gives us a glimpse into their lives here.” Taylor explained.
Dr. Taylor introduces the exhibit with a three-minute video explaining why and how Camp Forrest came into existence.
The Metro Nashville Public Library is open Monday-Friday from 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 2-5pm.