American war crimes during WW2

Posted: May 29, 2010 in Human Nature, War
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American war crimes are nothing new, from the so-called revolutionary war to the Indian wars to the civil war up through WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq American forces have shown their “unpleasant” side (though this certainly does not indict every American soldier by any means)…in other words, Americans are really no different than any other nation at war. The grotesque sadism and emotionalism intrinsic to human nature has no bounds of nationality, religion, or race. Below is just a short rundown on some of this controversy.

Here is an example: The Allied practice of collecting Japanese body parts occurred on “a scale large enough to concern the Allied military authorities throughout the conflict and was widely reported and commented on in the American and Japanese wartime press.” The collection of Japanese body parts began quite early in the war, prompting a September 1942 order for disciplinary action against such souvenir taking. Harrison concludes that, since this was the first real opportunity to take such items (the Battle of Guadalcanal), “[c]learly, the collection of body parts on a scale large enough to concern the military authorities had started as soon as the first living or dead Japanese bodies were encountered.” When Japanese remains were repatriated from the Mariana Islands after the war, roughly 60 percent were missing their skulls. In a memorandum dated June 13, 1944, the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) asserted that “such atrocious and brutal policies,” in addition to being repugnant, were violations of the laws of war, and recommended the distribution to all commanders of a directive pointing out that “the maltreatment of enemy war dead was a blatant violation of the 1929 Geneva Convention on the sick and wounded, which provided that: After every engagement, the belligerent who remains in possession of the field shall take measures to search for wounded and the dead and to protect them from robbery and ill treatment.” These practises were in addition also in violation of the unwritten customary rules of land warfare and could lead to the death penalty. The U.S. Navy JAG mirrored that opinion one week later, and also added that “the atrocious conduct of which some US personnel were guilty could lead to retaliation by the Japanese which would be justified under international law”. Here.

Here’s another example (from the European theater): General Eisenhower’s death camps: “When they caught me throwing C- Rations over the fence, they threatened me with imprisonment. One Captain told me that he would shoot me if he saw me again tossing food to the Germans … Some of the men were really only boys 13 years of age…Some of the prisoners were old men drafted by Hitler in his last ditch stand … I understand that average weight of the prisoners at Andernach was 90 pounds…I have received threats … Nevertheless, this…has liberated me, for I may now be heard when I relate the horrible atrocity I witnessed as a prison guard for one of ‘Ike’s death camps’ along the Rhine.” (Betty Lou Smith Hanson)

Also see Other Losses.

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Related: How much of Band of Brothers was bullshit? Here.

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