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WW2 US military executions

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by GRW, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Just following on from a thread in the FFZ, there were 141 military executions resulting from courtmartials between 7/12/41- 22/2/46; 71 for murder, 51 for rape, 18 for murder and rape, and 1 for desertion-Executions in the Military | Death Penalty Information Center
    As far as I'm aware, British courtmartial records from WW2 are sealed for 100 years.
     
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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    "Shoot straight you bastards!" - Breaker Morant.
     
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  3. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Was that intended for the Movie Quote thread? ;)
     
  4. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I might have to doubt the voracity of the source. The hand written ledger appears to be in the same hand writing; wich I find hard to believe that one person would record all the information during the 5 year period the ledger covers.
     
  5. Ossian

    Ossian recruit

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    The hand written ledger is not the source for the claimed figure of 141 executions. That number was based on an official Congressional report that was complied in 1946. The ledger was actually found in an office that had once been occupied by Army Public Affairs and appears to have been written by someone in the 1950's with only limited access to the general court-martial ledgers and not much of a grasp on the data contained therein. It contains numerous errors (omission of soldiers known to be executed, inclusion of soldiers who were not in fact executed, questionable dates and so forth).

    My research into this subject leads me to believe the claimed figure for 141 executions of American soldiers by military authorities in the Second World War is correct. The information on all the individual cases has been publicly available for decades, although not much utilized by scholars. The Army published collections of the opinions of the boards of review (samples of which can be found on Google Books) in these cases shortly after the war ended, the presidential libraries of Roosevelt and Truman have much material that is available for the asking, and the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Army will furnish copies of the record of trial to interested parties on request. I used those sources to identify the 160 soldiers executed by military authority in the 1942-1961 time frame.
     
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  6. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    How much of the information have you personally sourced and do you have plans to do a comparitive study for the rest of the nations involved in WW2?
     
  7. Ossian

    Ossian recruit

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    What do you mean by ''personally sourced''

    To identify the soldiers executed in the Second World War, I mostly relied upon the following sources:

    The Hand written ledger (which I used as a starting point)

    The followup ledger for the 1951-1961 period.

    An official army document listing all American soldiers killed overseas. It identified general prisoners who died in military custody.

    A collection of opinions of the boards of review in general court-martial cases conducted in the United States (81 volumes)

    Correspondence with the Roosevelt and Truman Presidential libraries. The libraries possess copies of court-martial extracts sent to the Presidents for action.

    A history of the branch office of the JAG in the European Theater which identifies 70 men executed in the war.

    Published articles by J. Robert Lilly, a sociologist studying the military death penalty.

    Contemporary newspapers, mostly the Stars and Stripes.

    There were other sources as well, mostly secondary in nature, but those are the major ones. I believe I listed them in Wikipedia a few years ago.

    I do not plan to conduct a comparative study for the rest of the nations involved in the war. That's far beyond my means.
     
  8. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Sounds like you have performed the yeoman's share of the labor and that is very commendable indeed. I guess the only question I am left with is: To what end did you begin this research; was it just curiosity or was it intended to be exculpatory or inculpatory? It is not my intention to pick a fight, I am just curious as to what your motivations are and what direction you are going to take the information.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I read in a couple of books mentioned that ca 400 US soldiers would have been to military court for rape for the time period of Normandy battles, but found nothing in the net or sources for this elsewhere. Personally I think this is a "good work" to make stats of the other side of the war.
     
  10. Tipnring

    Tipnring Active Member

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    Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 9.20.06 PM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-38.pdf
    pages 233 - 241

    Pvt Robert A. Pearson was executed.
    Robert A. Pearson (Unknown-1945) - Find A Grave...


    Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 3.23.15 AM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-37.pdf
    pages 163 - 177

    Pvt. John J. O'Connor was hung
    John J O'Connor (1924-1945) - Find A Grave...


    Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 8.40.50 PM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-42.pdf
    pages 341 - 348

    Pvt. Cornelius Thomas executed in Hawaii for murder
    Cornelius Thomas (Unknown-1945) - Find A Grave...

    FBF800D6-B17D-4B6E-92CC-8D0D11120A02.jpeg
    The Honolulu Advertiser
    Honolulu, Hawaii 03 Aug 1945, Fri • Page 5

    Pfc. Jesse D. Boston Executed in Hawaii for murder
    Jesse D. Boston (Unknown-1945) - Find A Grave...
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  11. Tipnring

    Tipnring Active Member

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    E4885A99-1641-45DE-8F9B-D2D4A5582E67.jpeg
    Screen Shot 2020-06-25 at 4.31.06 PM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-47.pdf
    pages 119 - 128

    Pvt. Herbert W Reid
    (33813129), Company C,
    5th Replacement Battalion, hung for Rape
    Herbert W Reid (Unknown-1945) - Find A Grave...

    Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 3.46.01 PM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-45.pdf

    pages 267 - 287

    Pvt. Clinton Stevenson
    (38147920), Company B,
    5th Replacement Battalion, hung for Murder
    Clinton Stevenson (1914-1945) - Find A Grave...


    Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 9.43.29 PM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-50.pdf
    pages 53 - 65

    Hung for Murder

    Pvt. Edward Joseph Reichl
    (36346011), 653rd Signal
    Air Warning Company.
    Edward Joseph Reichl (1906-1945) - Find A Grave...


    Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 11.28.47 AM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-50.pdf
    pages 107 - 119

    Pvt. Fred Hurse
    (37409681), 437th Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company, Camp Barkeley, Texas
    Hung for murder of 1 soldier & wounding 3 others at service club dance.


    10BDE800-35B4-4ABF-90F0-610C55381433.jpeg
    Metropolitan Pasadena Star-News
    Pasadena, California
    21 Sep 1945, Fri • Page 5


    5F5D1EC9-05CD-4156-8601-E0557C72CF86.jpeg
    Abilene Reporter-News
    Abilene, Texas
    24 Mar 1944, Fri • Page 4



     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  12. Christopher67

    Christopher67 Member

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    one wonders whether the Soviets kept similar records and whether they are available for the public.

    I do not imagine "blocking detachments" of the NKVD would have kept track of the number of people from their own side. I might be wrong. Somebody please surprise me.

    Are their any examples of Soviet soldiers undergoing military justice for rape? Too many examples to keep track of? Somebody surprise me with their superior knowledge.

    If the British have sealed their records for 100 years, I expect the Soviets would have done similar.

    Then again, I might be wrong in my assumptions for that as well.
     
  13. Riter

    Riter Member

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    Bet the Soviet records could be spotty. If done by the NKVD or Smersh, there could be a trial for which there would be records. It could also be done by the officer in the field. I read about a post-war account where an Asiatic Soviet molested some German women. The GI officer complained to the Soviet officer. The Soviet officer went up to the man and shot him on the spot. No trial.

    BTW, the Germans executed a lot of their own too. SS did it to retreating landsers who didn't have authorization to go to the rear. No trial. I remember about one landser who escaped the Soviets and got back to the German lines. The SS caught him and were tempted to shoot him as a spy (his soldbuch was in the hands of the Soviets). He remembered an aunt near Berlin who was luckily still alive (survived the bombings). The SS called her and he got to speak with her afterwhich she verified his identity. He was released.
     
  14. Tipnring

    Tipnring Active Member

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    5 German Prisoners of war at the Prisoner of war camp at Tonkawa, Oklahoma were convicted of the murder of Johannes Kunze. They were hung at Fort Leavenworth Military Penitentiary in July 1945

    CHARGE I: Violation of the 89th Article of War

    Specification: In that Walter Beyer, Berthold Seidel, Hans Demme, Hans Schomer, and Willi Scholz, being prisoners of war and in camp at Prisoner of War Camp, Tonkawa, Oklahoma, did at Prisoner of War Camp, Tonkawa, Oklahoma on or about 4 November 1943, commit a riot, in that they, together with certain other prisoners of war to the number of twenty or more, and whose names are unknown, did unlawfully and riotously and in a violent and tumultuous manner, assemble to disturb the peace of said camp, and having so assembled, did unlawfully and riotously assault Johannes Kunze, to the terror and disturbance of the said Johannes Kunze



    CHARGE II: Violation of the 92nd Article of War

    Specification: In that Walter Beyer, Berthold Seidel., Hans Demme, Hans Schomer, and Willi Scholz, all being prisoners of war in the Prisoner of War Camp., Tonkawa, Oklahoma., acting jointly and in pursuance of a common intent., did, at the Prisoner of War Camp., Tonkawa, Oklahoma, on or about 4 November 1943, with malice aforethought, willfully, deliberately, feloniously, unlawfully, and with premeditation, kill one Johannes Kunze, a hurnan being, by striking him with their fists and with instruments not known.



    Corp Johannes Kunze
    Corp Johannes Kunze (1904-1943) - Find A Grave...


    Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 8.44.00 AM.png
    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Board-of-Review_Vol-50.pdf
    pages 21 - 31

    Sgt Walter Beyer
    Sgt Walter Beyer (1911-1945) - Find A Grave...

    Sgt Berthold Seidel
    Sgt Berthold Seidel (1914-1945) - Find A Grave...

    Sgt Hans Demme
    Sgt Hans Demme (1920-1945) - Find A Grave Memorial

    Sgt Hans Schomer
    Sgt Hans Schomer (1916-1945) - Find A Grave...

    Corp Willi Scholz
    Corp Willi Scholz (1921-1945) - Find A Grave...
     
  15. Christopher67

    Christopher67 Member

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    I don't like to bring up a fiction author, but the post above reminded me of reading novels by Sven Hassel,

    Sven used to write of situations in his books where the pure FEAR that those situations evoked used to quite literally leap off the page.

    For instance, every time in his books where he writes the word "Siberians", you almost FEEL the fear that the sheer brutality of these soldiers must have evoked

    That same fear used to leap off the pages again when Sven would mention the German military police, "Bloodhounds" I think he used to call them, complete with their "dog-collars".
    It was very similar to what Guy Sajer wrote about from actual experience in his seemingly long forgotten book, "The Forgotten Soldier". Both these authors told of roadblocks set up behind the front lines, where soldiers without the right paperwork were summarily executed with a breathtaking regularity

    Totalitarianism leads to absolute brutality in military situations.
     
  16. Tipnring

    Tipnring Active Member

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