Allied war crimes include both alleged and legally proven violations of the laws of war by the Allies of World War II against either civilians or military personnel of the Axis powers.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
Military personnel are members of the state's armed forces. Their roles, pay, and obligations differ according to their military branch, rank, and their military task when deployed on operations and on exercise.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
At the end of World War II, many trials of Axis war criminals took place, most famously the Nuremberg Trials and Tokyo Trials. However, in Europe, these tribunals were set up under the authority of the London Charter, which only considered allegations of war crimes committed by people who acted in the interests of the Axis powers.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Some war crimes involving Allied personnel were investigated by the Allied powers and led in some instances to courts-martial. Some incidents alleged by historians to have been crimes under the law of war in operation at the time were, for a variety of reasons, not investigated by the Allied powers during the war, or were investigated and a decision was taken not to prosecute.
The Western Allies claim that their militaries were directed to observe the Hague Conventions and Geneva Conventions and believed to be conducting a just war fought for defensive reasons. Violations of the conventions did occur, however, including the forcible return of Soviet citizens who had been collaborating with Axis forces to the USSR at the end of the war. The military of the Soviet Union also frequently committed war crimes, which are today known to have been at the direction of its government. These crimes included waging wars of aggression, mass murder and genocide of prisoners of war, and repressing the population of conquered countries.
The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 are a series of international treaties and declarations negotiated at two international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands. Along with the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the body of secular international law. A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but it did not take place due to the start of World War I.
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term Geneva Convention usually denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939–45), which updated the terms of the two 1929 treaties, and added two new conventions. The Geneva Conventions extensively defined the basic rights of wartime prisoners, established protections for the wounded and sick, and established protections for the civilians in and around a war-zone. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, in whole or with reservations, by 196 countries. Moreover, the Geneva Convention also defines the rights and protections afforded to non-combatants, yet, because the Geneva Conventions are about people in war, the articles do not address warfare proper—the use of weapons of war—which is the subject of the Hague Conventions, and the bio-chemical warfare Geneva Protocol.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Antony Beevor describes the Soviet rape of German women during the occupation of Germany as the "greatest phenomenon of mass rape in history", and has estimated that at least 1.4 million women were raped in East Prussia, Pomerania, and Silesia alone. He asserts that Soviet women and girls liberated from slave labor in Germany were also violated.
Sir Antony James Beevor, is an English military historian. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and the 20th century in general.
Upon defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, the victorious Allies asserted joint authority and sovereignty over 'Germany as a whole', defined as all territories of the former German Reich west of the Oder–Neisse line, having declared the destruction of Nazi Germany at the death of Adolf Hitler. The four powers divided 'Germany as a whole' into four occupation zones for administrative purposes, under the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union respectively; creating what became collectively known as Allied-occupied Germany. This division was ratified at the Potsdam Conference. The four zones were as agreed in February 1945 by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union meeting at the Yalta Conference; setting aside an earlier division into three zones proposed by the London Protocol.
East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.
The German historian and left-wing antiwar activist Jörg Friedrich argues that Allied aerial bombardment of civilian areas and cultural targets in enemy territory, including the German cities of Cologne, Hamburg, and Dresden, the Abbey in Monte Cassino in Italy during the Battle of Monte Cassino,the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and especially the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which resulted in the total destruction of cities and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, should be considered war crimes but no positive or specific customary international humanitarian law with respect to aerial warfare existed prior to and during World War II. This is also why no Japanese and German officers were prosecuted at the post-World War II Allied war crime trials for the aerial raids on Shanghai, Chongqing, Warsaw, Rotterdam, and British cities during the Blitz.
Jörg Friedrich is a German author and historian. Friedrich is best known for his publication Der Brand (2002), in which he portrays the Allied bombing of civilian targets during World War II as systematic and in many ways pointless mass murder. An English translation, The Fire, was published in 2006 by Columbia University Press and met with widespread critical approval. For example, the New York Times said it "describes in stark, unrelenting and very literary detail what happened in city after city as the Allies dropped 80 million incendiary bombs on Germany..... There is... an edginess to Friedrich's writing and commentary, an emotional power."
Strategic bombing during World War II was the sustained aerial attack on railways, harbours, cities, workers' and civilian housing, and industrial districts in enemy territory during World War II. Strategic bombing is a military strategy which is distinct from both close air support of ground forces and tactical air power.
The German city of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II, all by the Royal Air Force (RAF) but for a single failed post-capture test of a guided missile by the United States Army Air Forces. A total of 34,711 long tons of bombs were dropped on the city by the RAF. 20,000 people died during the war in Cologne due to aerial bombardments.
Charles P. Stacey, the Canadian official campaign historian, reports that on 14 April 1945 rumours spread that the popular commanding officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick E. Wigle, had been killed by a civilian sniper. This rumour resulted in the Highlanders setting fire to civilian property in the town of Friesoythe in an act of reprisal.Stacey later wrote that the Canadian troops first removed German civilians from their property before setting the houses on fire; he commented that he was "glad to say that [he] never heard of another such case". It was later found that German soldiers had killed the Argyll's commander.
Following the Operation Dragoon landings in southern France and the collapse of the German military occupation in August 1944, large numbers of Germans could not escape from France and surrendered to the French Forces of the Interior. The Resistance executed a few of the Wehrmacht and most of the Gestapo or SS prisoners.
The Maquis also executed 17 German prisoners of war at Saint-Julien-de-Crempse (in the Dordogne region), on 10 September 1944, 14 of whom have since been positively identified. The murders were revenge killings for German murders of 17 local inhabitants of the village of St. Julien on 3 August 1944, which were themselves reprisal killings in response to Resistance activity in the St. Julien region, which was home to an active Maquis cell.
French Moroccan troops of the French Expeditionary Corps, known as Goumiers, committed mass crimes in Italy during and after the Battle of Monte Cassinoand in Germany. According to Italian sources, more than 12,000 civilians, above all young and old women, children, were kidnapped, raped, or killed by Goumiers. This is featured in the Italian film La Ciociara ( Two Women ) with Sophia Loren.
Anthony Clayton in his book 'France, Soldiers, and Africa' (Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988) devotes several pages to the criminal activities of the Goumiers, which he partially ascribes to the record of what was considered normal practices in their homeland.
On 4 May 1940, in response to Germany's intensive unrestricted submarine warfare, during the Battle of the Atlantic and its invasion of Denmark and Norway, the Royal Navy conducted its own unrestricted submarine campaign. The Admiralty announced that all vessels in the Skagerrak, were to be sunk on sight without warning. This was contrary to the terms of the Second London Naval Treaty.
In July 1941, the submarine HMS Torbay (under the command of Anthony Miers) was based in the Mediterranean where it sank several German ships. On two occasions, once off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, and the other off the coast of Crete, the crew attacked and killed dozens of shipwrecked German sailors and troops. None of the shipwrecked survivors posed a major threat to Torbay's crew. Miers made no attempt to hide his actions, and reported them in his official logs. He received a strongly worded reprimand from his superiors following the first incident. Mier's actions violated the Hague Convention of 1907, which banned the killing of shipwreck survivors under any circumstances.
During Operation Overlord, British line of communication troops conducted small-scale looting in Bayeux and Caen in France, following their liberation, in violation of the Hague Conventions.Looting, rape, and prisoner execution was committed by British soldiers in a smaller scale than other armies throughout the war. On 23 May 1945, British troops in Schleswig-Holstein were alleged to have plundered Glücksburg castle, stealing jewellery, and desecrating 38 coffins from the castle's mausoleum.
The "London Cage", a MI19 prisoner of war facility in the UK during and immediately after the war, was subject to allegations of torture.The Bad Nenndorf interrogation centre in occupied Germany, managed by the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, was the subject of an official inquiry in 1947, which found that there was "mental and physical torture during the interrogations" and that "personal property of the prisoners were stolen".
The Italian statistics record eight rapes and nineteen attempted rape by British soldiers in Italy between September 1943 and December 1945. Various sources, including the Special Investigation Branch as well as evidences from Belgian reporters, said that rape and sexual harassment by British troops occurred frequently following the invasion of Sicily in 1943. [ citation needed ] Even elderly women were targeted.[ citation needed ] Though the Royal Military Police tended to turn a blind eye towards abuse of German prisoners and civilians, rape was a major issue for them. Some officers, however, treated the behavior of their men with leniency. Many rapes were committed under the effects of alcohol or post-traumatic stress,[ citation needed ] but there were cases of premeditated attacks,[ citation needed ] such as the assault on three German women in the town of Neustadt am Rübenberge or the attempted gang rape of two local girls at gunpoint in the village of Oyle, near Nienburg, which ended in the death of one of the women when, whether intentionally or not, one of the soldiers discharged his gun, hitting her in the neck. There were also reports of "sexual assault and indecency" committed by British soldiers against children in Belgium and the Netherlands, when a number of men were convicted of these crimes while fraternizing with Dutch and Belgian families during the winter of 1944–1945.In Germany, rapes of local women were committed by British and Canadian troops.
|World War II in Yugoslavia||Yugoslav Partisans|
|Incident||Type of crime||Persons|
|Bleiburg repatriations||Alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||The victims were Yugoslav collaborationist troops (ethnic Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes). They were executed without trial in an act of vengeance for the genocide committed by the pro-Axis collaborationist states (in particular the Ustaše) installed by the Nazis during the German occupation of Yugoslavia.|
|Foibe massacres||War crimes, crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||Following Italy's 1943 armistice with the Allied powers, and again after the end of the German occupation of Istria in 1945, Yugoslav resistance forces executed an unknown number (ranging from several hundreds to some thousands) of ethnic Italians accused of collaboration, regardless of their personal responsibility.|
|Vojvodina massacre||War crimes, crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||1944–1945 killings of ethnic Germans and Hungarians in Bačka, and Serb prisoners of war.|
|Kočevski Rog massacre||War crimes, crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||Massacres of prisoners of war, and their families.|
|Macelj massacre||Crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||Massacres of prisoners of war, and their families.|
|Tezno trench||Crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||Massacres of prisoners of war, and their families.|
|Barbara Pit||Crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||Massacres of prisoners of war, and their families.|
|Prevalje mass grave||Crimes against humanity: murder of prisoners of war and civilians.||No prosecutions.||Massacres of prisoners of war, and their families.|
The Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention of 1929 that protected, and stated how prisoners of war should be treated. This cast doubt on whether the Soviet treatment of Axis prisoners was therefore a war crime, although prisoners "were [not] treated even remotely in accordance with the Geneva Convention", [ unreliable source? ] However, the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected this as a general argument. The tribunal held that the Hague Conventions (which the 1929 Geneva Convention did not replace but only augmented, and unlike the 1929 convention, were ones that the Russian Empire had ratified) and other customary laws of war, regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, were binding on all nations in a conflict whether they were signatories to the specific treaty or not.resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
One of first soviet war crime was Katyn massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, "Katyń crime"; Russian: Катынская резня Katynskaya reznya, "Katyn massacre", or Russian: Катынский расстрел, "Katyn execution by shooting") was a series of mass executions of Polish military officers and intelligentsia carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD ("People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs", aka the Soviet secret police) in April and May 1940. Though the killings took place at several places, the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest, where some of the mass graves were first discovered.
Acts of mass rape and other war crimes were committed by Soviet troops during the occupation of East Prussia (Danzig), [ citation needed ]parts of Pomerania and Silesia, during the Battle of Berlin, and during the Battle of Budapest.
Late in the war, Yugoslavia's communist partisans complained about the rapes and looting committed by the Soviet Army while traversing their country. Milovan Djilas later recalled Joseph Stalin's response,
Does Djilas, who is himself a writer, not know what human suffering and the human heart are? Can't he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?
Soviet war correspondent Natalya Gesse observed the Red Army in 1945: "The Russian soldiers were raping every German female from eight to eighty. It was an army of rapists". Polish women as well as Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian slave laborers were also mass raped by the Red Army. The Soviet war correspondent Vasily Grossman described: "Liberated Soviet girls quite often complain that our soldiers rape them".
The Gegenmiao massacre of 1945; rapes and massacres conducted by the Soviet Army over half a group of 1,800 Japanese women and children who had taken refuge in the lamasery Gegenmiao/Koken-miao (葛根廟) during the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.
Allied soldiers in the Pacific and Asian theatres sometimes killed Japanese soldiers who were attempting to surrender or after they had surrendered. A social historian of the Pacific War, John W. Dower, states that "by the final years of the war against Japan, a truly vicious cycle had developed in which the Japanese reluctance to surrender had meshed horrifically with Allied disinterest in taking prisoners".Dower suggests that most Japanese personnel were told that they would be "killed or tortured" if they fell into Allied hands and, as a consequence, most of those faced with defeat on the battlefield fought to the death or committed suicide. In addition, it was held to be shamefully disgraceful for a Japanese soldier to surrender, leading many to commit suicide or to fight to the death regardless of any beliefs concerning their possible treatment as POWs. In fact, the Japanese Field Service Code said that surrender was not permissible.
And while it was "not official policy" for Allied personnel to take no prisoners, "over wide reaches of the Asian battleground it was everyday practice".
On 4 March 1943, during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, General George Kenney ordered Allied patrol boats and aircraft to attack Japanese rescue vessels, as well as the survivors from the sunken vessels on life rafts and swimming or floating in the sea. This was later justified on the grounds that rescued servicemen would have been rapidly landed at their military destination and promptly returned to active service.These orders violated the Hague Convention of 1907, which banned the killing of shipwreck survivors under any circumstances.
During the Burma Campaign, there are recorded instances of British troops removing gold teeth from dead Japanese troops and displaying Japanese skulls as trophies.
During the Allied occupation of Japan, Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand troops in Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) committed 62 recorded rapes. The commander of the BCOF's official reports state that members of the BCOF were convicted of committing 57 rapes in the period May 1946 to December 1947 and a further 23 between January 1948 and September 1951. No official statistics on the incidence of serious crimes during the BCOF's first three months in Japan (February to April 1946) are available.Australian historian Robin Gerster contends that while the official statistics underestimate the level of serious crime among BCOF members, Japanese police often did not pass reports they received on to the BCOF and that the serious crimes which were reported were properly investigated by BCOF military police. The penalties given to members of the BCOF convicted of serious crimes were "not severe", however, and those imposed on Australians were often mitigated or quashed by Australian courts.
There has been relatively little research into the general treatment of Japanese prisoners taken by Chinese Nationalist forces, such as the National Revolutionary Army (NRA), during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), according to R. J. Rummel.However, civilians and conscripts, as well as Japanese civilians in China, were frequently maltreated by the Chinese military. Rummel says that Chinese peasants "often had no less to fear from their own soldiers than ... from the Japanese". The Nationalist military was reinforced by recruits gained through violent campaigns of conscription directed at Chinese civilians. According to Rummel:
This was a deadly affair in which men were kidnapped for the army, rounded up indiscriminately by press-gangs or army units among those on the roads or in the towns and villages, or otherwise gathered together. Many men, some the very young and old, were killed resisting or trying to escape. Once collected, they would be roped or chained together and marched, with little food or water, long distances to camp. They often died or were killed along the way, sometimes less than 50 percent reaching camp alive. Then recruit camp was no better, with hospitals resembling Nazi concentration camps... Probably 3,081,000 died during the Sino-Japanese War; likely another 1,131,000 during the Civil War—4,212,000 dead in total. Just during conscription [emphasis added].
Within some intakes of Nationalist conscripts, there was a death rate of 90% from disease, starvation or violence before they commenced training.
Examples of war crimes committed by Chinese associated forces include:
According to historian Mark Johnston, "the killing of unarmed Japanese was common" and Australian command tried to put pressure on troops to actually take prisoners, but the troops proved reluctant.When prisoners were indeed taken "it often proved difficult to prevent them from killing captured Japanese before they could be interrogated". According to Johnston, as a consequence of this type of behavior, "Some Japanese soldiers were almost certainly deterred from surrendering to Australians".
Major General Paul Cullen indicated that the killing of Japanese prisoners in the Kokoda Track Campaign was not uncommon. In one instance he recalled during the battle at Gorari that "the leading platoon captured five or seven Japanese and moved on to the next battle. The next platoon came along and bayoneted these Japanese."He also stated that he found the killings understandable but that it had left him feeling guilty.
American soldiers in the Pacific often deliberately killed Japanese soldiers who had surrendered. According to Richard Aldrich, who has published a study of the diaries kept by United States and Australian soldiers, they sometimes massacred prisoners of war.Dower states that in "many instances ... Japanese who did become prisoners were killed on the spot or en route to prison compounds". According to Aldrich it was common practice for U.S. troops not to take prisoners. This analysis is supported by British historian Niall Ferguson, who also says that, in 1943, "a secret [U.S.] intelligence report noted that only the promise of ice cream and three days leave would ... induce American troops not to kill surrendering Japanese".
Ferguson states such practices played a role in the ratio of Japanese prisoners to dead being 1:100 in late 1944. That same year, efforts were taken by Allied high commanders to suppress "take no prisoners" attitudes,among their own personnel (as these were affecting intelligence gathering) and to encourage Japanese soldiers to surrender. Ferguson adds that measures by Allied commanders to improve the ratio of Japanese prisoners to Japanese dead, resulted in it reaching 1:7, by mid-1945. Nevertheless, taking no prisoners was still standard practice among US troops at the Battle of Okinawa, in April–June 1945.
Ulrich Straus, a US Japanologist, suggests that frontline troops intensely hated Japanese military personnel and were "not easily persuaded" to take or protect prisoners, as they believed that Allied personnel who surrendered, got "no mercy" from the Japanese.Allied soldiers believed that Japanese soldiers were inclined to feign surrender in order to make surprise attacks. Therefore, according to Straus, "Senior officers opposed the taking of prisoners on the grounds that it needlessly exposed American troops to risks". When prisoners nevertheless were taken at Guadalcanal, interrogator Army Captain Burden noted that many times these were shot during transport because "it was too much bother to take him in".
Ferguson suggests that
it was not only the fear of disciplinary action or of dishonor that deterred German and Japanese soldiers from surrendering. More important for most soldiers was the perception that prisoners would be killed by the enemy anyway, and so one might as well fight on.
US historian James J. Weingartner attributes the very low number of Japanese in US POW compounds to two important factors, a Japanese reluctance to surrender and a widespread American "conviction that the Japanese were "animals" or "subhuman" and unworthy of the normal treatment accorded to POWs.The latter reason is supported by Ferguson, who says that "Allied troops often saw the Japanese in the same way that Germans regarded Russians—as Untermenschen".
Some Allied soldiers collected Japanese body parts. The incidence of this by American personnel 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 13 June 1944 memorandum, the US Army Judge Advocate General, (JAG) Major General Myron C. Cramer, asserted that "such atrocious and brutal policies", were both "repugnant to the sensibilities of all civilized people"and also violations of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field, which stated that: "After each engagement, the occupant of the field of battle shall take measures to search for the wounded and dead, and to protect them against pillage and maltreatment." Cramer recommended the distribution to all commanders of a directive ordering them to prohibit the misuse of enemy body parts.
These practices were in addition also in violation of the unwritten customary rules of land warfare and could lead to the death penalty.The US 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".
US soldiers raped Okinawan women during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
Okinawan historian and former director of the Okinawa Prefectural Historical Archives Oshiro Masayasu writes based on several years of research:
According to interviews carried out by The New York Times and published by them in 2000, multiple elderly people from an Okinawan village confessed that after the United States had won the Battle of Okinawa three armed marines kept coming to the village every week to force the villagers to gather all the local women, who were then carried off into the hills and raped. The article goes deeper into the matter and claims that the villagers' tale - true or not - is part of a 'dark, long-kept secret' the unraveling of which 'refocused attention on what historians say is one of the most widely ignored crimes of the war': "the widespread rape of Okinawan women by American servicemen".Although Japanese reports of rape were largely ignored at the time, academic estimates have been that as many as 10,000 Okinawan women may have been raped. It has been claimed that the rape was so prevalent that most Okinawans over age 65 around the year 2000 either knew or had heard of a woman who was raped in the aftermath of the war. Military officials denied the mass rapings, and all surviving veterans refused The New York Times' request for an interview.
Professor of East Asian Studies and expert on Okinawa Steve Rabson said: "I have read many accounts of such rapes in Okinawan newspapers and books, but few people know about them or are willing to talk about them". Books, diaries, articles and other documents refer to rapes by American soldiers of various races and backgrounds. Samuel Saxton, a retired captain, explained that the American veterans and witnesses may have believed: "It would be unfair for the public to get the impression that we were all a bunch of rapists after we worked so hard to serve our country". Masaie Ishihara, a sociology professor, supports this: "There is a lot of historical amnesia out there, many people don't want to acknowledge what really happened".
An explanation given for why the US military has no record of any rapes is that few - if any - Okinawan women reported abuse, mostly out of fear and embarrassment. Those who did report them are believed by historians to have been ignored by the US military police. A large scale effort to determine the extent of such crimes has also never been called for. Over five decades after the war has ended the women who were believed to have been raped still refused to give a public statement, with friends, local historians and university professors who had spoken with the women instead saying they preferred not to discuss it publicly. According to a Nago, Okinawan police spokesman: "Victimized women feel too ashamed to make it public".
In his book "Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb", George Feifer noted that by 1946 there had been fewer than 10 reported cases of rape in Okinawa. He explains that it was: "partly because of shame and disgrace, partly because Americans were victors and occupiers". Feifer claimed: "In all there were probably thousands of incidents, but the victims' silence kept rape another dirty secret of the campaign."Many people wondered why it never came to light after the inevitable American-Japanese babies the many women must have had. In interviews, historians and Okinawan elders said that some Okinawan women who were raped did give birth to biracial children, but that many of them were immediately killed or left behind out of shame, disgust or fearful trauma. More often, however, rape victims underwent crude abortions with the help of village midwives.
However, American professor of Japanese Studies Michael S. Molasky argues that Okinawan civilians "were often surprised at the comparatively humane treatment they received from the American enemy."According to Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power by the American Mark Selden, the Americans "did not pursue a policy of torture, rape, and murder of civilians as Japanese military officials had warned."
There were 1,336 reported rapes during the first 10 days of the occupation of Kanagawa Prefecture after the Japanese surrender.
According to James D. Morrow, "Death rates of POWs held is one measure of adherence to the standards of the treaties because substandard treatment leads to death of prisoners". The "democratic states generally provide good treatment of POWs".
Novelist James Bacque claims an analysis of records supports a death rate of over 25% among German soldiers who fell into Allied hands at the end of the war,. [ who? ] who describe Bacque's figures as "simply impossible". A panel of historians concluded that Bacque is a Canadian novelist with no previous historical research or writing experience, and his writing is "seriously — nay, spectacularly — flawed in its most fundamental aspects."These soldiers were classified by the Allies as Disarmed Enemy Forces in order that they not be covered by the Geneva Convention. Bacque's figures have been disputed by academics,
|included in Western Allies (27%)||not documented||27.00%||–||–|
The focus on supposed Allied atrocities during the war has been a theme of Holocaust denial literature, particularly in countries where outright denial of the Holocaust is illegal.According to historian Deborah Lipstadt, the concept of "comparable Allied wrongs", such as the post-war expulsions and Allied war crimes, is at the center of, and a continuously repeated theme of, contemporary Holocaust denial; phenomenon she calls "immoral equivalencies".
Japanese neo-nationalists argue that Allied war crimes and the shortcomings of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal were equivalent to the war crimes committed by Japanese forces during the war.[ citation needed ] American historian John W. Dower has written that this position is "a kind of historiographic cancellation of immorality—as if the transgressions of others exonerate one's own crimes". While right-wing forces in Japan have tried to push for their perspective on war-time history, they have been unsuccessful due to opposition both within and outside Japan.
Still, the villagers' tale of a dark, long-kept secret has refocused attention on what historians say is one of the most widely ignored crimes of the war, the widespread rape of Okinawan women by American servicemen.
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was a major battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by United States Marine and Army forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. The initial invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The 82-day battle lasted from April 1 until June 22, 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were planning to use Kadena Air Base on the large island of Okinawa as a base for Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, 340 mi (550 km) away.
A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether a combatant or a non-combatant, who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610.
The Malmedy massacre was a war crime committed by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper, a German combat unit led by Joachim Peiper, at Baugnez crossroads near Malmedy, Belgium, on December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. According to numerous eyewitness accounts, 84 American prisoners of war were massacred by their German captors: the prisoners were assembled in a field and shot with machine guns.
Nazism and the acts of the Nazi German state profoundly affected many countries, communities, and people before, during and after World War II. The regime's attempt to exterminate several groups viewed as subhuman by Nazi ideology was eventually stopped by the combined efforts of the wartime Allies headed by Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States.
Disarmed Enemy Forces was a US designation for soldiers who surrendered to an adversary after hostilities ended, and for those POWs who had already surrendered and were held in camps in occupied German territory at the time. It was Dwight D. Eisenhower's designation of German prisoners in post-World War II occupied Germany.
War crimes were committed by the Empire of Japan in many Asia-Pacific countries during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. These incidents have been described as an "Asian Holocaust". Some war crimes were committed by Japanese military personnel during the late 19th century, but most Japanese war crimes were committed during the first part of the Shōwa Era, the name given to the reign of Emperor Hirohito, until the surrender of the Empire of Japan in 1945.
The end of World War II in Asia occurred on 2 September 1945, when armed forces of the Empire of Japan surrendered to the forces of the Allies. The surrender came almost four months after the surrender of the Axis forces in Europe and brought an end to World War II.
The Bangka Island massacre was committed on 16 February 1942, when Imperial Japanese soldiers machine-gunned 22 Australian Army nurses and 60 Australian and British soldiers and crew members from two sunken ships. Vivian Bullwinkel was the sole survivor of the nurses; two soldiers survived. Recent evidence collected by historian Lynette Silver, broadcaster Tess Lawrence and biographer Barbara Angell, indicates that most of the nurses were sexually assaulted before they were murdered. However, Bullwinkel was not permitted to speak about the rapes after the war. According to the Australian government, the perpetrators of the massacre remain unknown and "escaped any punishment for their crime".
The Manila massacre involved atrocities committed against Filipino civilians in the City of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, by Japanese troops during World War II at the Battle of Manila. The combined death toll of civilians for the battle of Manila was about 100,000.
During World War II, the Germans' combined armed forces committed systematic war crimes, including massacres, mass rape, looting, the exploitation of forced labor, the murder of three million Soviet prisoners of war, and participated in the extermination of Jews. While the Nazi Party's own SS forces of Nazi Germany was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of the Holocaust, the regular armed forces represented by the Wehrmacht committed war crimes of their own, particularly on the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union.
War crimes perpetrated by the Soviet Union and its armed forces from 1919 to 1991 include acts committed by the Red Army as well as the NKVD, including the NKVD's Internal Troops. In some cases, these acts were committed upon the orders of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in pursuance of the early Soviet Government's policy of Red Terror, in other instances they were committed without orders by Soviet troops against prisoners of war or civilians of countries that had been in armed conflict with the USSR, or they were committed during partisan warfare.
The governments of the German Empire and Nazi Germany ordered, organized and condoned a substantial number of war crimes in World War I and World War II respectively. The most notable of these is the Holocaust in which millions of Jews, Poles, and Romani were systematically murdered or died from abuse and mistreatment. Millions also died as a result of other German actions in those two conflicts. The true number of victims may never be known, since much of the evidence was deliberately destroyed by the perpetrators in an attempt to conceal the crimes.
Wartime sexual violence is rape or other forms of sexual violence committed by combatants during armed conflict, war, or military occupation often as spoils of war; but sometimes, particularly in ethnic conflict, the phenomenon has broader sociological motives. Wartime sexual violence may also include gang rape and rape with objects. It is distinguished from sexual harassment, sexual assaults, and rape committed amongst troops in military service. It also covers the situation where girls and women are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery by an occupying power.
United States war crimes are the violations of the laws and customs of war of which the United States Armed Forces are accused of committing since the signing of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. These have included the summary execution of captured enemy combatants, the mistreatment of prisoners during interrogation (torture), and the use of violence against civilian non-combatants.
Approximately three million German prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union during World War II, most of them during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war. The POWs were employed as forced labor in the Soviet wartime economy and post-war reconstruction. By 1950 almost all surviving POWs had been released, with the last prisoner returning from the USSR in 1956. According to Soviet records 381,067 German Wehrmacht POWs died in NKVD camps. German historian Rüdiger Overmans maintains that it seems entirely plausible, while not provable, that one million died in Soviet custody. He also believes that there were men who actually died as POWs amongst those listed as missing-in-action (MIA).
Rapes during the occupation of Japan were war rapes or rapes committed under the Allied military occupation of Japan. Allied troops committed a number of rapes during the Battle of Okinawa during the last months of the Pacific War and the subsequent occupation of Japan. The Allies occupied Japan until 1952 following the end of World War II and Okinawa Prefecture remained under US governance for two decades after. Estimates of the incidence of sexual violence by Allied occupation personnel differ considerably.
During World War II, it has been estimated that between 19,500 and 50,000 members of the Imperial Japanese military surrendered to Western Allied combatants prior to the end of the Pacific War in August 1945. Soviet troops seized and imprisoned more than half a million Japanese troops and civilians in China and other places. The number of Japanese soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who surrendered was limited by the Japanese military indoctrinating its personnel to fight to the death, Allied combat personnel often being unwilling to take prisoners, and many Japanese soldiers believing that those who surrendered would be killed by their captors.
As Allied troops entered and occupied German territory during the later stages of World War II, mass rapes of women took place both in connection with combat operations and during the subsequent occupation. Most Western scholars agree that the majority of the rapes were committed by Soviet servicemen, while some Russian historians maintain that these crimes were not widespread. The wartime rapes had been surrounded by decades of silence. According to Antony Beevor, whose books were banned in 2015 from some Russian schools and colleges, NKVD files have revealed that the leadership knew what was happening, but did little to stop it. Some Russian historians disagree, claiming that the Soviet leadership took some action.
At the beginning of the Pacific War in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army contained 51 divisions, most of which were stationed in China. A further 13 divisions defended the Manchurian-Soviet border, due to concerns about a possible attack by the Soviet Union. From 1942, troops were sent to Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Dutch East Indies, and Malaya. By 1945, there were 5.5 million men in the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Lippach massacre was a war crime committed by the 12th Armored Division of the US Army on 22 April 1945 during the Western Allied invasion of Germany. Some 25 black US soldiers from the 3rd Provisional Company killed approximately 24 Waffen-SS prisoners of war and allegedly raped 20 women.