U.S. soldiers were reported committing rape against French women during and after the liberation of France in the later stages of World War II. The sociologist J. Robert Lilly of Northern Kentucky University estimates that U.S. servicemen committed around 3,500 rapes in France between June 1944 and the end of the war.
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The invasion of Normandy in June and a second invasion in the south in August, put over two million front line and support troops of the Western Allies into France in 1944.
The Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August. Except for German forces penned in the south-west (e.g., around Bordeaux) or in ports, the majority of German troops were pushed back to the Siegfried Line by the end of 1944. After the war, the repatriation for demobilisation of the troops took time. Even in 1946, months after VE-day there were still about 1.5 million troops in Europe.The housing and management of the thousands of troops awaiting embarkation on a ship for home was a problem.
Life magazine reported the widespread view among American troops of France as "a tremendous brothel inhabited by 40 million hedonists who spent all their time eating, drinking, making love and in general having a hell of a good time".
By the late summer of 1944, soon after the invasion of Normandy, women in Normandy began to report rapes by American soldiers.Hundreds of cases were reported.
In 1945, after the end of the war in Europe, Le Havre was filled with American servicemen awaiting return to the States. A Le Havre citizen wrote to the mayor that the people of Le Havre were "attacked, robbed, run over both on the street and in our houses" and "This is a regime of terror, imposed by bandits in uniform."A coffeehouse owner from Le Havre testified "We expected friends who would not make us ashamed of our defeat. Instead, there came only incomprehension, arrogance, incredibly bad manners and the swagger of conquerors." Such behavior also was common in Cherbourg. One resident stated that "With the Germans, the men had to camouflage themselves—but with the Americans, we had to hide the women."
U.S. troops committed 208 rapes and about 30 murders in the department of Manche.
A brothel, the "Blue and Gray Corral," was set up near the village of St. Renan in September 1944 by Major General Charles H. Gerhardt, commander of the 29th Infantry Division, partly to counter a wave of rape accusations against American soldiers. It was shut down after a mere five hours in order to prevent civilians in the United States from finding out about a military-run brothel.
The Free French Forces high command sent a letter of complaint to the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower.He gave his commanders orders to take action against all allegations of murder, rape, assault, robbery and other crimes. In August 1945, Pierre Voisin, mayor of Le Havre urged Colonel Thomas Weed, U.S. commander in the region, to set up brothels outside Le Havre. However, U.S. commanders refused.
130 of the 153 troops disciplined for rape by the Army were African American. U.S. forces executed 29 soldiers for rape, 25 of them African American.Many convictions against African Americans were based on circumstantial evidence. For example, Marie Lepottevin identified William Downs only because he was "much larger" than the other soldiers.
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According to Alice Kaplan, an American historian of France and chair of the Department of French at Yale University, the U.S. military tolerated rape of French women less than that of German women. She argued that the number of rapes is well documented and is less than that of some other armies during that era, writing that "Nine hundred and four American soldiers were tried for rape in Europe, and even if the actual numbers were much higher, they do not compare with a terrible legacy of World War II-era rapes" committed, for example, by the Japanese in Nanking, by Germans in the German-occupied areas, by the French-Moroccans in Italy and by the Soviet soldiers across Eastern Europe and Germany.J. Robert Lilly, Regents professor of sociology and criminology at Northern Kentucky University, reported in Taken by Force: Rape and American GIs in Europe in World War II his estimate that 14,000 rapes were committed by U.S. soldiers in France, Germany and the United Kingdom between 1942 and 1945. More specifically, Lilly estimated that U.S. servicemen committed around 3,500 rapes in France between June 1944 and the end of the war.
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it organised and supported the Resistance in occupied France.
The Recreation and Amusement Association (RAA) was the largest of the organizations established by Japanese authorities to provide organized prostitution to prevent rapes and sexual violence by Allied occupation troops on the general population, and to create other leisure facilities for occupying Allied troops immediately following World War II. The RAA "recruited" 55,000 women and was short-lived.
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are generally considered as separate theatres. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, and continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain. The second phase consisted of large-scale ground combat, which began in June 1944 with the Allied landings in Normandy and continued until the defeat of Germany in May 1945.
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.
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 of the Wehrmacht committed many war crimes of their own, particularly on the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union. According to a study by Alex J. Kay and David Stahel, the majority of the Wehrmacht soldiers deployed to the Soviet Union participated in war crimes.
The Battle for Brest was fought on the Western Front during World War II. Part of the Allied plan for the invasion of mainland Europe called for the capture of port facilities, in order to ensure the timely delivery of the enormous amount of war materiel required to supply the invading Allied forces. It was estimated that the 37 Allied divisions to be on the continent by September 1944 would need 26,000 tons of supplies each day. The main port the Allied forces hoped to seize and put into their service was Brest, in northwestern France.
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.
The Aftermath of World War II was the beginning of a new era, defined by the decline of all European colonial empires and simultaneous rise of two superpowers: the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (USA). Allies during World War II, the US and the USSR became competitors on the world stage and engaged in the Cold War, so called because it never resulted in overt, declared hot war between the two powers but was instead characterized by espionage, political subversion and proxy wars. Western Europe and Japan were rebuilt through the American Marshall Plan whereas Central and Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet sphere of influence and eventually behind an "Iron Curtain". Europe was divided into a US-led Western Bloc and a Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Internationally, alliances with the two blocs gradually shifted, with some nations trying to stay out of the Cold War through the Non-Aligned Movement. The War also saw a nuclear arms race between the two superpowers; part of the reason that the Cold War never became a "hot" war was that the Soviet Union and the United States had nuclear deterrents against each other, leading to a mutually assured destruction standoff.
Bordels Mobiles de Campagne or Bordel Militaire de Campagne were mobile brothels used during World War I, World War II and the First Indochina War to supply prostitution services to French soldiers fighting in areas where brothels were unusual, such as at the front line or in isolated garrisons. The BMCs were major drivers towards the creation of prostitution regulations within the French army.
The French Expeditionary Corps, also known as the French Expeditionary Corps in Italy, was an expeditionary force of the French Liberation Army. Created in 1943, the corps fought in the Italian Campaign of World War II, under the command of General Alphonse Juin. Consisting of 112,000 men divided into four division, all but one of the divisions were colonial units, mostly Moroccans and Algerians drawn from the Army of Africa and led by French officers.
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.
United States war crimes are the violations of the laws and customs of war of which the United States Armed Forces has committed against signatories after 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, the use of torture, and the use of violence against civilians and non-combatants.
Operation Astonia was the codename for an Allied attack on the German-held Channel port of Le Havre in France, during the Second World War. The city had been declared a Festung (fortress) by Hitler, to be held to the last man. Fought from 10 to 12 September 1944, the Allied objective was to secure the harbour facilities intact, to deliver supplies to the Allied armies in Continental Europe. The Allies refused to let the civilian population be evacuated, despite offers of free passage by the fortress commander. From 26 August, Royal Navy ships and Royal Air Force aircraft carried out a blockade and an extensive preparatory bombardment of the city, which killed over 2,000 civilians and 19 German troops. The land attack was carried out by the British 49th Infantry Division and the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, aided by detachments of specialist armoured vehicles from the 79th Armoured Division, including Canadian troops. The German garrison of about 11,000 men surrendered on 12 September; the port was badly damaged but it was re-opened on 9 October. After the killing of so many French civilians, Allied commanders allowed the French inhabitants to leave Boulogne and other ports before attacking.
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.
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 of Germany. 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.
German military brothels were set up by Nazi Germany during World War II throughout much of occupied Europe for the use of Wehrmacht and SS soldiers. These brothels were generally new creations, but in the West, they were sometimes set up using existing brothels as well as many other buildings. Until 1942, there were around 500 military brothels of this kind in German-occupied Europe. Often operating in confiscated hotels and guarded by the Wehrmacht, these facilities served travelling soldiers and those withdrawn from the front. According to records, at least 34,140 European women were forced to serve as prostitutes during the German occupation of their own countries along with female prisoners of concentration camp brothels. In many cases in Eastern Europe, teenage girls and women were kidnapped on the streets of occupied cities during German military and police round ups called łapanka or rafle.
Taken by Force: Rape and American GIs in Europe in World War II is a 2007 book by Northern Kentucky University sociology and criminology professor J. Robert Lilly that examines the issue of rape by U.S. servicemen in European theatre of World War II.
The Bombing of Normandy during the Normandy invasion was meant to destroy the German communication lines in the Norman cities and towns. However, very few Germans occupied these municipalities. German troops were mostly located outside these areas. On 9 July 1944, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery demanded a massive air assault against Caen in hopes of clearing the way for an attack the following morning. Four hundred and fifty heavy aircraft participated, dropping 2,500 tons of bombs. The pilots however negated most of the effect by releasing their loads well back from the forward line to avoid hitting their own troops. As a result, the city incurred heavy damage but German defenses went largely unscathed.
The involvement of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in World War II began with its invasion by German forces on 10 May 1940 and lasted beyond its liberation by Allied forces in late 1944 and early 1945.
The Mont Canisy battery was a World War II German artillery battery constructed close to the French village of Benerville-sur-Mer in the Calvados department in the Lower Normandy region. Located on the highest ground in Normandy, the vantage point overlooks the Côte Fleurie. The bunker complex was constructed between 1941 and 1944 to protect the River Seine estuary and the port of Le Havre. It was the largest artillery bunker complex between Cherbourg and Le Havre. The battery is 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the Houlgate battery.