Allied war crimes during World War II

Allied war crimes during World War II

Allied war crimes were violations of the laws of war committed by the Allies of World War II against civilian populations or military personnel of the Axis Powers.

At the end of World War II, several trials of Axis war criminals took place, most famously were the Nuremberg Trials. However, in Europe, these tribunals were set up under the authority of the London Charter, and could only consider allegations of war crimes committed by persons who acted in the interests of the European Axis countries.

There were a number of alleged war crimes involving Allied personnel that were investigated by the Allied powers and that led in some instances to courts-martial. Other incidents are alleged by historians to have been crimes under the law of war in operation at the time, but that for a variety of reasons were not investigated by the Allied powers during the war, or they were investigated and a decision was taken not to prosecute.


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has estimated that the number may have exceeded 10,000. There were 1,336 reported rapes during the first 10 days of the occupation of the Kanagawa prefecture. [cite book|last=Schrijvers|first=Peter|title=The GI War Against Japan|publisher=New York University Press|location=New York City|year=2002|pages=p.212|isbn=0814798160]

"When US paratroopers landed in Sapporo, an orgy of looting, sexual violence and drunken brawling ensued. Gang rapes and other sex atrocities were not infrequent." [Eiji Takemae, Robert Ricketts, Sebastian Swann, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy. p.67( [ Google.books] )] Some of the rape victims committed suicide. [Eiji Takemae, Robert Ricketts, Sebastian Swann, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy. p.67( [ Google.books] )]

"A former prostitute recalled that as soon as Australian troops arrived in Kure in early 1946, they 'dragged young women into their jeeps, took them to the mountain, and then raped them. I heard them screaming for help nearly every night'." [Eiji Takemae, Robert Ricketts, Sebastian Swann, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy. p.67( [ Google.books] )] [For detailed accounts of rapes by Australian occupation troop during the occupation of Japan, see Allan Clifton, "Time of Fallen Blossoms". [ Australian Military Gang Rape of ‘Fallen Blossoms’] ] The Allied occupation forces suppressed news of its criminal activities, on September 10 1945 SCAP "issued press and pre-censorship codes outlawing the publication of all reports and statistics 'inimical to the objectives of the Occupation'." [Eiji Takemae, Robert Ricketts, Sebastian Swann, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy. p.67( [ Google.books] )]

Allan Clifton, an Australian officer of the BCOF who acted as interpreter and criminal investigator wrote::"I stood beside a bed in hospital. On it lay a girl, unconscious, her long, black hair in wild tumult on the pillow. A doctor and two nurses were working to revive her. An hour before she had been raped by twenty soldiers. We found her where they had left her, on a piece of waste land. the hospital was in Hiroshima. the girl was Japanese. The soldiers were Australians.:The Moaning and wailing had ceased and she was quiet now. The tortured tension on her face had slipped away, and the soft brown skin was smooth and unwrinkled, stained with tears like the face of a child that has cried herself to sleep.As to Australian justice he writes regarding another rape that was witnessed by a party of cardplayers::"At the court martial that followed, the accused was found guilty and sentenced to ten years penal servitude. In accordance with army law the courts decision was forwarded to Australia for confirmation. Some time later the documents were returned marked 'Conviction quashed because of insufficient evidence'." [Yuki Tanaka, Toshiyuki "Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II" p.126-127, ( [,M1] )]

In 1998 the remains of three US Marines stationed on Okinawa were discovered outside of a local village. Accounts from elderly Okinawans verify that the men had made frequent trips to the village to rape the women that lived there but were ambushed and killed by men from the village on one of their return trips. [ "3 Dead Marines and a Secret of Wartime Okinawa"] New York Times, June 1, 2000] According to the same article, published in 2000,: "rape was so prevalent that most Okinawans over age 65 either know or have heard of a woman who was raped in the aftermath of the war."

Okinawan historian Oshiro Masayasu (former director of the Okinawa Prefectural Historical Archives) writes based on several years of research::Soon after the US marines landed, all the women of a village on Motobu Peninsula fell into the hands of American soldiers. At the time, there were only women, children and old people in the village, as all the young men had been mobilized for the war. Soon after landing, the marines "mopped up" the entire village, but found no signs of Japanese forces. Taking advantage of the situation, they started "hunting for women" in broad daylight and those who were hiding in the village or nearby air raid shelters were dragged out one after another. [ [,M1 Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II] By Yuki Tanaka, Toshiyuki Tanaka, page 111]

Post-war incidents involving Axis POWs

;Norway: :*German POWs in Norway forced to clear minefieldsFact|date=April 2008 (Disarmed Enemy Forces). [ICRC [ Commentaries on the Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War] [ Article 5] "Under the present provision, the Convention applies to persons who "fall into the power" of the enemy. This term is also used in the opening sentence of Article 4, replacing the expression "captured" which was used in the 1929 Convention (Article 1). It indicates clearly that the treatment laid down by the Convention is applicable not only to military personnel taken prisoner in the course of fighting, but also to those who fall into the hands of the adversary following surrender or mass capitulation."]

;France and the Low Countries:*German prisoners were used to clear minefields in France and the Low Countries, a practice that the French government justified at the time as provided for in the Armistice but conceded that it was perhaps not in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. [United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers, 1945. European Advisory Commission, Austria, Germany Volume III (1945) [ Page 1384] ] By December 1945, it was estimated by French authorities that 2,000 German prisoners were being killed or maimed each month in accidents. [ S. P. MacKenzie "The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II" "The Journal of Modern History", Vol. 66, No. 3. (September 1994), pp. 487-520.] Fact|date=April 2008

:*On June 1st, 1945, French occupation forces used Polish soldiers in their service to forcibly bring Waffen-SS officer Oskar Dirlewanger to the Altshausen jail. Dirlewanger was beaten and tortured over the next several days. He died from injuries inflicted by the Polish guards on June 4/5 1945. [Walter Stanoski Winter, Walter Winter, Struan Robertson: [ "Winter Time: Memoirs of a German Sinto who Survived Auschwitz"] . 2004. Page 139. ISBN 1902806387.] Fact|date=April 2008

;United States::*Rheinwiesenlager prison camps for German POWs [ [ U.S. (and French) abuse of German PoWs, 1945-1948] ] Fact|date=April 2008 :*Salina Utah POW massacre [cite web

url =,9171,803557,00.html
title =Midnight Massacre
publisher =TIME
accessdate =2008-04-28
] Fact|date=April 2008

Comparative deaths rates of POWs

"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 ofPOWs".James D. Morrow. " [ The Institutional Features of the Prisoners of War Treaties] ", Center for Political Studies at The University of Michigan]

Death rates of POWs held by Axis powers

* Chinese POWs held by Japan: > 99% (only 56 survivors at the end of the war) [Herbert Bix, 2000,"Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan" HarperCollins. (ISBN 0-06-019314-X) p. 360]
* US and British Commonwealth POWs held by Germany: ~4%
* Soviet POWs held by Germany: 57.5% Niall Ferguson, "Prisoner Taking and Prisoner Killing in the Age of Total War: Towards a Political Economy of Military Defeat" War in History 2004 11 (2) 148–192 pg. 186 (Table 4)]
* Western Allied POWs held by Japan: 27% [Yuki Tanaka, 1996,"Hidden Horrors" (Westview Press) (ISBN 0-81-332718-0) pp. 2-3.]

Death rates of POWs held by the Allies

* German POWs in East European (not including the Soviet Union) hands 32.9%
* German soldiers held by Soviet Union: 15-33% (14.7% in "The Dictators" by Richard Overy, 35.8% in Ferguson)
* Japanese POWs held by Soviet Union: 10%
* German POWs in British hands 0.03%
* German POWs in American hands 0.15%
* German POWs in French hands 2.58%
* Japanese POWs held by U.S.: relatively low, mainly suicides according to James D. MorrowJames D. Morrow " [ The Institutional Features of the Prisoners of War Treaties] ", Center for Political Studies at The University of Michigan, p. 22] or according to Ulrich Straus high as many prisoners were shot by front line troops.

ee also

*Eisenhower and German POWs
*Operation Keelhaul
*Betrayal of Cossacks
*1944-1945 Killings in Bačka
*Foibe massacres
*Soviet war crimes
*Victor's justice
*Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union
*Bad Nenndorf interrogation centre


Further reading

*Dower, J.W. "War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War", (London and Boston, 1986)
*Lily, J. Robert, (not yet published). [ "TAKEN BY FORCE; Rape and American Soldiers in the European Theater of Operations, WW2"] , Palgrave Macmillan June 2007 ISBN 0-230-50647-X
*Ferguson, Niall. [ Prisoner Taking and Prisoner Killing in the Age of Total War: Towards a Political Economy of Military Defeat] , War in History, Vol. 11, No. 2, 148-192 (2004)
* Veale F.J.P. "Advance to Barbarism", Appleton Wisconsin: C.C. Nelson Publishing Co., 1953

*Cobain, Ian. [,14058,1640957,00.html?gusrc=rss Revealed: UK wartime torture camp] , The Guardian, November 12 2005.
*Drayton, Richard. [,3604,1480178,00.html "An ethical blank cheque" British and US mythology about the second world war ignores our own crimes and legitimises Anglo-American war making] , The Guardian, May 10, 2005
* Várdy, Steven Béla and Tooly, T. Hunt: " [ Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe"] Available as MS Word for Windows file (3.4 MB) Section: by Richard Dominic Wiggers, "The United States and the Refusal to Feed German Civilians after World War II" pp. 274 - 288

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