Quora Question – What don’t people tell you about
World War II?
Addition by Don Chapin: This list Cagle provides (below, in the Quora-published response) is actually only a small part of atrocities conducted, and only because they were made public in some manner. In Vietnam, ask about when our ground troops were put under CIA control (Operation Phoenix) and
whole villages were wiped out, old men, women and children, in the CIA’s look for N. Vietnam sympathizers and/or informants. Remember the Vietnam picture of a little girl fleeing toward the photographer from the village American pilots had just napalmed, killing her whole family?…just two
quick examples of American troop atrocities.
But, a key reason for me to switch from a desire for pilot training to go for a graduate engineering degree was the attitude of returning F-4 pilots toward Vietnamese farmers … being bored with no air opposition, using their F-4 planes 20mm/50 cal. guns to “in fun” chase farmers from their fields back to their houses just because the farmers wore ‘black pajamas’, a national tradition. With the pilots laughing about such situations, my desire to be a pilot rapidly decreased.
History attests to the fact that absolutely every participant
country in a war has committed ‘war crimes’!!
A Historical First was achieved in WWI European trench warfare
on a Christmas day when, in an undeclared truce, both sides
suddenly quit fighting and celebrated together.
Published answer by Alan Cagle, Amateur Military Historian of No
Repute (WW2), Updated Oct 2, ‘21
Originally Answered: What don’t they tell you about World War II?
1. Patton had two: a captain who machine-gunned a group of prisoners ‘attempting to escape’; and a sergeant who really did not like Germans-he hit a POW in the throat with a knife, killing him. Patton took no official action, but sent them both to the front. The Captain was KIA, but the NCO (busted to private) survived the war.
2. A Brit Royal Navy captain machine-gunned German swimmers in the water after his PT boat sank their barge off Italy. The crew of a US PT radar boat, leading this UK group, saw it.
3. A U-boat crew who did the same to Allied sailors, whose ship they sunk, shot them in the water. Wiki: “Eck, Hoffmann, and Dr. Weisspfennig were sentenced to death. Weisspfennig was condemned because as a non-combatant under the Geneva Conventions, he was prohibited from firing weapons even in action. Eck and Hoffmann were executed because in their roles as the boat’s senior officers, responsibility for the actions of their crew, as well as their own, fell directly on their shoulders. All three were shot by firing squad at Lüneberg Heath on 30 November 1945.” In this instance the movie “Murphy’s War” was based on this incident. See: U-boat commander massacres survivors in the water
4. After the SS massacred a group of US POW at the Battle of the Bulge it was open season on SS troops. German Army tankers who wore black uniforms gave up saying, “Me no SS”.
5, During the Falklands war, see Daily Mail article, Mt Tumbledown and ‘no prisoners’. A very dirty war: British soldiers sot dead by enemy troops waving the white flag and Argentinian prisoners bayoneted in cold blood. An ex-Para tells of the horrors of the Falklands
6. Omar Bradley in Normandy said, “Those snipers think they can kill three Americans and jump down, raise the hands and surrender. No way”.
7. At the Battle of the Bismarck sea, about 1000 Japanese’s sailors/soldiers had been blown out of their ships into the sea, by the US 3rd Attack Group. B-25s with skip bombs and 8 forward firing .50 cal machine guns. They were close to shore, and at the beginning of the battle a Japanese fighter had shot down a US B-17 and machine gunned the crew in parachutes. That did
not go over well with the 3rd. The leader told the attackers, “Any one with qualms can go home now”. He then lead the group and machine-gunned the survivors in the water. (This had been prohibited by Hague Convention of 1907, but did not stop them.)
8. Mush Morton, CO of the sub Wahoo, sank a Japanese ship, saw a bunch of survivors in the waters, surfaced and got the crew to machine-gun the survivors.
This is the grim face of war. Young, tired, boys, with weapons often “lose it.” The fact that they dehumanize the enemy: slopes, dinks, gooks, krauts, macaroni’s, etc., make them appear less than human. (YES! A key purpose of “basic training” ~ Don Chapin)
This ensures the safety of a POW, and is the way the US likes to view itself:
The boy is 10, in full Heer uniform (German army) and therefore a legitimate
target for a US soldier, therefore the SSgt is holding his hand.