Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Harris, Justin - BizTech Seminar Paper

Harris, Justin - BizTech Seminar Paper

Ratings: (0)|Views: 19 |Likes:
Published by harrisburrrg

More info:

Published by: harrisburrrg on Feb 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

02/09/2011

pdf

text

original

 
1
American Soldiers and POW Killing in World War II:Social Construction and the Rules of War Justin M. HarrisHistory 689: History of Business and TechnologyDr. H. C. Livesay4 December 2010
 
2
 Introduction
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the soldiers who actual fightwars, not by the politicians who send them to fight, socially construct the rules governingwar. To that end, it will examine how American soldiers fighting in the European Theater of World War II developed their own policies of prisoner treatment. Although theygenerally observed the regulations set forth in The Hague and Geneva Conventions,numerous post-war memoirs and interviews reveal that American soldiers frequentlykilled enemy prisoners-of-war.This study argues that a wide range of external and internal factors, each withsubtle variations, motivated Americans to kill POWs. Furthermore, it argues that thecumulative effects of combat stress, and the frequency with which soldiers encounteredsituations providing motive and opportunity, indicates that acts of POW killing figured prominently in American combat behavior. Officially forbidden at the highest levels, buttacitly condoned by the men at the front, the fact that American soldiers often killedPOWs was the ³open secret´ of the war.
 Laws
of W 
a
r during World W 
a
r II 
In his study of international law, political scientist James Morrow states, ³Aneffective agreement on POWs must operate at the individual level as well as at the statelevel.´
1
Thus, in order to understand why POW policy failed at the individual level, wemust first understand how the international community intended POW policy to work at
1
James D. Morrow, ³The Institutional Features of Prisoners of War Treaties,´
 Intern
a
tion
a
Org 
a
niz
a
tion
55, no. 4 (Autumn 2001): 976.
 
3
the national level. During World War II, two separate but mutually supportinginternational peace conventions codified the laws of war for in regards to POWtreatment.
2
In 1907, the Second Peace Conference of The Hague (Hague IV) producedthe body of law that outlined the proper conduct of belligerents in armed conflict. Inregard to POWs, Hague IV prohibited a belligerent from declaring that no quarter will begiven or killing or wounding an enemy who has ³surrendered at discretion.´ In addition,it required captors to treat POWs humanely, allow them to keep all of their personal belongings, and return captured enemy medical personnel.
3
Most importantly, Hague IV placed responsibility for POWs with the hostile government and not with the individualswho captured them.After World War I, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) decidedto remedy the failings of Hague IV in regards to the treatment of prisoners of war. Theresult was the
onvention rel 
a
tive to the Tre
a
tment of Pri
 s
oner 
 s
of W 
a
r, Genev
a
July 27,1929
and the
onvention for the Amelior 
a
tion of the
ondition of the Wounded 
a
nd Sick in Armie
 s
in the Field, Genev
a
 , 27 July 1929
. The first convention supplemented theHague regulations by prohibiting reprisals against prisoners and establishing specificrules for the provision of proper food, clothing, and shelter. The second convention
2
All of the major belligerents during World War II were signatories of The Hague and GenevaConventions except Japan and the Soviet Union.
3
onvention (IV) re
 sp
ecting the
 Laws
 
a
nd 
u
 s
tom
 s
of W 
a
r on
 La
nd 
a
nd it 
 s
 
a
nnex: Regul 
a
tion
 s
 concerning the
 Laws
 
a
nd 
u
 s
tom
 s
of W 
a
r on
 La
nd, The H 
a
 gue, 18 October 1907 
(hereafter cited as
 H 
a
 gue
onvention
), International Committee for the Red Cross, http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebPrint/195-TRA?OpenDocument (accessed 10 November 2010).

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->