Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


This is coolbert:

Accompanying this blog is a photo of a fascist poster propaganda from World War Two [WW2].

An Italian fascist propaganda poster showing a large crucifix, JESUS hanging from the cross at an angle in what appears to be a bombed out church.

Look closely in the lower left hand corner of the poster. You will see, and it is somewhat hard to see, an American black soldier looting the church. Carrying in his arms silver candle sticks and a golden chalice. [that is what it looks like to me.]

[this soldier is wearing an English style helmet of the period. Maybe the artist that drew the poster was not familiar with the American military helmet of WW2.]

As I have said in previous posts, the Italian fascists tended to portray, in their propaganda posters, the black American soldier as a gorilla type of sub-human.

The thought that pervaded ITALIAN society at the time was that the black American soldier was raping Italian women in just prodigious numbers. So much was this idea in the minds of Italians that Pope Pius XII begged U.S. commanders NOT to allow black American troops to enter Rome when liberation of that city occurred.

Unfortunately, there was a small element of truth to what the Italians believed. A small segment of the U.S. Army did take advantage of a chaotic, lawless situation, and being armed, were able to force their will when they desired.

Committed crimes that were ordinary violations of criminal and military law. We are talking here about rape and murder. Capital crimes.

About seventy American soldiers were EXECUTED for capital crimes in the European Theatre of Operations [ETO] during WW2. American military tribunals administering justice to American soldiers. Of those seventy, eighty percent were black troops. This seems to be a very disproportionate number. Things like this raise eyebrows in certain quarters.

" Seventy American soldiers were convicted and executed in Europe between 1943 and 1946. Blacks made up 8.5 percent of the Army at the time and yet were almost 80 percent of those who swung from the gallows.

Kaplan's is not a book about heroes or gallantry, with the exception of French writer Louis Guilloux, who interpreted on behalf of the Army for French witnesses during some of the trials. Guilloux -- the interpreter of the title -- would later write a novel, 'OK, Joe,' about his experiences at the trials.

'I'm not arguing the innocence' of the black soldiers who were executed, Kaplan says. 'I'm arguing against the system that encouraged violence and let white soldiers get off for similar crimes.'"

["a system that encouraged violence." A system that encourgaged violence??!! What is this Kaplan talking about?? Soldiers are supposed to use violence, but NOT when they feel like it. ONLY on command!!]

[one of those black troops executed was Louis Till. Father of Emmett L. Till. The son whose 1955 murder at the hands of two white men in Mississippi made national headlines. Pvt. Louis Till was found guilty of raping two Italian women and murdering a third. For those crimes Louis Till was hung and buried in an unmarked grave in France.]

[the French too endured some abusive treatment at the hands of U.S. troops. The same pattern of "taking advantage of a situation" also occurred there.]

It is true that most black American troops in WW2 served in service and support units. Rear echelon units not involved in combat. This would include the famous "Red Ball Express". Supply units providing beans and bullets to the troops doing the fighting. Troops in such units TEND to be less disciplined and are disciplined less than soldiers in combat units. It may be that the disproportionate numbers of black troops executed for capital crimes in WW2 is just a reflection of undisciplined behavior and opportunity, and not some sort of racial bias or discrimination.

Hard to say for sure. I for one would not rush to judgment. A whole lot of facts would have to be looked at.



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