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Fighting for the United States, Executed in Britain (Hardback)

US Soldiers Court-Martialled in WWII

WWII Military

By Simon Webb
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526790958
Published: 2nd June 2021


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This book relates a chapter of American military history which many people would rather forget. When the United States came to the aid of Britain in 1942, the arrival of American troops was greeted with unreserved enthusiasm, but unfortunately, wartime sometimes brings out the worst, as well as the best, in people. A small number of the soldiers abused the hospitality they received by committing murders and rapes against British civilians. Some of these men were hanged or shot at Shepton Mallet Prison in Somerset, which had been handed over for the use of the American armed forces.

Due to a treaty between Britain and America, those accused of such offences faced an American court martial, rather than a British civilian court, which gave rise to some curious anomalies. Although rape had not been a capital crime in Britain for over a century, it still carried the death penalty under American military law and so the last executions for rape in Britain were carried out at this time in Shepton Mallet.

Fighting For the United States, Executed in Britain tells the story of every American soldier executed in Britain during the Second World War. The majority of the executed soldiers were either black or Hispanic, reflecting the situation in the United States itself, where the ethnicity of the accused person often played a key role in both convictions and the chances of subsequently being executed.

I had no clue! This is a very interesting story about the executions of American soldiers in Great Britain for crimes they commited during WWII. I just never thought of us as having soldiers that commit crimes. I know how naive that sounds but I think most of us want to look at our soldiers and only see the good guys, not what the bad side could be. We all have this fantasy I think about WWII and how we were the knights on white horses charging in to save the day and triumphj over evil. Well we did help save the day and win against evil, but that is not to say that we didn't do our share of the looting and pillaging also. This book provides an education on what goes on and what we really don't care to acknowledge but need to. Thank you for opening my eyes.
I recommend this to anyone interested in WWII history, Read it so that you form a complete picture of our role in the war, both good and bad.

NetGalley, Lori Harris
 Simon Webb

About Simon Webb

Simon Webb is the author of a number of non-fiction books, ranging from academic works on education to popular history. He works as a consultant on the subject of capital punishment to television companies and filmmakers and also writes for various magazines and newspapers; including the Times Educational SupplementThe Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.

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