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Title: Crimes Committed by U.S. Soldiers in Europe, 1945-1946
Contributor(s): Kehoe, Thomas  (author)orcid ; Kehoe, E James (author)
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1162/jinh_a_00941
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Abstract: American soldiers engaged in all manner of criminal activity as they made their way across Europe after World War II. But in comparison with the well-established criminality accompanying the Soviet occupation in the East, the rate of violent and nonviolent American criminality, and its impact on occupied and liberated European societies, has been difficult to determine because of the lack of adequate statistics. At the time, civilians in France, Italy, the Benelux countries, and especially Germany made frequent reference to such American criminal activity as looting, petty thievery, drunkenness, rape, and murder. U.S. military reports confirm American soldiers' predilection for theft and black-market racketeering, often couched in the euphemisms "fraternization" and "harassment"; some of them even suggest more violent inclinations. These depictions, however, had little effect on the early historiography of American soldiers in Europe. The first historical narratives were shaped mainly by the accounts of witnesses and victims, along with a few crime statistics. Scholars writing between the 1940s and 1960s acknowledged the looting and drunkenness but downplayed the violence, preferring to portray American soldiers as liberators and valiant conquerors of Nazism, war weary and prone to excessive drinking but not rapists and murders.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XLVII [47](1), p. 53-84
Publisher: MIT Press
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1530-9169
Field of Research (FOR): 210312 North American History
210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
160299 Criminology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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