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Allied war crimes during World War II.

30-05-2018

Allied war crimes include both alleged and legally proven violations of the laws of war by the Allies of World War II against either civilians or military personnel of the Axis powers.

Some war crimes involving Allied personnel were investigated by the Allied powers and led in some instances to courts-martial. Some incidents alleged by historians to have been crimes under the law of war in operation at the time were, for a variety of reasons, not investigated by the Allied powers during the war, or were investigated and a decision was taken not to prosecute.

  • Colonel Charles Perry Stacey the Canadian official campaign historian, reports that on 14 April 1945 rumours spread that the popular commanding officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada , Lieutenant Colonel Frederick E. Wigle , had been killed by a civilian sniper. This rumour resulted in the Highlanders setting fire to civilian property in the town of Friesoythe in an act of reprisal. Stacey later wrote that the Canadian troops first removed German civilians from their property before setting the houses on fire; he commented that he was “glad to say that [he] never heard of another such case”. It was later found that German soldiers had killed the Argyll’s commander.
  • In the Biscari massacre, which consists of two instances of mass murders, US troops of the 45th Infantry Division  under command of Major General William Willis Eagles  , killed roughly 75 prisoners of war, mostly Italian. Later in April 1945, the division was implicated in the execution of SS guards at Dachau prison. The division’s original shoulder sleeve insignia, approved in August 1924, featured a swastika, a common Native American symbol, as a tribute to the Southwestern United States region which had a large population of Native Americans. However, with the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, with its infamous swastika symbol, the 45th Division  stopped using the insignia. Major General William Willis. Eagles, a decorated infantry commander who led the 45th Infantry Division in the battle for the Anzio beachhead in Italy, died Friday on 22-2-1988 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md. The retired officer, who lived in Washington, was 93 years old. During World War II, the 45th Division fought in 511 days of combat awarding eight Medals of Honor. Over 20,000 soldiers in the Division were killed, wounded or missing in action.
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