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The Dark Side of WW2's "Greatest Generation."

Graffias

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US soldiers who fought in World War II have commonly been depicted as honorable citizen warriors from the "Greatest Generation." But a new book uncovers the dark side of some GIs in liberated France, where robbing, raping and whoring were rife.

The liberators made a lot of noise and drank too much. They raced around in their jeeps, fought in the streets and stole. But the worst thing was their obsession with French women. They wanted sex – some for free, some for money and some by force.

After four years of German occupation, the French greeted the US soldiers landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 as liberators. The entire country was delirious with joy. But after only a few months, a shadow was cast over the new masters' image among the French.

By the late summer of 1944, large numbers of women in Normandy were complaining about rapes by US soldiers. Fear spread among the population, as did a bitter joke: "Our men had to disguise themselves under the Germans. But when the Americans came, we had to hide the women."

New Book Reveals Dark Side of American Soldiers in Liberated France - SPIEGEL ONLINE
 

Joechilli

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I wouldn't segregate US behaviour to any of the other powers behaviour in the war.

The Germans committed mass genocide,The Japanese committed mass genocide,The Russians committed rapes as vengeance against Germans in Berlin.

War is evil, Occupation is evil, Imperialism is evil, it's what such policies create.
 

Graffias

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I wouldn't segregate US behaviour to any of the other powers behaviour in the war.

The Germans committed mass genocide,The Japanese committed mass genocide,The Russians committed rapes as vengeance against Germans in Berlin.

War is evil, Occupation is evil, Imperialism is evil, it's what such policies create.

The problem is you only ever hear about the evil of one side.
 

Wiseone

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I totally understand that the Allied Powers, even when excluding the USSR, had a far from perfect track record. But is "fighting in the street" really something we should fault them for? They were there to fight the Germans, would it be reasonable to suggest they could have avoided doing it in streets? Or do you mean they fought each other like fist fighting? Still though, is that a big deal to locals?

Also I don't know if the GIs who happened to have raped or otherwise had sex with French women were thinking about America's new status as a super power as suggested in the article:
And when they enjoyed themselves with French women, they were not only validating their own masculinity, but also, in a metaphorical sense, the new status of the United States as a superpower, writes Roberts.

I'm thinking they were just thinking about the sex.
 

notquiteright

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Victors write history, even the ****-eyed stuff.

Then again Germans don't dwell on their murdering, raping ways across Russia, their death camps or watching millions of Russian POWs die of disease or starvation.

The Japanese don't speak much on the Korean women pressed into prostitution service, slave labor camps, the rape of Nanking.

One would think if raping and murdering across Europe was the US Army's way that when de Gaulle split away from NATO and US resentment was at a fever pitch the French would have made a bigger issue of it.

They didn't... :peace
 

rhinefire

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I'll guess here this is news to somone born without a brain. Americans coming from a comparatively puritancial society in the 40's finish with the hell of war and mingle with European women living in a more permissive culture and sex happens. Whores have been a part of wars since war began, check out the sex in our Civil War. The "Dark Side"? how about the "human side"? There are more rapes in our military right now that ever before. Brutality is alive and well in all cultures. In France today school children are taught about the events surrounding D-Day and what the Americans did for the nation of France.
 

Graffias

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I'll guess here this is news to somone born without a brain. Americans coming from a comparatively puritancial society in the 40's finish with the hell of war and mingle with European women living in a more permissive culture and sex happens. Whores have been a part of wars since war began, check out the sex in our Civil War. The "Dark Side"? how about the "human side"? There are more rapes in our military right now that ever before. Brutality is alive and well in all cultures. In France today school children are taught about the events surrounding D-Day and what the Americans did for the nation of France.

This doesn't change the fact that American troops behaved like an undisciplined rabble when they claimed to have the moral high ground. Puritanism? Give me a break. The Germans came from a country where debauchery, intoxication, and disorder were frowned upon and they didn't go around forcing themselves on French women, stealing, engaging in public drunkenness, or spreading venereal diseases by engaging in sex with prostitutes. The Germans were very civil to the French people, at least until the Maquis started assassinating their soldiers and engaging in other terrorist acts.

945929_463860560367690_2072370034_n.jpg
 

Kanstantine

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The Germans came from a country where debauchery, intoxication, and disorder were frowned upon and they didn't go around forcing themselves on French women, stealing, engaging in public drunkenness, or spreading venereal diseases by engaging in sex with prostitutes.

But they did rampage through Poland and the Ukraine, murdering and raping millions of Jews, Poles, Socialists, and others.
 

OldWorldOrder

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This doesn't change the fact that American troops behaved like an undisciplined rabble when they claimed to have the moral high ground. Puritanism? Give me a break. The Germans came from a country where debauchery, intoxication, and disorder were frowned upon and they didn't go around forcing themselves on French women, stealing, engaging in public drunkenness, or spreading venereal diseases by engaging in sex with prostitutes. The Germans were very civil to the French people, at least until the Maquis started assassinating their soldiers and engaging in other terrorist acts.

945929_463860560367690_2072370034_n.jpg

lol

I saw the pic first, and assumed it was satire. Awesome that you were being serious.
 

Kanstantine

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Just goes to show to you that the Night of the Long Knives was the one thing Hitler did right.
 

Ahlevah

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The problem is you only ever hear about the evil of one side.

I suppose we could have stayed home and let the Nazis have it. No American rapes then.
 

Kanstantine

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I suppose we could have stayed home and let the Nazis have it. No American rapes then.

He think the Nazis were good men. Liberators, if you will.

I wonder if the Poles felt "liberated" from 1939 to 1945.
 

Kanstantine

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I imagine a few of his heroes were liberated in Nazi death camps or by firing squad.

More like a few of his heroes were liberated by lead poisoning during the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler's only moral action.
 

PeteEU

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Nothing new there. Allied soldiers committed many war crimes during WW2 and were in many ways no better than the Axis powers. It was war after all.

There has been rumors for decades that certain American wealthy families that became wealthy after WW2, did so because a family member looted his way across Europe during WW2.

A classic movie on the subject is Kelly's Heros with Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas.. not based on real events, but based on the reality of war.
 

Manc Skipper

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It wasn't just the French who complained.

Overpaid, oversexed, and over here was a common British description of our glorious allies during WW".

" ...This book touches on these conditions viewed from both sides. The vast majority of Americans were hardly world travelers before the war. The British people outside the major cities had scarcely seen a foreigner if they were not veterans of World War I. As the floods of Americans crowded into the already crowded island, scarcely a village did not have close contact with these exotic creatures, American soldiers.
Two groups of people, of quite different cultures, brought into close contact for over 3 years are bound to have difficulties getting along. The sometimes bumpy ride for the two peoples are covered rather well in these pages. The close personal relationships that also developed are discussed.... "


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Overpaid-Oversexed-over-Here-American/dp/1558594086
 
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apdst

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The Europeans are still pissed off that we had to bail their asses out. The Germans will jump on anything that allows them to say, "See? They were just as bad".

Did American troops commit crimes? Sure they did. There are always bad apples. Was it a matter of policy, official, or un-official? Of course not.

The SS Dirlewanger Brigade--"The Black Hunters"--had orders, directly from Himmler, to rape, murder and pillage as did the Einsatzgruppen.

French Morrocan units raped, murdered, or kidnapped 12,000 civilians, in Italy. Not to mention, there was a French unit in the Waffen SS.

Yugoslav partisans committed 8 separate massacres, with not a single prosecution.

Crimes committed by US troops were singular events and never done en masse, or as a part of official policy.
 

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The Europeans are still pissed off that we had to bail their asses out. The Germans will jump on anything that allows them to say, "See? They were just as bad".

Did American troops commit crimes? Sure they did. There are always bad apples. Was it a matter of policy, official, or un-official? Of course not.

The SS Dirlewanger Brigade--"The Black Hunters"--had orders, directly from Himmler, to rape, murder and pillage as did the Einsatzgruppen.

French Morrocan units raped, murdered, or kidnapped 12,000 civilians, in Italy. Not to mention, there was a French unit in the Waffen SS.

Yugoslav partisans committed 8 separate massacres, with not a single prosecution.

Crimes committed by US troops were singular events and never done en masse, or as a part of official policy.

In many ways American troops actually behaved better than they should have according to the official policy. My grandma lived through both Russian and US occupation in Berlin and said that US soldiers very often ignored the directives which told them to make their excess food inedible instead of giving it to starving Germans. So here we have the exact opposite of what you said: the official policy was atrocious and the troops, to a large extent, behaved decently. Regarding the rapes, you're probably right about no official policy and some bad apples. It was the Soviet army that committed the mass rapes, not the Americans.
 

Sanddune

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I suppose we could have stayed home and let the Nazis have it. No American rapes then.

Absolutely right. The virginity of a few beautiful French girls :tink::tink::tink: was an adequate price for liberation, the raped French women should be more grateful. And probably they liked it anyway, liberators are sexy :cool:
 

Kanstantine

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Accidents happen.

Liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny was still worth it.
 

Sanddune

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The Europeans are still pissed off that we had to bail their asses out. The Germans will jump on anything that allows them to say, "See? They were just as bad".
Pointing out allied atrocities doesn't mean equating them with those of the nazis. Apart from a small right wing fringe, the only Germans who think the way you suspect are the Germans in your mind.

Crimes committed by US troops were singular events and never done en masse, or as a part of official policy.

Well...

Google "Rheinwiesenlager".

Or think about a quote from USAAF general Anderson about the bombing of cities late in the war:
A note by US air force general Frederick Anderson to his press office notes that such operations were "not expected in itself to shorten the war ... However, it is expected that the fact that Germany was struck all over will be passed on, from father to son, thence to grandson; that a deterrent for the initiation of future wars will definitely result."
This does indicate the deliberate killing of civilian populations for non-military reasons.

Of course the US still comes of better than most countries which participated in that war, especially the Soviet Union, Germany, and Japan. So relax, accept facts, and stop sanitizing history, that shouldn't be too hard for Americans when it comes to WW2.
 

Sanddune

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Accidents happen. Liberating Europe from Nazi tyranny was still worth it.

Yes it was. And given the overall positive roll the US played in that war, it should be possible to accept a few less glorious facts as part of the story without blocking it off by taking arrogance and self-righteousness to a disgusting level. And I wonder how many raped women would agree with calling rape an "accident"... I know what you mean though.
 

Goshin

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This doesn't change the fact that American troops behaved like an undisciplined rabble when they claimed to have the moral high ground. Puritanism? Give me a break. The Germans came from a country where debauchery, intoxication, and disorder were frowned upon and they didn't go around forcing themselves on French women, stealing, engaging in public drunkenness, or spreading venereal diseases by engaging in sex with prostitutes. The Germans were very civil to the French people, at least until the Maquis started assassinating their soldiers and engaging in other terrorist acts.

945929_463860560367690_2072370034_n.jpg


Where d'ja get the poster? Stormfront?
 

apdst

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Pointing out allied atrocities doesn't mean equating them with those of the nazis. Apart from a small right wing fringe, the only Germans who think the way you suspect are the Germans in your mind.

Germans have been trying to shake off the Nazi stigma since June of 1945.


Well...

Google "Rheinwiesenlager".

I don't need to Google Rheinwiesenlager. What I will say, is that they were all Nazis and if a few of them starved to death, then they earned it. They should thank their lucky stars that Churchill didn't get his way and they weren't all shot. That's right, Churchill wanted to execute all the Werhmacht and SS troops, along with the Nazi command; FDR only wanted to execute the commanders and Stalin wanted to give them a fair trial, so he could look kewl.

Or think about a quote from USAAF general Anderson about the bombing of cities late in the war:

This does indicate the deliberate killing of civilian populations for non-military reasons.

"War is horrible. The more horrible it is, the shorter it will be" --General William T. Sherman

Of course the US still comes of better than most countries which participated in that war, especially the Soviet Union, Germany, and Japan. So relax, accept facts, and stop sanitizing history, that shouldn't be too hard for Americans when it comes to WW2.

I haven't sanitized anything.
 

apdst

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In many ways American troops actually behaved better than they should have according to the official policy. My grandma lived through both Russian and US occupation in Berlin and said that US soldiers very often ignored the directives which told them to make their excess food inedible instead of giving it to starving Germans. So here we have the exact opposite of what you said: the official policy was atrocious and the troops, to a large extent, behaved decently. Regarding the rapes, you're probably right about no official policy and some bad apples. It was the Soviet army that committed the mass rapes, not the Americans.

I said that American troops never committed war crimes, as a part of official policy. How did I get it wrong?
 
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