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Downed American Flyers: Forgotten Casualties of Axis Atrocities in World War II

Author:

Kevin T Hall

Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, DE
About Kevin
Kevin T Hall is a postdoctoral researcher at Ruhr-Universität-Bochum. He is the author of Terror Flyers: The Lynching of American Airmen in Nazi Germany (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021).
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Abstract

After World War II, Allied nations tried thousands of ‘lesser’ war criminals throughout Europe and the Pacific after the well-known trials of high-ranking officials in Nuremberg and Tokyo. The victims largely included civilians of occupied nations and POWs. However, with the conclusion of these trials in both Europe and the Pacific by 1949, the crimes committed, the perpetrators, and the victims withdrew from public discourse relatively quickly. Many unresolved questions remain surrounding the extent of Axis violence committed against Allied POWs, especially flyers. Despite significant studies focusing on the experiences of POWs during captivity, few have offered a comparison of the method of Axis mistreatment committed against airmen and the relationship between centralized authority and civilian action in both the European and Pacific theaters of war. By focusing on the largely overlooked phase between being shot down and being sent to a POW camp, this study seeks to comprehend not only what airmen experienced when they encountered Axis civilians and soldiers, but also the process and motivations of perpetrators’ actions. Further, comparing the postwar ‘flyer trials’ offers an opportunity to fill the gaps related to this topic due to the scarcity of remaining documents and has the potential to assist in answering unresolved questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of missing US servicemen.
How to Cite: Hall, K.T., 2021. Downed American Flyers: Forgotten Casualties of Axis Atrocities in World War II. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 4(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/92
Published on 19 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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