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One of the most unpleasant aspects of war, 1914-18 and again 1939-45, latter phase, the truths that are never told


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Here is an article worth reading about one of the most unpleasant aspects of past wars, especially 1914-18, but also again in 1939-45 in the latter phase. I would not like to describe this further, but those interested can read up on this under the Telegraph link below, recommended reading.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jun/29/chloe-dewe-mathews-shot-at-dawn-moving-photographic-memorial-first-world-war

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

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The Shot at Dawn Memorial, errected 2001 in Staffordshire, commemorates over 309 British and Commonwealth soldiers, who were executed during World War I for various offences or breaches of military discipline.

New Zealand:
Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Act 2000 has become statute law in New Zealand. The act sought to remove the blight on their character of five soldiers who were unjustly executed during World War I.  One of the pardoned soldiers named in the act was from New Zealand's southern port town of Bluff and he is now honoured in the town's maritime museum.

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Not just deserters, also "stragglers" (versprengte, die ihre Einheit verloren hatten), were in danger. The longer the war progressed, the greater the danger of being summarily executed for one reason or another, grew. The Feldgendarmerie and others clamped down on anyone they encountered at the wrong time and the wrong place - especially when they were going in the wrong direction - away from the front. To be without legitimation or Marschbefehl, was as good as a death warrant. Sentences were carried out immediately on the roadside or at the next tree.

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During WW1 there were hardly any cases of such field executions on the German side, however, towards the end of WW2, the number greatly increased and is estimated at well over 30.000 sentences, of which over 23.000 were carried out.  The photo shows S.D. Personnel

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One of the last to be executed was Ludwig Baumann, who was postumously pardoned in recent years, the sentences have since been revised, cancelled and declared illegal, too late for the victims and their families.

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1944, execution of a conscientious objector.

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See also 1958 film about this category under youtube forum - "Unruhige Nacht" -

wer desertiert, verliert die Rübe...

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I remember reading about this, I recall the French figures have always been unclear though. Interestingly enough the US did not execute a single soldier in WW1, the last time they did so was during the Civil war from 1861-65. The movie Paths to Glory is a good portrayal of the French during this timeframe. 

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Important additional text added.

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