Shanghai Jim (shanghai_jim) wrote in little_details,
Shanghai Jim

War crime in World War II - individual punishment (U.S.)

Time period: World War II
Location: Southwest Pacific Theatre (the Army command of MacArthur)
Terms searched: "army+stockade+world war", "military justice + world war ii", "articles of war"

Problem: My antihero, an American soldier, has just shot and killed a Japanese sergeant who has been hiding with a family of collaborators. The family is also dead. Whether or not he, or the enemy, shot them, intentionally or not, is not readily apparent. The particular Japanese soldier is a fugitive assistant commandant of a prison camp and is documented to have been extremely abusive towards the civilian prisoners; thus, the commander of the division in charge of the area issued standing orders that this fellow be brought to justice one way or the other. The family with whom he was hiding was feeding and sheltering him. Whether or not they did so under duress is also not immediately apparent. When the GI's comrades come upon the scene, they disarm him. This incident took place in May or June 1945, before Japan surrendered, so a state of war still existed.

As I understand it, the penalty for murder during World War II for American servicemen, along with desertion and rape, was death by firing squad. I would like, however, to save my boy's life. The issue is the civilians, and how their deaths would be treated under military law at the time. (To the civilian authorities, these people were collaborators, and the adults would have been summarily executed by the guerrillas anyway.)

How would my guy be handled under the Articles of War at the time?
What would a stockade look like and how does it differ from a civilian jail, physically and in procedure?
If he is sentenced to time in the stockade for a long period of time (say, years), I assume he would be transferred to a location in the U.S.?
Tags: ~world war ii

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