Beyond Duty: The Reasons Some Soldiers Commit Atrocities

Beyond Duty: The Reasons Some Soldiers Commit Atrocities

by Walter Zapotoczny Jr.


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Accounts of brutality fill the history of warfare. The behavior of any human being is, of course, a very complex phenomenon, whether in war or in peace. Historians in large part have described in detail the actions of military groups that have committed brutalities, but have not dealt with the factors that contributed to those actions. After examining the collective behavior of six military groups, representing different combat actions in different periods, some unexpected similarities became clear. While these groups were in very different situations and operated during different periods in history, there are similar factors that allowed the members of these groups to kill men, women and children in cold blood, and to commit acts of unspeakable brutality. After a close analysis of these military groups, five principle factors that had the greatest influence, either directly or indirectly, on these soldiers have been identified. Together, the factors supported each other and crystallized into a modus operandi that resulted in atrocities and bestial acts on civilians. This is the first book to identify the factors that lead to some of the most horrific cruelty in history, and to predict the actions of future groups given similar circumstances.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625451125
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Publication date: 06/12/2017
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr. is an award-winning writer and editor with over 25 years’ experience producing many different types of copy. He is the author of over 150 published articles and three books. Walter is a contributing writer and reviewer for several international publications. He is a former historian with the US Army, specializing is military history, Holocaust studies and events that transcend single states, regions and cultures. A native of Pennsylvania, Walter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in world military history and a Master of Arts with honors in global history from American Public University.

Table of Contents

Preface 5

Introduction 9

1 The Rape of Nanking by the Japanese Army, December 1937 15

The War was Extended to Canton and Hankow 27

Returning Soldiers told of Atrocities Committed by them 29

Indoctrination and Training of the Japanese Military 30

Economic and Political Conditions in Japan 37

Characterization of the Chinese Population 40

The Tactical Situation in China 42

Living Conditions of the Japanese Soldier in China 44

2 Actions of the German Einsatzgruppen between 1941 and 1943 48

Indoctrination and Training of the German Army 60

Economic and Political Conditions in Germany 64

Characterization of the Jews, Poles, Lithuanians, and Russians 68

The Tactical Situation on Germany's Eastern Front 72

Living Conditions of the Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front 77

3 The Russian Army in Germany: 1945 81

Indoctrination and Training of the Russian Army 86

Economic and Political Conditions in Russia 87

Characterization of the Germans 91

Living Conditions of the Russian Soldiers 93

4 The My Lai Massacre in Vietnam: 1968 95

Indoctrination and Training of the American Army 103

Economic and Political Conditions in the United States 104

Characterization of the Vietnamese People 105

The Tactical Situation in Vietnam 106

Living Conditions of the American Soldiers in Vietnam 107

5 Abuse of Prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq: 2004 109

Indoctrination and Training of the American Army 113

Economic and Political Conditions in the United States 115

Characterization of the Iraqi People 116

The Tactical Situation in Iraq 118

Living Conditions of the American Soldiers in Iraq 118

6 The Process of Becoming Violent 119

7 Conclusion 131

Appendix I Judgment International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Chapter VIII, Conventional War Crimes (Atrocities) Excerpt 134

Appendix II United States, Appellee v. William L. Calley, Jr., First Lieutenant, US. Army Appellant, No. 26,875, United States Court of Military Appeals, 22 U.S.C.M.A. 534, 21 December 1973, Excerpt 195

Appendix III Department of the Army, Headquarters, III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, General Court-Martial Order Number 29, 7 September 2005 211

Appendix IV Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade, 4 May 2004 (Declassified) 215

Endnotes 256

Bibliography 264

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