WWII shirkers and defectors

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by muscogeemike, May 20, 2013.

  1. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    Joseph Heller (CATCH 22) couldn’t have been the only guy in WWII to think about it. Does anyone have any idea of how many Allied Airmen interned in neutral countries went there to avoid further risk? Were any of them held to account for their actions?

    Along the same lines does anybody know how many Allied soldiers/Sailors/Airmen went over to the Axis - and were any of them held accountable (Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw Haw were not in the military)?

    I know that most nationalities were represented in the Axis (there were US citizens in the SS!) but how many defectors from the Allied Military were there?
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    A word of caution on this topic.
     
  3. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Wow , that's got to be some kind of record for the earliest intervention from a moderator!
    Me, I'm wary about taking the moral high ground about combat avoidance. Courage is not about putting yourself in harms way, it's about acting according to your beliefs, whether you are an objector or a raving Nazi. People can be courageous in a morally indefensible cause by wading into the fray, or by defusing to fight at all. In WWI many shell shocked soldiers who were brave men were shot for cowardice. Many equally brave objectors volunteered for the medical service, which won two of only three double VCs ever awarded.
     
  4. nincomp

    nincomp Member

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    The war may have been considerably shorter and less bloody if a large number of Axis combatants had been "shirkers and defectors" because they thought that the war was wrong or unjust.
     
  5. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Incredibly few on all sides in air forces basically, despite the horrendous losses.

    Fair number in ground forces, though that depends on the area. Not many Russians or Germans switched sides in combat areas, because you almost certainly got killed.
    Though, bizarrely the SS (post '43) had a very high proportion of foreign (French, Russian, etc, etc) soldiers (go figure?).

    Fair number of US ones, but that wasn't for any reason that they were any less brave (more likely the US was just more honest in their reporting), just that there were lots of French and Italian places they could go to (ie Paris, some estimates put it as much as 20,000).
    Almost certainly a fair number of British (for similar reasons, though there were also those who went 'walkabout' in North Africa). The British, being British (where secrecy is almost a genetic trait) have kept their numbers as (to my knowledge) 'unknown'.

    Very difficult for Germans to do the same in those areas, as they were the invaders and cordially disliked (well... hated).

    A fair number of conscientious objectors, many of whom served in far more dangerous positions than if they had signed up. At least on the British, Commonwealth and American sides.
    People like that went into concentration camps in Germany and into the Gulags in the Soviet Union (which, if for no other reason, showed we really were ethically superior to them back then, even though we really blurred the lines at times).

    So a mixed bag, people are people. They get scared, hurt, miss their lost loved ones and friends. Get wounded, shocked, stunned, exhausted, burned out. Get cold, scared, hot, distracted, tired, hungry, forgetful, guilty.

    Just like anyone else. I have no illusions that I would do any better than any of them in the same circumstances.

    My grandfather served in WW1 (and fought in the Somme) and he came back from that hating all violence and 'isms' (as he called them). Capitalism, communism, socialism, facism, etc, etc, etc.
    He hated the lot of 'isms'. Anything that divided people and created a situation where killing seemed to be a 'solution'. Be a better place if we all had the same attitude as that wise old man.
     
  6. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The 3rd Reich had their own methods for dealing with shirkers, around 14,000 Werhmacht soldiers were executed during WW2 for combat advoidance in it's various forms, and that doesn't include the ones during the last few chaotic months.
    Just admitting to belonging to a religion that taught consciencious objection would result in the person going to a concentration camp. Actively participating in CO activities resulted in thousands of German citizens going under the guillotine.
    One war widow was beheaded just for telling a joke.

    The Russians shot, or hung over 100,000 of it own soldiers during WW2 for combat avoidance, civilian numbers, i'm not sure of.

    My own oldest brother was a CO during the Korean war, but he served in the Army as a medic.
     
  7. Hop

    Hop Member

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    A British fascist called John Amery, the son of a cabinet minister in Churchill's government, persuaded the Germans to let him recruit British and Commonwealth prisoners of war to form a Waffen SS unit. He apparently got 59 men to join, although most quickly left. John Avery was tried for treason after the war, pleaded guilty, and was hanged.
     
  8. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC there was a single USAAF P-38 pilot who defected to Italy and I recall one Free French pilot who defected. At least a few Soviet pilots defected to Finland, or at least claimed so when captured with their planes. And one defected to Japan, but Japan wasn't at that time at war against CCCP.

    Juha
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #9 GregP, May 21, 2013
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
    I'm not very sympathetic to CO's. If they serve (as a medic or whatever) with the rest of us then OK, no problem. If they don't serve, then deport, or get rid of (expell from the country forever, no visitation).

    That's just personal opinion and I fully realize many do not agree. That's OK, I still feel that way.

    Doesn't mean it will ever be policy but, if I have to serve, then they should have to serve, too, if called upon to do so. Not everyone IS called on to serve in the USA, but we SHOULD be. Again, personal opinion that not everyone shares. If that were true, then we would not have an armed services manpower shortage ever.

    In the real world, it's now an all-volunteer service and I don't think it works very well as it stands, but it IS in place.''

    No insult intended to anyone, even CO's. I agree it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs. I just believe that service should be required for citizenship unless physical or mental conditions indicate otherwise. Doesn't have to be combat service.
     
  10. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    As a Draftee who then went on to serve 25yrs I can’t agree with you.
    Not EVERYONE should serve. I’ve met 100’s of a-holes (both in and out of the Army) who I don’t want anywhere near me, or in any way responsible for supporting me, if the **** hit’s the fan!
     
  11. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    #11 Jabberwocky, May 21, 2013
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
    I'll play the advocate to the devil here.

    I don't see why anyone should be compelled to fight in a war purely because of the geography of their birth. If they object to fighting on moral or religious grounds, or disagree with the aims of the conflict/war, why then should they be required to participate in it?

    The service = citizenship MIGHT be workable in a very narrowly defined circumstances (like a long-term, total war situation under strictly limited republican democracy government). Even then its a dubious proposition, at best. During WW2, the total number of people in the US that were involved in military service was around 16.4 million. That's only about 12.5% of the pre-war population.
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I only served 8 years, and most of that was in units that were volunteers, But my Army basic ( I went thru USAF basic and Army basic training ) and my last 1 1/2 years in the Army was mostly with draftees. Some were ok, but there were some whose mission in life seem to be to make the whole world regret that they got drafted.
    If i'd had to be in a combat situation with them, i'd probably have to arrange a accident, to make it safer for everybody.

    I think everyone should serve their country too, but to force it on people who are completely opposed to it, hurts the service and the country.
     
  13. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    That's a very debatable point, but too far off topic, and too volatile for further discussion
     
  14. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    From the German Air Force - US airmen defects to the Axis

    German personnel preparing for the flight, an American reconnaissance plane Lockheed F-5E Lightning s/n 44-23725 Lieutenant Martin James Monti deserted from the USAAF.On October 13, 1944 he landed his plane at Pomigliano Airfield near Milan in Italy, The Italians had captured the aircraft and handed it over to the Germans.

    Source Wiki:
    Martin James Monti (October 24, 1921 – September 11, 2000) was a United States airman who defected to the Axis powers and worked as a propaganda broadcaster and writer. After the end of World War II, he was caught and sentenced to long terms, first for desertion, then for treason.

    Monti enlisted in the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet. He reported for training and later was commissioned as a flight officer. He subsequently qualified in the P-39 Aircobra and the P-38 Lightning, and was promoted to second lieutenant, when he was sent to Karachi, India (now in Pakistan). Attached to the 126th Replacement Depot, by then a first lieutenant, he deserted the Army Air Forces. He hitched a ride aboard a C-46 to Cairo, Egypt, and from there he traveled to Italy, via Tripoli, Libya. At Foggia he visited the 82nd Fighter Group, and then he made his way to Pomigliano Airfield, north of Naples, where the 354th Air Service Squadron prepared aircraft for assignment to line squadrons. He took note that an aircraft, a reconnaissance version of the P-38 Lightning, needed work and required a test flight after repairs. He stole the aircraft and flew to Milan. There, he surrendered, or rather defected to the Nazis, and subsequently began work as a propaganda broadcaster under the pseudonym of "Captain Martin Wiethaupt".

    At the end of 1944, Monti made a microphone test at the recording studio of the SS Standarte ‘Kurt Eggers’, a propaganda unit of the Waffen-SS, under the direction of Guenter d'Alquen, in Berlin, Germany. He later joined them as a SS-Untersturmführer and participated in writing and composing a leaflet to be distributed by members of the German military forces, and among Allied prisoners of war.

    At the end of the war, Monti was in Italy when he surrendered to the Americans (still wearing his SS uniform). In 1946, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the charge of desertion, but was pardoned within a year on condition he join the army. He was serving as a sergeant when the FBI rearrested him in 1948. He was charged with treason, as his propaganda activities as "Martin Wiethaupt" had been discovered by the FBI, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Monti was paroled in 1960.
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #15 GregP, May 22, 2013
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
    I adress the "why should they serve" crew. Because I believe they should be required to serve to live here in the U.S.A. .

    They aren't, but that does not mean I would volunteer to serve and maybe get killed for someone who won't even serve at all. I would have (and HAVE) fought for Americans who would also fight. If they won't, then I won't fight for them at all. I'd fight for me and my country and would not advocate for the people who would not.

    Service should be required for the privlidges afforded by citizenship. You should not have to agree; you should have to serve if asked or face deportation forever. A CO should be able to serve in a non-combat role, but that is still honorable service.

    Not serving at all should be because either the government didn't ask or because you aren't capable of service. Either one is OK for not serving, and I have no issue at all with that assuming no political problems, and I won't believe that until I SEE it myself.

    Mostly, non-service is an act of defiance. Why should we who served put up with it at all unless warranted by well-documented circumstances? If modern people can not "serve," then why should WE have done so when asked to DO so?

    It hits my HOT button in case you missed it. Service should be required for citizenship ... unless exemped for a reason. More ''later".
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #16 DerAdlerIstGelandet, May 22, 2013
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
    Just interested in your opinion as how an all volunteer army does not really work.

    I served in the all volunteer army, and it worked just fine from what I have seen. Finest military force in the world in my opinion. I would rather serve with people who volunteer and want to be there, than people who are only doing it because they are told to.

    Service should not be a requirement for citizenship. That is just plain stupid (sorry to put it bluntly, and I am not saying you are stupid.). Not everyone is made for the military, and the military is not for everyone. There are plenty of ways that someone can contribute to the welfare of the nation.

    If you volunteer for the army, you should not be allowed to CO your way out of a conflict. If you however are not already in the military, and there is no draft, you should not have to join a war, that you do believe in for moral grounds.

    Forcing someone to do so is tyrannical.

    Besides as a combat veteran myself, I would not want that person by my side in combat.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Freedom of religion? Would you fight for a Quaker's right to his pacifist beliefs? "Thou shalt not kill" is to him an injunction from a higher authority than any on earth. I would fight for his right not to fight, but it is a very complicated question and there are no easy answers.

    Deporting or expelling such a person surely contradicts just about everything the United States stands for!

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Dick Winters was a Quaker, I'll not get into a discussion on religion and it's views on war, but some leave the decision on the interpitation of scriptures up to the individual.
    My drill sergeant in AF basic was a Quaker. I didn't know it until another tainee asked him why he didn't use foul language, His explanation was he didn't need to use foul language to get his point across, and he didn't. We had two DS, one cussed and the other didn't, i'd never noticed till someone else pointed it out.
    There were Quakers in the military, not all were in non-combat jobs.
     
  19. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Band of Brothers, Day of Days. Lt. Winters: "Oh, and Sergeant, I'm not a Quaker"
     
  20. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    didnt sgt york....the rifleman went to war..york, try to get out of the war ac a CO because of his religous belief? honestly cant remember if i read it or it was the movie.
     
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