The Greatest Generation?" Wartime Rape in England, France and German, WW II

J. Robert Lilly, Northern Kentucky University

Based on 10 years of research, this paper summarizes trends in rapes committed by American soldiers on friendly and enemy females during the European Theater of Operations. Unlike the popular image of World War Two soldiers as the "best generation ever," the rapists were usually non-infantrymen who committed their crimes with "buddies," often at night. Official military trial and court records indicate that rapes occurred often, sometimes several times per day. Their victims came from different walks of life, but most were poor. Age was no barrier to victimization. Sentences were either death or life imprisonment. Most of the rapes occurred in Germany.

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Updated 05/20/2006