Were the number really that high, it is almost certain that there would be more reports on rape in the files of hospitals or health authorities, or that there would be more eyewitness reports. The historian also believes that similar motives were at work. The total is not the result of deep research in archives across the country. Furthermore, the clergymen often praised the "very correct and respectable" behavior of the US troops. The oldest, a woman of In particular, though, her views on the behavior of American GIs are likely to raise eyebrows. Gebhardt makes the assumption that 5 percent of the "war children" born to unmarried women in West Germany and West Berlin by the mids were the product of rape. How, then, did the historian arrive at her shocking figure of , rapes?
The oldest, a woman of Were the number really that high, it is almost certain that there would be more reports on rape in the files of hospitals or health authorities, or that there would be more eyewitness reports. In the wake of the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib and other war crimes committed by US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, many historians are taking a more critical look at the behavior of the American military during the days immediately preceding and following the end of World War II in Germany. Rather, it is an extrapolation. Comment The soldiers arrived at dusk. Often, such gang rapes were blamed on Soviet troops in Germany's east. They forced their way into the house and tried to drag the two women upstairs. How, though, is one to interpret the complaint filed by a hotelier in Munich on May 31, ? Still, all of the reports compiled by the Catholic Church in Bavaria only add up to a few hundred cases. That makes for a total of 1, children of American fathers. Gebhardt further assumes that on average, there are incidents of rape for each birth. Gebhardt is unable to present such evidence in sufficient quantity. How, then, did the historian arrive at her shocking figure of , rapes? They began searching all the houses in the area and ultimately found the two women in a neighbor's closet shortly before midnight. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of German women experienced a similar fate at the time. They were committed by heavily drunken Americans. Another estimate, stemming from US criminology professor Robert Lilly, who examined rape cases prosecuted by American military courts, arrived at a number of 11, serious sexual assaults committed by November, -- a disgusting number in its own right. Such a total, though, hardly seems plausible. Even if it isn't likely that the Americans committed , sexual crimes, it remains true that for postwar victims of rape -- which was undeniably a mass phenomenon at the end of World War II, there is "no culture of memory, no public recognition, much less an apology" from the perpetrators, Gebhardt notes. Despite such findings, the Americans are still considered to have been relatively disciplined compared to the Red Army and the French military -- conventional wisdom that Gebhardt is hoping to challenge. Macho Fantasies The reports led book author Gebhardt to compare the behavior of the US army with the violent excesses perpetrated by the Red Army in the eastern half of the country, where brutality, gang rapes and incidents of looting have dominated the public perception of the Soviet occupation. But is that image consistent with reality? By the end of the war, some 1. The historian also believes that similar motives were at work. And today, 70 years after the end of the war, it unfortunately doesn't look as though that situation will soon change.
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