Document Type


Publication Date



Historical Studies


In 2003, I was invited to give a talk at the St. Louis Soldiers’ Memorial Museum. The topic was war crimes, international law, and war crimes trials. It was conceived with the events of 9/11/2001 fresh in mind, but was focused on those subjects within the context of World War II, my area of expertise. Forgotten in the intervening 20 years, I rediscovered it recently while organizing my papers in preparation for donating them to the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville archives. It’s a simple story that blends some of my own childhood memories of World War II with bits of my much later research on battlefield criminality and its legal ramifications. It’s a mercifully brief piece that I thought might be of interest to a broader audience than that which originally heard it. If I’m wrong, you won’t have wasted much time in reading it.

As something created as an oral presentation, it lacks footnotes, but I refer readers who desire more information to my book, Americans, Germans, and War Crimes Justice. Law, Memory, and “The Good War.”