world war 2

2 petitions

Started 2 months ago

Petition to President of the United States, United States Department of Defense

Make the US Government Apologize for the Laconia Incident of 1942

Upon reading an article the other day, a certain story stuck out that if finally resolved and handled correctly, could greatly improve US - European relations.  In war, many crimes are committed, that comes with the practice.  When the Allies found out what atrocities the Nazis had committed to Jews, and the Japanese treatment of American POWs, the American people were outraged.  However, with the war ending, many events which are also war crimes were left in the shadows when these large cases came to light, and some have yet to be acknowledged or apologized for.  One such crime were the actions made by the United States following the sinking of the British Ocean Liner, the RMS Laconia.  The Laconia was sunk by a German navy U Boat (submarine) captain since it was carrying mounted weapons on the decks.  The ship at the time was carrying Axis prisoners of war, specifically 268 British soldiers, 160 Polish soldiers (who were on guard), 80 civilians, and 1,800 Italian prisoners.  Surfacing to aid any of the few survivors he would have expected from a cargo vessel, captain Werner Hartenstein surfaced to find several thousand people in the water, many of whom were civilians.  He immediately requested any nearby ships in the area to aid in picking up survivors on an open radio frequency, as well as eventually draping red cross flags over his sub to avoid air attack and protect the survivors.  Another submarine soon arrived and assisted, but eventually a United States Air Force B24 Liberator bomber soon loomed overhead.  The pilot, Lieutenant James D. Harden, saw the scene and radioed in the situation; despite the messages, red cross flags, and even the signaling in morse code of an RAF officer standing with the U boat crew on the conning tower, the bomber was ordered by Captain Robert C. Richardson III to attack and made multiple attack runs, dropping bombs and depth charges around the submarines.  Several life boats being towed behind the U boats were hit with bombs, killing dozens of Allied sailors and civilians.  Aware that this would not end as long as he was visible, captain Hartenstein ordered survivors off his submarine and back into the water, while slowly submerging to avoid further attack.  The plane was reported to have sunk the submarine, but in reality they had missed.  This event caused the German Admiral Karl  Doenitz to prohibit the rescue of any survivors of sinking ships for fear of more attacks on submarines.  At Nuremberg in 1946, American prosecutors indicted Doenitz of multiple war crimes, including the Laconia order, but this backfired into embarrassment when American Admiral of the Pacific US Fleet Chester Nimitz made a statement denouncing that specific charge on the ground that the American navy had operated under unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific since war was declared in 1941.  To sum up this mess, the United States Army Air Corps (now  the USAF) had attacked a rescue operation of both allied civilians and sailors as well as countless Italian prisoners of war.  According to International Law Studies, both Robert Richardson and James Harden should have been charged and convicted of war crimes.   That is why I am urging the United States government, specifically the Department of Defense or President Trump, to offer an apology to all parties who suffered casualties that go against the rules of conventional warfare.  I believe that this would not only bury a long over due hatchet and gap in history books, but also help better relations between the US and its European Allies, specifically England, Poland, Italy, and Germany (the nationality of those attacked), some of which have been disturbed by the comments made by Mr. Trump concerning the UN and NATO.  

Ian Anderson
9 supporters
Started 1 year ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Demand an Apology from Congress for the Mistreatment of Italian Americans During WWII

During World War II, the United States government interned, relocated, and confiscated the property of thousands of Italian Americans. Hundreds of Italians were arrested, put on a train with darkened windows, and sent to internment camps across the United States. Thousands were arrested and taken into custody, many without a warrant. 10,000 Italians were relocated and forced from their homes, including the elderly and immobile. 600,000 Italians were classified as "enemy aliens" and faced movement restrictions, curfews, job loss, and property confiscation.  The federal government has never apologized for these civil liberty violations. The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) wants to change that. On December 1, 2015, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California introduced H.R. 4146 and H.R. 4147.  The first bill requests funds to provide grants for education programs on the history of Italian Americans during World War II. The latter asks for an official apology for the mistreatment of Italian Americans during that time.  In 2000, Congress directed the Attorney General to conduct an extensive review of Italian American treatment during World War II. In 2001, the Justice Department released its report, outlining the injustices committed against Italians living in the United States in the 1940's. It's now 15 years later. There has been no follow up and no official apology.  Acknowledging, apologizing for, and studying the treatment of Italian Americans during World War II will help repair the Italian American community and discourage the occurrence of similar injustices and violations of civil liberties in the future. The federal government must safeguard civil liberties and protect the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. This is about more than Italian Americans. This is about all of us.  Join us and ask Congress to apologize for the government's treatment of Italian Americans during World War II. Call on Congress to pass H.R. 4146 and 4147.   Left photo credit Texas Historical Commission

National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)
2,041 supporters