Dude, it's buckshot.
June 15, 2016 11:18 PM   Subscribe

Is it true that the Kaiser ordered captured American solders executed for possession/use of a shotgun during W.W.I.
posted by clavdivs to Law & Government (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
See p. 19 here (OCTOBER 1997 THE ARMY LAWYER • DA-PAM 27-50-299 16). In short, it seems so--at least as a threat. The Germans asserted they were going to do so and the Americans argued back that they shouldn't. The war ended soon thereafter, so whether the threat was actually carried out is debateable:
World War I ended six weeks later, without reply by Germany to the United States response. There is no record of any subsequent capture by German forces of any U.S. soldier or marine armed with a shotgun or possessing shotgun ammunition, or of Germany carrying out its threat against the U.S. soldiers it captured earlier.
posted by flug at 12:17 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


It might be of interest to note that two decades before this Germany was also the nation which protested the use of "Dum Dum bullets" which expand upon impact to cause large wounds and which were consequently outlawed by the Hague Convention.

The British, who insisted they were necessary, famously argued
The civilised soldier when shot recognises that he is wounded and knows that the sooner he is attended to, the sooner he will recover. He lies down on his stretcher and is taken off the field to his ambulance, where he is dressed or bandaged by his doctor or his Red Cross Society, according to the prescribed rules of the game as laid down in the Geneva Convention. Your fanatical barbarian, similarly wounded, continues to rush on, spear or sword in hand; and before you have had time to represent to him that his conduct is in flagrant violation of the understanding relative to the proper course for the wounded man to follow, he may have cut off your head.
Looking at flug's link the Hague Convention restriction is mentioned on the preceding page.
posted by XMLicious at 3:03 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


It should also be noted that the United States never ratified Hague Convention of 1899 section IV(3), which is the one that forbids expanding bullets.

Nonetheless, the US has abided by it. That's why military ammunition is all FMJ, even though civilians and police officers can and often do use hollow point. (Recently some people have begun arguing that the military should switch.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:15 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Law of War is a strange thing, starting with the fact that people can appparently use that phrase with a straight face.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:21 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted. Folks, this is isn't an open-ended discussion space, please bring it back around to the WWI history question.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:05 PM on June 16, 2016


You could check Isabel Hull's A Scrap of Paper, which is about international law during WWI. She talks a lot about the legal status of various weapons, as well as the permitted treatment of POWs. I don't specifically remember shotguns, but it's been more than a year since I read it.
posted by praemunire at 12:09 PM on June 16, 2016


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