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American troops prepare Major General Anton Dostler for execution.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 03518

American troops prepare Major General Anton Dostler for execution.

Dostler was executed for having ordered the shooting of 15 U.S. soldiers captured behind German lines in March 1944. The Americans were on a sabotage mission and according to the Hague Convention should have been treated as prisoners of war upon their capture. Dostler, however, claimed in his defense that he was simply carrying out orders, the so-called "Commando Order," he and other German officers had received directly from Adolf Hitler to execute Allied troops captured in German-occupied territory if they were on intelligence or sabotage missions. The court martial's denial of Dostler's defense set an important precedent for the trial of Nazi war criminals several months later at Nuremberg because it did not allow the accused to claim in their defense that they were only following orders.

1945 December 01
Rome, [Latium; Roma] Italy
Variant Locale
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park
Record last modified: 2007-04-02 00:00:00
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