Although over twenty-one thousand soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II including forty-nine death sentences only Slovik's death sentence was carried out
Slovik was born to a Polish-American family in Detroit, Michigan. As a minor, he was arrested several times; the first time, when he was twelve, occurred when he and some friends broke into a foundry to steal some brass. Between 1932 and 1937, he was caught for several incidents of petty theft, breaking and entering and disturbing the peace. In October 1937, he was sent to jail, and paroled in September 1938. After stealing and crashing a car with two friends while drunk, he was sent back to jail in January 1939.
In April 1942, Slovik was paroled once more and obtained a job at the Montella Plumbing Company in Dearborn. There he met his wife, Antoinette Wisniewski, whom he married on November 7, 1942. They went to live with her parents. Slovik's criminal record had led him to be classified as unfit for duty in the U.S. military ("4-F"), but shortly after his and Antoinette's first wedding anniversary, Slovik was reclassified as fit for duty ("1-A") and subsequently drafted by the Army.
While enroute to his unit, Slovik and a friend, Private John Tankey, took cover during an artillery attack and became separated from their detachment. The next morning, they found a non-combat Canadian unit and remained with them at the rear of the front for the next six weeks. Tankey wrote to their regiment to explain their absence before he and Slovik reported for duty on October 7. No charges against them were filed.
The following day, October 8, Slovik informed his company commander, Captain Ralph Grotte, that he was "too scared" to serve in a rifle company and asked to be reassigned to a rear area unit. He told Grotte that he would run away if he were assigned to a rifle unit and asked him if that would constitute desertion. Grotte confirmed that it would and refused his request for reassignment, assigning him to a rifle platoon.
The next day, October 9, Slovik approached an MP and gave him a note in which he stated his intention to "run away" if he were sent into combat. He was brought before Lieutenant ColonelRoss Henbest, who offered him the opportunity to tear up the note and face no further charges. Slovik refused and wrote a further note stating he understood what he was doing and its consequences.
Slovik was taken into custody and confined to the division stockade. The divisional judge advocate, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Summer, again offered Slovik an opportunity to rejoin his unit and have the charges against him suspended. He also offered Slovik a transfer to another infantry regiment. Slovik declined these offers, saying, "I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial."
The 28th Division was scheduled to begin an attack on Hurtgen Forest. The attack was common knowledge in the unit and casualty rates were expected to be very high. Men indicated they preferred to be imprisoned rather than remain in combat and the rates for desertion and other crimes had begun to rise.
Slovik was charged with desertion to avoid hazardous duty and court martialed on November 11, 1944. The prosecutor, Captain John Green, presented witnesses to whom Slovik had stated his intention to "run away." The defense counsel, Captain Edward Woods, announced that Slovik had elected not to testify. The nine officers of the court found Slovik guilty and sentenced him to death. The sentence was reviewed and approved by the divisional commander, Major GeneralNorman Cota.
Slovik was buried in Plot E of Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Fère-en-Tardenois, alongside 96 other American soldiers executed for crimes such as murder and rape. Their black headstones bear numbers instead of names, so it is impossible to identify them individually without knowing the key. In 1987, forty-two years after his execution, Slovik's remains were returned to Michigan and reburied in Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, next to his wife Antoinette, who had died in 1979. Slovik's wife and others have petitioned seven U.S. presidents, but Slovik has not been pardoned
*End of Info from Wikipedia.
My opinion is that altough Eddie Slovik made some mistakes when he young he did not deserve to die. Also he didnt even volenteer for the army and when he deserted he tried other options before resorting to it. Not only was he effected but his wife was made a widow due to the government's mistake. Ever since then his wife tried to get a pardon for him. It is sad that she never lived to see that day. Lets give her what she always wanted. It is time for the government to pardon Eddie Slovik.
We the undersigned believe that it is time to pardon Eddie Slovik. It has been over 60 years and his wife has tried many times to get him his pardon. Sadly she has died but however there are still people who care. We ask that you admit that what was done in 1945 was wrong. Eddie Slovik never volenteered to join the army and he tried other methods to avoid combat before resorting to desertion. Even when he did resort to it he declared so in a note and made sure his command got it unlike most deserters who just do it by surprise. We believe that it was wrong to sentence Eddie to death and that it is time to give him his long deserved pardon. Thank you for your time in reading this letter.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
grab this widget
for your site or blog
Make a difference for the issues you care about while adding cool interactive
content. Your readers sign without ever leaving your site. It's simple, just choose
your widget size and color and copy the embed code to your site or blog.