Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today in History Part 2

Another mailing list post from Sally Rolls Pavia.

1863 : General Orders No. 100 issued The Union army issues General Orders No. 100, which provided a code ofconduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederateprisoners and civilians. The code was borrowed by many European nations, andits influence can be seen on the Geneva Convention. The orders were the brainchild of Francis Lieber, a Prussian immigrant whosethree sons had served during the Civil War. One son was mortally woundedwhile fighting for the Confederacy at the Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia,in 1862. Lieber's other two sons fought for the Union. Lieber was a scholarof international law who took a keen interest in the treatment of combatantsand civilians. He wrote many essays and newspaper articles on the subjectearly in the war, and he advised General Henry Halleck, general-in-chief ofthe Union armies, on how to treat guerilla fighters captured by Federalforces. Halleck appointed a committee of four generals and Lieber to draft rules ofcombat for the Civil War. The final document consisted of 157 articleswritten almost entirely by Lieber. The orders established policies for,among other things, the treatment of prisoners, exchanges, and flags oftruce. There was no document like it in the world at the time, and othercountries soon adopted the code. It became the standard for internationalmilitary law, and the Germans adopted it by 1870. Lieber's concepts arestill very influential today. ********************************************
1940 : Britain begins its evacuation of Greece in Operation Demon On this day in 1940, British forces, along with Australian, New Zealand, andPolish troops, begin to withdraw from Greece in light of the Greek army'ssurrender to the Axis invaders. A total of 50,732 men are evacuated quicklyover a six-day period, leaving behind weapons, trucks, and aircraft.

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