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January 31: The US Executes Private Eddie Slovik | What Happened Today In History?

Dear Humanity,

Today you did something interesting. Many times you do things that contradict your reason for doing them, and today is one of them. However, for whatever reason, whether or not it was the right call is something every man gets to decide for himself...


Why Was Eddie Slovik Executed?

In 1945, Private Eddie Slovik was executed for deserting. He was the only American executed for deserting in WW2, which hadn’t happened since the Civil War.

Eddie Slovak was a drafted soldier who was an ex-con, he had previously been charged with grand theft auto. He was forced to be a rifleman, even though he hated guns. After being attacked on the way to the front, he got lost and was taken in by a Canadian unit until he was turned back over to the Americans.

However, he said he was "too scared and too nervous" to be a rifleman, and he threatened to run away if he was going to be forced to the front. The next day he disappeared.

He returned and signed a confession of desertion, which his officer advised him to take back as the potential punishment was severe. Slovak refused. His legal officer gave him a deal: either go straight to the front and avoid being charged or be court-martialled.

He was court-martialled soon enough and was sentenced to be shot. He was one of a few men who tried to dodge combat by being imprisoned, so the Army refused to be lenient.

He even made an appeal to General Dwight Eisenhower, but the Battle of The Bulge was killing thousands of Americans. Now was not the time for mercy. So on January 31, 1945, Eddie Slovak was shot by fellow soldiers in eastern France.

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Quote of The Day

“I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”

— Jimi Hendrix

Do you think Eddie Slovik should have been executed?

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