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Moroccan Troops (WWII)


>>> Item number 434, dated 95/07/15 14:21:35 -- ALL
Date:         Sat, 15 Jul 1995 14:21:35 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      QUERY: Moroccan soldiers in Italy

Date sent:      13 Jul 95
From:           Chris Lowe, Reed College
                <Chris.Lowe@directory.Reed.EDU>

A colleague has asked me a question I'd like to pass on. Apparently Susan Brownmiller in her book on rape makes reference to stories, supposed to be well-known, of a pattern of Moroccan soldiers raping Italian women during the Second World War. My colleague has found one reference in a book on popular memory which analyzes a Sicilian journalist's writing about this in the 1950s, except that there weren't any Moroccans in Sicily, but the story is now regarded there as fact, apparently. So my colleague wants to know if this is what is behind Brownmiller's story, or if both refer to some other events elsewhere. Any references either to the specific issue, or to Moroccans in Italy during the war more generally, would be appreciated. Thanks.

>>> Item number 437, dated 95/07/17 07:42:43 -- ALL

Date:         Mon, 17 Jul 1995 07:42:43 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Moroccan soldiers in Italy

Date sent:      Sun, 16 Jul 1995
From:           Martin Klein, University of Toronto
                <mklein@epas.utoronto.ca>

You might also check out a Sophia Loren movie, entitled, if I remember correctly, "Two Women," in which mother and daughter were raped by Morroccan soldiers. At the time I saw the movie, I was not concerned about its historical accuracy.

>>> Item number 439, dated 95/07/17 19:13:09 -- ALL

Date:         Mon, 17 Jul 1995 19:13:09 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

crosspost reply from H-War (War@ksu.ksu.edu)

Date:           Mon, 17 Jul 1995
From:           Linda Grant De Pauw, Minerva Center and
                  George Washington University
                <MinervaCen%aol.com>

In De Sica's film, "Two Women," Moroccan soldiers gang-rape a mother and daughter in a bombed-out church. This scene reflected the "common knowledge" of events in Italy.

Apparently the Morrocan propensity to rape was generally accepted as fact. General George F. Patton, Jr., *War as I Knew It*, wrote (p. 71): "One funny thing happened in connection with the Moroccan troops,. A Sicilian came to me and said he had a complaint to make about the conduct of the Moroccans, or Goums, as they are called. He said he well knew that all Goums were thieves, also that they were murderers, and sometimes indulged in rape--these things he could understand and make allowances for, but when they came to his home, killed his rabbits, and then skinned them in the parlor, it was going too far."

Not an Italian example, but perhaps relevant, was a report issued by the German police chief of Stuttgart in August 1945 in which he stated that local police had verified 1,198 cases of rape. The ages of the victims ranged from 14 to 74 and most of them "were attacked in their homes by turbaned Moroccans who broke down the doors in looting forays. Four of the women were killed by their attackers, and four others committed suicide. One of the victims was killed by her husband who then killed himself. ["Rape Story Dispute Grows in Stuttgart," *New York Times*, August 11, 1945, p. 10]

It is very hard to get history of rape from secondary sources. Three factors make it difficult: 1) the production of atrocity stories for propaganda purposes; 2) the shame felt by the victims and their families who seek to keep the facts secret; and 3) the unwillingness of historians to look at the subject. As the quotation from Patton illustrates, rape is considered a trivial and rather funny sidelight in the history of war.

Any proposal to undertake the Italian oral history project that would be necessary to answer this query in a scholarly way would be dismissed as frivolous and in bad taste if presented either to a book publisher or to a dissertation committee. (The MINERVA Center, however, would be delighted to consider an article on the subject for possible publication in MINERVA: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military.)

Linda Grant De Pauw, President
The MINERVA Center, Inc.
20 Granada Road
Pasadena, MD 21122
(410) 437-5379
minervacen@aol.com

>>> Item number 440, dated 95/07/18 14:10:42 -- ALL

Date:         Tue, 18 Jul 1995 14:10:42 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

Date sent:      Tue, 18 Jul 1995
From:           Cora Presley, Tulane University
                <c7623@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu>

I wonder if any trials of these alleged rapes by Moroccan troops ever occurred? Given the racisim at the time, it seems to me that the diligent historian could dig through the court records of the various cities (or at least the miliatry tribunals) and find some evidence.

My point is that I am reminded of the wartinme propaganda spread by the U.S. military in France during World War I. The object of villification was African American soldiers. The specter of rape was raised (along with other bogeys) to dissuade the French population from associating with the black liberators. A special envoy was even sent to them (I believe it was Ralph Bunche but I may be in gross error). At any rate, according to a special order from General Pershing's headquarters dated August 17, 1918, the French as well as the white Americans had to "Make a point of keeping the native cantonment population from 'spoiling' the Negroes...Americans become greatley incensed at any public expression of intimacy betweeen white women and black men."

I wonder if the research on this should be contextualized in the whole controversy of the image of the black rapists used so effectively in the U.S. and if there was a French colonial version of it that has a history as long as that used in the United States?

>>> Item number 443, dated 95/07/19 08:51:26 -- ALL

Date:         Wed, 19 Jul 1995 08:51:26 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

                *********************************
                Editor's note:
                As a follow-up to his initial
                query, Chris Lowe's comments are
                especially welcome.  Others who
                may wish to report on and analyze
                replies they have received
                regarding querys posted to the
                list are encouraged to do so.
                                    mep
                *********************************
Date sent:      Tues 18 Jul 95
From:           Chris Lowe, Reed College
                <Chris.Lowe@directory.Reed.EDU>

Thanks to everyone who has sent in responses to this inquiry so far (which I also posted on another list & apparently cross-posted elsewhere by someone else).

A couple of interesting things have emerged. One is that the most frequent response has been references to Di Sica's film "Two Women." Also, General Patton's anecdotes apparently were one of Susan Brownmiller's sources, and one other response mentioned an article in Fentress & Wickham's *Social Memory* which was also one of my colleague's starting places.

A possible independent scholarly account may be in Anthony Clayton, *France, Soldiers, and Africa* (London, Brassey's Defense Publishers, 1988), according to one private response, but the respondent was not sure if that was the location of the article he was thinking of.

The limited number of sources, and the mass-media and folkloric character of many of them, lend support to Cora Presley's cautions. This might reflect Anglophone bias, and also maybe sub-Saharan African bias on the lists I posted to.

Another personal respondent said that when living in Morocco she had met Italians who knew of Moroccan soldiers in Italy "but recounted to me that 'comfort women' accompanied them." The same respondent pointed out rape on the part of American soldiers who invaded Casablanca, and the refusal of American authorities to take seriously a complaint by a Swedish woman she knew. This contextualization seems an important complement to the ones which Presley has raised.

I believe the kind of contextualizing Cora Presley is calling for, including both the possibility that the rapes didn't occur, and that they did, is what my colleague is trying to think about, in a comparative way and a theories of power-oriented way (he's a political scientist).

The relayed oral testimony jibes interestingly with Professor Presley's concerns. If Moroccan soldiers brought "comfort women" with them, portrayed as an alternative to rape by my respondent's informants, that seems to increase the likelihood of a propagandic origin to the rape stories.

But it raises other questions about militarism, sexual exploitation and use of sexual terror as a weapon in wartime. "Comfort women" in the Korean/Japanese context were colonized women violently and involuntarily forced into that role by a colonial power. Was something similar true of the women accompanying the Moroccan troops? Such a picture might shift the central responsibility from dark-skinned rapists to European military or "logistical" authorities.

Or if there were indeed women accompanying the Moroccan troops, were they there in some relatively more voluntary capacity, as "camp followers"? If so, how did they come to be there? Obviously any question of "voluntariness" here would be a relative thing, which would need to be analyzed in terms of how the violence, destitution and social disruptions of war limited colonial women's choices.

Whether "comfort women" or "camp followers", a presence of accompanying colonized women would be compatible with the efforts at racial isolation by rumor of the sort which Presley mentions (or with efforts to counteract German racial propaganda among Italian civilians). Yet they would not be incompatible with rapes being a reality. The widespread prevalence of rape in warfare crossculturally, and anti-woman willingness to downplay the issue, suggests that we should not be any quicker to assume rapes didn't occur, than we should be to assume that they did occur, given contexts of colonial racism.

>>> Item number 444, dated 95/07/19 13:14:47 -- ALL

Date:         Wed, 19 Jul 1995 13:14:47 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

From:           Pat Manning, Northeastern University
                <manning@neu.edu>
Date:           Wed, 19 Jul 1991

Myron Echenberg's *Colonial Conscripts*, a social history of the Tirailleurs senegalais in the colonial period, addresses some of the same issues for sub-Saharan African soldiers in the French army. I imagine he would have significant additions to make to this discussion.

>>> Item number 447, dated 95/07/19 18:55:57 -- ALL

Date:         Wed, 19 Jul 1995 18:55:57 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

cross post from H-France <h-france@msu.edu>:

Date sent:      Wed, 19 Jul 1995
>From            William B. Cohen, Indiana University
                <cohenw@indiana.edu>

Somewhat connected to the query about Moroccan troops; an article in the *Journal of Modern History* some 15 years or so back showed that the French occupying the Ruhr in 1923 purposely used black troops, knowing that would particularly horrify and humiliate the Germans.


                Editor's Note:
                In this context it is also important
                to remember that at the end of World
                War One the French had especially
                depleted manpower and, at the armestic
                one-half of all effective troops in
                the field were colonial battalions.
                In many ways, the French had no options
                but to use colonial--largely African--
                soldiers in the oocupation.

                The accusations about French intent
                are also very old, made not only in
                Germany but also in Britain. The chief
                proponents of that view in the U.K.
                were E.D. Morel and his fellow members
                of the post-war Union of Democratic
                Control.  And somewhat later, Hitler
                was equally vociferous in his
                denunciation of French intentions in
                *Mein Kampf* and other Nazi writings.
                                        mep
                **************************************

>>> Item number 448, dated 95/07/20 13:35:31 -- ALL

Date:         Thu, 20 Jul 1995 13:35:31 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

Date sent:      Wed, 19 Jul 95
From:           Chris Lowe, Reed College
                <Chris.Lowe@directory.Reed.EDU>

Here is some more information and reflections from the colleague who raised the question.

Just for your info, I've investigated the Moroccan and Algerian divisions in the battle for Italy. The 3rd Moroccan and 2nd Algerian divisions were used in Italy. They landed at Naples and went to Rome. This would fit the de Sica movie. However, it turns out that the 4th Mountain Tabor Moroccan division was used in the occupation of Sicily. This is important because Fentress and Wickham argue that there were no Moroccan troops in Sicily and so the Palermo stories are an instance of "Italian social memory" of Moorish invaders. However the source he cites (Kogan) is thin and inaccurate. It may be that there were no Moroccans in Palermo, where the story originates. What one can say, building on Fentress and Wickham's argument, is that actual events may have been shaped into a prior social narrative. This might be added to the info you have posted.

Walzer cites an article on Just and Unjust Wars from *Dissent* that apparently says that raped women were given a small pension by the Italian state, and this is how the exact number can be determined. I am checking this out.

The point about locating military trials is absolutely correct, and I was hoping the Clayton reference would cite where I could find these. I have not read any place that there were comfort women, but this is unlikely to be recorded by WWII historians of the battles.

The question of prostitution is succinctly raised by Brownmiller herself when a US army general says "wherever there are soldiers there are prostitutes." To which Brownmiller retorts, "why then do soldiers rape when there are prostitutes available?" To which the general said beats me. This is important, say, in the case of the Rape of Nanking, where 20,000 women were raped. Trying to account for the scale of this event over six weeks in terms of finding comfort women seems very thin to me.

There is an instance cited in Snow's *Scorched Earth* which raises this point concretely . Japanese troops show up looking for women in a Nanking "safety zone" (not just in Bosnia it turns out were such euphemisms used) and the missionaries in the camp asked the "singing girls" if they would go instead of the "non-professional women". The singing girls discussed this and went even though they despised the enemy as much as anyone else and they were definitely marching to their deaths. Did such distinctions also make sense to the Japanese soldiers? Did they draw distinctions between comfort women and other women? Brownmiller's question ("why do soldiers rape when prostitutes are avilable") would then have a great deal of force.

My colleague also sends the following source material. I find it suggestive of European uses of images of colonial soldiers. If the "immunity" described really existed, it also points to racialized official legal/social construction of colonial soldiers in realms of material action and violence beyond the discursive and propagandistic.

The quotes below are from an article by Ignazio Silone entitled "Reflections on the Welfare State" which appeared in *Tempo Presente* (December 1960) and was translated for the spring 1991 (8:2) issue of *Dissent*. The quote speaks directly to the absence of any records of trials of Moroccans:

"In the spring of 1994, Moroccan troops of the French army entered the country. People have not yet forgotten what then happened in some towns of the Frosinate region. All the women who did not have time to take shelter in the mountains were, as they say, `moroccanated' there is no consideration for the age of the women; every woman, from ten to seventy, was raped. (A brief parenthesis on the colonial problem is worthwhile. About that same time, General Juin commander of the French armed forces in Italy, was received by the Pope. The Pope complained to him about the immunity granted to the soldiers responsible for the brutalities. The general informed him that North African soldiers could not be punished since the war code of the French army granted to these troops, in enemy territory, the right to rape and plunder.)"

"In its turn, the Italian government could do nothing but grant the `moroccanated' women a modest subsidy. Since it had been a sad experience and one not to be proud of, it was reasonable to expect that many of them would prefer to hide their misfortune. It is possible that this happened; however, local authorities were very surprised when they began to receive requests for the subsidy from women who had been elsewhere at the time of the incidents."

>>> Item number 449, dated 95/07/20 13:43:05 -- ALL

Date:         Thu, 20 Jul 1995 13:43:05 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

From:           Peter Limb, University of Western Australia
                <plimb@library.uwa.edu.au>
Date sent:      Thu, 20 Jul 1995

There is a chapter [of two pages!] entitled "Marocchini" [Moroccans] in Sergio Lambiase e G. Battistsa Nazzaro, *Napoli 1940-45* (Milano: Longanesi, 1978), a sort of picture book with commentaries.

Briefly, it states that: the two Moroccans who posed for the photograph symbolize potentates of victory, and that of all the colourful peoples of Naples, they are the most marked, and also, the most DANGEROUS ["piu pericolose"]. The Moroccans inaugurated a mythology of evil and of violence with their confrontation with the weak - women, children...To say "Marocchini" signifies the evocation of a situation at the limits.. "Barbarians" and "savages", the Moroccans give themselves up in reality to a practice - vilonce and rape - which is that of all conquerors and "colonizers."...This demonization of Moroccans has roots in racist and imperialist ideology of fascism,....[they then compare the attitude to the "normal" behaviour of the American and British, in comparison to which the Moroccans were viewed as obscene...

It concludes, and to save time [and embarassment at my rather weak Italian] I'll quote:

"E le truppe nordafricane vengono inesorabilmente gravate di tutti gli attributi che il fascismo assegnava ai popoli colonizzati; rozzezza [rudeness]; bieca istintivita [grimness?]; dissolutezza non frenata dalla ragione, ma con in meno la mansuetudine. Il napoletano e disposto a giurare o a spergiurare che il marocchino - suo antagonista - "puzza" [stink], xhe non ha sguardi che per il sedere dei bambini....Rimuovendo la sua condizione di "colonizato", il napoletano finisce per disprezzare proprio coloro con i quali, in fondo, dovrebbe solidarizzare, respingendo lo "stupro" [rape] dei marocchini ...ma per accettare, sul piano delle convenienze, quello piu gelido e conseguente delgi americani o, addittura, dei tedeschi" [p.140].


                Editor's note:
                Since my Italian is nonexistant, I
                shall not try!  Apologies to those
                who, like myself, are left somewhat
                in the dark.
                                        mep
                ***********************************

Myron Echenberg, *Colonial Conscripts* (1991) has some germane points. At first, (1940-44) "black Africans constituted the main elements of the rank and file in the Free French Army, with North Africans also an important element..." In Sept.-Oct 1944 20,000 black troops were withdrawn "as part of the so-called 'whitening' [blachissement]" of Free French forces ordered by De Gaulle.

>>> Item number 450, dated 95/07/20 13:46:58 -- ALL

Date:         Thu, 20 Jul 1995 13:46:58 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

Date sent:      Thu, 20 Jul 1995
From:           Martin Klein, University of Toronto
                <mklein@epas.utoronto.ca>

Chris Lowe's response on the Moroccan question misses Cora Presley's point, which is that we need evidence. Lowe's reflections are based on an almost total absence of evidence. It is the kind of conjecture that gets reported as fact in the next re-telling. The French had a tradition of military brothels. They were not colonial women. Students of the tirailleurs can probably enlighten you about the question of sexual relations between black soldiers and white prostitutes. But there is no evidence that any colonial exploitation was involved.


                Editor's note,
                Chris Lowe's subsequent post with
                some evidence was delayed by me,
                waiting to see if there were
                further interest in this subject.
                My apologies if this has caused
                any confusions.
                                        mep
                **********************************

There is another question. Soldiers at war often rape. The Russians raped their way across Prussia and East Germany. The Serbians seem to have rape camps, and the Hutu militia seem to have systematically raped Tutsi women. War-time rape probably involves a number of variables: the desire for sexual release after a period of danger, the absence of law, and a desire to humiliate the enemy. But I too am conjecturing. We really need evidence.

>>> Item number 454, dated 95/07/20 14:35:27 -- ALL

Date:         Thu, 20 Jul 1995 14:35:27 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan soldiers in WWII

Date:           Thu, 20 Jul 1995
From:           Mel Page, East Tennessee State University
                <africa@etsuarts.east-tenn-st.edu>

When this discussion began, what first occurred to me were the accounts I had read years ago concerning atrocities by Moroccan soldiers fighting for Franco in Spain during the Civil War. After the further posts of today, I turned to Ronald Fraser's *Blood of Spain*, an oral history of the Civil War. There I find a numnber of individual accounts of Moroccan (or Moorish) atrocities, including one specific account of rape (p. 157).

Does this have anything to do with later accounts, in Italy, during WWII? I am keenly aware, as Martin Klein cautions, that I have no evidence it does. But in the propaganda cauldron which was WWII and its antecedents, I cannot help but feel there could be some connection.

>>> Item number 455, dated 95/07/20 18:19:09 -- ALL

Date:         Thu, 20 Jul 1995 18:19:09 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

Date sent:      Thu, 20 Jul 1995
From:           John Boldrick, Columbia University
                <jlb47@columbia.edu>

Without wanting to get away from the specific historical context, it seems obvious that soldiers may have sex with prostitutes and rape civilian women for different reasons.

In civilian life, we no longer suppose that men rape primarily for "sexual release," but rather for complex psychological reasons entangled with sexuality, emotion and power. Therefore why should we expect it of men in the narrowly-defined social situation of war? Not that this is impossible, but if we accept this, we must define some underlying facts about war life that would explain an anomalous linkage of rape and sexual desire.

In light of the additional layer of racially charged meaning in this case, given the colonial sexual imagination about dark-skinned men's purported desire for light-skinned women and the slippery reliability of wartime atrocity stories, we should proceed with extra care in making assumptions about possible reasons for these rapes.

>>> Item number 457, dated 95/07/21 13:30:41 -- ALL

Date:         Fri, 21 Jul 1995 13:30:41 GMT-5
Reply-To:     H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
Sender:       H-NET List for African History <H-AFRICA@MSU.EDU>
From:         H-AFRICA---Mel Page <AFRICA@ETSUARTS.EAST-TENN-ST.EDU>
Organization: East Tennessee State University
Subject:      REPLY: Rapes by Moroccan troops in WWII

From:           Joseph M. O'Neal, St. Edward's University
                <josephon@admin.stedwards.edu>
Date sent:      Thu, 20 Jul 95

I am an anthropologist who teaches a History of Africa course. I am new to this list, but have lurked for a couple of weeks to understand the tone of the exchanges. The tone is very high--a relief after some of the contentious anthropology lists to which I subscribe--and I have found the information conveyed most helpful. Especially interesting has been the discussion of rape by Moroccan troops in Italy.

Just for your interest, and without going into all the problems and complexities of modern evolutionary theory, let me suggest a sociobiological hypothesis which is not original with me. In evolutionary terms, it makes perfect sense for conquerors to take steps to impregnate the women of the conquered population. How better to integrate the following generations into the culture and political domain of the conquerors?

Admittedly, this behavior makes little sense in the case of modern warfare (most modern warfare--Bosnia might be an exception), but if this behavior is a relic of our very long history as human beings, and hominids before that, and nothing has happened to render the behavior contrary to the exigencies of natural selection, then the behavior could easily persist.

I am not a competent or enthusiastic sociobiologist, and raise this point only to illustrate that some of the questions posed about the role of rape in warfare might need to be examined in a much more general context. So-called "primitive" warfare often involves incorporation of individuals from conquered populations into the gene pool of the conquerors.

Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, who is not without his detractors in the profession, has argued that reproductive success by individual men among the Yanomamo Indians of Brazil and Venezuela is linked to the success of individuals in killing rivals. I don't know if this finding is borne out by the evidence, let alone whether rape in warfare has evolutionary significance, but I personally find such ideas fun to play around with. :-)


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