TRUMAN APPOINTED WWII AMNESTY BOARD 70 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Seventy years ago today, December 23, 1946, President Harry S Truman appointed an amnesty board to review the cases of those imprisoned for refusal to serve the United States in WWII. He did this in spite of the fact, according to Politico, that Mr. Truman had "little sympathy for most conscientious objectors."
The 15,000 cases involved men who were drafted into the service but refused to serve in any capacity, combatant or otherwise. The President directed the board to review individual cases to determine if any were unjustly punished and eligible for presidential pardon.
The board, chaired by former Supreme Court justice Owen Roberts*, reported back one year later that 1500 of the 15,000 cases merited "full amnesty." They included those belonging to pacifist religious groups.
On December 23, 1947, President Truman granted a pardon in these cases, representing 10% of the total number reviewed, and restored political and civil rights to those so pardoned.
During World War II, 25,000 conscientious objectors accepted assignments in non-combatant roles.
*Owen Josephus Roberts (1875-1955) was born in Philadelphia & graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1895. He earned his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. OJR was appointed to the US Supreme Court by President Hoover & served 1930-1945. He was the only Republican on the court during WWII.
"Truman weighs amnesty for draft dodgers, December 23, 1946," by Andrew Glass, December 2016, Politico, www.politco.com/