On This Day – Execution of Eddie Slovik


On this day in 1945, Eddie Slovik became the first and only American soldier to be executed for desertion in World War Two since the American Civil War.

Even though more than 21,000 varying sentences were carried out on soldiers that had deserted their roles in the war, including 49 death sentences, Slovik’s was the only one to be followed through and he was executed at 24 years old.

Deciding that he wasn’t cut out for combat, Slovik asked his company commander to reassign him to a rear area unit, but he was refused and sent to a rifle platoon. He was executed on this day by firing squad.