Hermann Göring

American Hangman Published!!!

American Hangman

(September 23, 2019)  American Hangman: MSgt. John C. Woods: The United States Army’s Notorious Executioner in World War II and Nürnberg is published and you can start ordering now.  The book is fabulous; the price of $29.99 is an excellent buy considering that it has 108 black and white photos from the period, several of which are from the family with their kind permission, and where he resided that I guarantee you that you have never seen before.  The work is 256 pages, with endnotes and sources that dispel all the myths surrounding this fascinating character.  Most importantly, this is what I call a “one off” book.  Once you read this, you will know everything you would want to know about the “American Hangman.”  There are no other books about him.  There are a few magazine articles, first published in 1946 and continuing occasionally to today, but most of the information in them is extremely inaccurate which you’ll see.

But don’t worry; his actual life is more interesting than the myths about him were.

You will be able to read, from primary official documents, the details of every man for which John Woods was the assistant or primary hangman.  He did not, as magazines claimed, hang 347 men, nor did he hang, as he once claimed, 200 men.  Some were American soldiers; others had been  German or Austrian war criminals.  Then there were the last ten men Woods would ever hang, the top Nazi war criminals that had been condemned to death at the International Military Tribunal at Nürnberg.  Only Hermann Göring cheated Woods as he took poison just hours before his schedule execution.  You’ll read about that too and also about how Woods hanged Julius Streicher, one of the ten men, after Streicher had “disrespected” Woods on the scaffold!

But the story goes much deeper and reveals his young days, his short stint in the United States Navy about 1930, almost missing his wedding ceremony just after Prohibition was lifted, his brush with the law bouncing checks, driving a truck for a hearse company, joining the United States Army in 1943 and fighting at the Easy Red sector of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 as men died in bunches around him.

Did you know that John Woods could smoke a cigarette and blow smoke out of his ears?  Well, his nieces remembered that and a great deal of additional information about a man who adored his wife, loved dogs, liked to make officers uncomfortable, had an affinity for Wild Crow bourbon whiskey, had a storehouse of entertaining stories to tell his friends and who botched more than a few hangings, the reports of which made it back to the War Department in Washington, DC.

After reading this book, you will feel that not only do you know about John C. Woods but that you would have enjoyed having a beer with him.  In fact, one of the characters in this book used to do just that in various pubs at Le Mans, France almost every day for six months in 1945.  He’ll fill you in on details that the US Army never knew about the “American Hangman.”

But beware, it might not stop with a beer; as John might tell you: “I never saw three quarts of whiskey disappear so fast in my life.”  (Said to True: The Man’s Magazine at Fort Dix, New Jersey in November 1946, concerning his team having a few drinks after the Nürnberg hangings.)

An easy read, in deference to my Army Buddies, American Hangman sheds crucial light on the death penalty in the US Army in Europe in World War II, the execution of Nazi war criminals, and the effects of participating in an execution on the part of those ordered to carry it out.  And his mysterious death?  Well you’ll just have to hold off reading that last chapter till you get through the rest of the book!

For much of World War II, history books have described the influence that commissioned officers have had on shaping significant events.  Now it’s time for you to meet the man that went from private to master sergeant in one day and who had officers, from lieutenant to brigadier general, dancing to his tune.



American Hangman Published!!!2020-10-28T14:10:51-06:00

Julius Streicher, Editor of Der Stürmer

Julius Streicher

Julius Streicher, Gauleiter of Franconia and editor of Der Stürmer, Germany’s most violent anti-Semitic journal.  Streicher said of Hermann Göring, “He never really consummated his marriage – Yes I know it was Göring who was responsible for having me kicked out of my position as Gauleiter in 1940, on account of that story about his child being a test-tube baby.  But I can’t help that.  I must speak what I believe to be the truth.”  Streicher was convicted of war crimes and hanged by Master Sergeant John C. Woods at Nürnberg on October 16, 1946.  His last words were, “Heil Hitler!  Festival of Purim 1946 – and now to God.  The Bolsheviks hang you too – I am with God Father.”

Julius Streicher, Editor of Der Stürmer2015-09-10T12:31:14-06:00

Nazis on trial at Nürnberg

Nazis on trial at Nürnberg

Nazis on trial at Nürnberg; on the left is Hermann Göring, center is Rudolf Hess and right is Joachim von Ribbentrop.  Göring, the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, said of Hess, the Deputy Führer, “But Hess – he’s insane.  He’s been insane for a long time.  We knew it when he flew to England.”  Göring took poison and committed suicide on October 15, 1946 – hours before he was to be hanged.  Hess died under mysterious circumstances on July 17, 1987, while confined at Spandau Prison in Berlin.  Von Ribbentrop was convicted of war crimes and hanged by Master Sergeant John C. Woods at Nürnberg on October 16, 1946.  His last words were, “God guard Germany!  God have mercy on my soul!  My final wish is that Germany should recover her unity and that, for the sake of world peace, there should be understanding between East and West.”

Nazis on trial at Nürnberg2015-09-10T12:32:00-06:00
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