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New Online Collection: Military Legal Resources

Gold logo on blue pennant, text on banner below reads "Reverentia Legum."

 Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School Crest

A new collection is now available on the law.gov website: Military Legal Resources.

This collection includes material from the William Winthrop Memorial Library at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) is the legal arm of the United States Army, established on July 29, 1775 by General George Washington. Judge Advocates are stationed in the United States and abroad. They are most known for representing soldiers during courts-martial, but their duties encompass a wide range of legal disciplines. Selections of their physical library collection have been digitized and made available to the public online, including primary source materials and publications in the field of military law.

Lady Justice Statue in gold with the U.S. flag as a backdrop.

“Law and Justice” Igor Stevanovic. Used under Creative Commons License, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The collection is divided into three webpages to best highlight the type of material available: JAG Legal Center & School Materials, Historical Materials, and Military Law and Legislative History. These pages contain the digitized material, as well as descriptions of the collections and, in some cases, historical and contextual significance. The three webpages organize the collection with drop-down menus, under which you can find the descriptions and links to the PDFs.

The first webpage, JAG Legal Center & School Materials, includes issues of the Military Law Review and The Army Lawyer for over 50 years. It also contains deskbooks, handbooks, and training manuals for JAG officers in the military. This section highlights material specific to the school, including scrapbooks, newsletters, and theses.

Finally, this section includes links to the Lieber collection—the personal library of Brigadier General Guido Norman Lieber. He is best known for his codification of the laws of war for a national army, now known as the “Lieber Code” which was adopted by President Lincoln on April 24, 1863. The collection is divided into books, other printed material, and ephemera that includes newspaper clippings, notes, and correspondence. At the beginning of the collection, pictures and biographies of the family are included.

Screenshot of the webpage from the Military Legal Resources: Historical Materials

Screenshot of the webpage, //www.loc.gov/law/mlr/historical-mats.php

The second webpage for this collection is divided chronologically, by war. The World War II material is the largest section, containing materials on war crimes trials. The material on the Nuremberg Trials contains all four major publications from the Trials: the official proceedings of the trial of the major war criminals (The Blue Series), documentary evidence and guide materials from that trial (The Red Series), the official condensed record of the subsequent trials (The Green Series), and a final report on all the war crimes trials held in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1949. This section also contains reports from the Malmedy Massacre, General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s trial, and the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Information on the MyLai Incident can be found under the Vietnam War section.

The third webpage contains military law and legislative histories, including one of the most comprehensive legislative histories known for the principal documents of military law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The legislative history begins in 1912 with the proposed Articles of War through its enactment and the first comprehensive revision in 1948 (known as the Elston Act). The collection contains selected papers of Edmund M. Morgan, a Harvard Law professor who was appointed chair of the committee selected to draft a uniform code of military justice. The collection then includes amendments to the UCMJ and the Military Justice Acts of 1968 and 1983. Finally, this page includes materials from the Manual for Courts Martial, Geneva Conventions Materials, and the Red Cross Committee and International Review, as well as legislative histories on the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974.

Bookshelf of law books (appears to be the "Manual for Courts Martial") in dim lighting with American flag slightly in the foreground.

Photo by U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Daniel Blackwell.

We hope you enjoy this collection and all the amazing historical documents. As additional materials become digitized, we will add them to the website. We will also continue to update the functionality of the website by upgrading the PDFs and adding more search capabilities in the future. A special thanks to the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, along with Dan Lavering, Law Librarian at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, for their continued help in digitizing and developing the collection.

Note: links to the collection have been updated. 2/15/2022

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