Presentation Title

The Myth of the Clean Wehrmacht

Type of Presentation



On October 1st, 1946, the Nuremberg trails ended. The executions and life sentences of representatives of the German military and political elite were carried out by the Allied powers. At the time, the Soviet Union posed a greater threat than the Germans tried in Nuremberg. Years later, on October 9th, 1950, former officers of the German military gathered in Himmerod Abbey. Together they wrote the Himmerod Memorandum, which laid the foundation of the German rearmament and called for the release of German soldiers (Wehrmacht) and Schutzstaffel members convicted of war crimes. The Allies, desperate for another line of defense in Europe, agreed to release Wehrmacht war criminals and ignore their various crimes in the hopes of building an experienced army that could stand against the Soviets. The Allies chose to document and convict the Wehrmacht for their crimes in the Second World War only to release them to gain a new ally in Europe.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Brian Feltman

Department of Primary Presenter's Major

Department of Literature

Symposium Year


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The Myth of the Clean Wehrmacht