Date

2020

Major

History (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Brian Feltman

Abstract

On October 1st, 1946, the Nuremberg high command 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 at 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 (SS) members convicted of war crimes. The Allies, desperate for another line of defense in Europe, agreed to release Wehrmacht war criminals and portray them as members of a “Clean” Wehrmacht in the hopes of building an experienced, legitimate army that could stand against potential Soviet invasion.

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