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Heer - Chapter 17

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The "Unblemished" Wehrmacht

The Social History of a Myth

The debate over the postwar perception of the German Wehrmacht's role in the Third Reich and especially in the war of extermination presently faces two problems. First of all, there is a fundamental objection to the notion that there is such a thing as a myth of the "unblemished" Wehrmacht. Proponents of that argument can point to scholarly works that have been appearing since the beginning of the 1980s. Studies by Manfred Messerschmidt, Klaus-Dieter Müller, Christian Streit, and the relevant publications of the Office for the Study of Military History (Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt) have deprived the alleged myth of any support in current scholarship. And yet that knowledge has merely the effect of postdating the problem considered in these pages. The fact that such myth-building clearly went on for at least thirty years remains to be explained; and there is still the question of what prevented both historians and the public from accepting the documentation that had been so meticulously assembled at the time of the Nuremberg trials.

The "Unblemished" WehrmachtThe Social History of a MythKlaus NaumannThe debate over the postwar perception of the German Wehrmacht's role in the Third Reich and especially in the war of extermination presently faces two problems. First of all, the
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