Heer - Chapter 17
The "Unblemished" Wehrmacht
The Social History of a Myth
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.