DoD Posts Image Of Nazi War Criminal To Commemorate ‘Battle Of The Bulge'
The U.S. Army and Defense Department Facebook accounts published a post commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge on Tuesday, opting to showcase the photo of a Nazi war criminal responsible for the deaths of American prisoners, according to Military Times.
The decision to use the image of Joachim Peiper — “a Panzer tank commander involved in the deaths of 84 Americans in what is known as the Malmedy massacre” — struck many as disturbing, the publication reported.
Some commenters described the post as “vile” and “disturbing,” while others described the post’s narrative — which featured excerpts from the Nazi commander’s journal — as a “fanboy” account of Peiper’s actions during World War II.
“The mission was called ‘Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein’ (‘Operation Watch on the Rhine’), and Joachim would lead it. The fate of his beloved nation rested on his ability to lead his men through the American lines,” the post read, though it has since been edited, according to the report.
It continued: “This surprise western counteroffensive Peiper was set to launch was the only hope for the survival of Nazi Germany.”
Military Times also noted that the image of Peiper appears to have been colorized by Tobias Kurtz, whose “Deviant Art gallery includes scores of colorized photos of Nazi soldiers during World War II and Nazi propaganda including an image of Adolf Hitler laughing as German soldiers are about to execute a kneeling former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.”
The Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps removed the image from its Facebook post and apologized on Twitter for having used it in the first place: ““We regret the use of the photograph of Joachim Peiper. The intent was to tell the full story of the Battle of the Bulge, which will continue here, by explaining the incredible odds that were stacked up against the American Soldier by the time the reserve was called in on 18 Dec.”