Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

Hitler’s Wehrmacht
Stages of the debate about a myth

Wolfram Wette

Deutsche Fassung


Up until 1995, that is to say for over 50 years, Germans (at least those of them who lived in the FRG) had a largely positive image of the role of the Wehrmacht during Nazism and World War II. The general view was that the SS had been responsible for the genocide perpetrated against the Jews and for other crimes, while the Wehrmacht (the regular army) had remained “clean”. This article asks how this myth was able to establish itself as fact, and gives an account of the efforts that were needed on the part of critical researchers and in public debates before, in the past decade, a more realistic way of looking at the question was able to emerge. It is now widely accepted that the war fought by the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union was a war of extermination, waged in contravention of international law.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 127–134)