A formidable account of Peiper, his career in WWII and his attitudes, from an author who has devoted more than 20 years to researching this SS Panzer commander. This is a warts and all account of a man in an environment that shaped him, Very, very different from the environment that many exist in today – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: Peiper's War, The Wartime Years of SS Leader Jochen Peiper, 1941-44 FILE: R3221 AUTHOR: Danny S Parker PUBLISHER: Frontline Books, Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £35.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Eastern Front, Normandy, Ardennes, panzer force, Waffen SS, war crimes, massacres, brutality, terror, Blitz Krieg ISBN: 1-52674-342-6 PAGES: 620 IMAGE: B3221.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y4o3exx3 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: A formidable account of Peiper, his career in WWII and his attitudes, from an author who has devoted more than 20 years to researching this SS Panzer commander. This is a warts and all account of a man in an environment that shaped him, Very, very different from the environment that many exist in today – Most Highly Recommended
One of the values of history is that it provides the means to avoid repeating mistakes in the future. It is therefore most important that accurate and insightful books are written and published. When Twitter censors reviews of such books, it is akin to the book burning by the Nazis thugs in the 1930s. However uncomfortable, it is essential that as many as possible are able to understand how terrible situations arose in the past.
Jochen Peiper was a young man matured in a war that had been caused by the socialists of the NSDP under the toxic leadership of Adolf Hitler. In his time Peiper was a poster boy for the Nazis. He has been accused of war crimes, and viewed as a monster. His life was ended by assassination after the war, when he was living at peace in France. His war career does require close scrutiny, as does the man himself and his attitudes and beliefs.
In a religion, extremists abuse believers by convincing them that actions otherwise reprehensible to them are fully justified by god(s) and required by their religion. In many respects the Nazi cult was a religion with Adolf Hitler as its Prophet. With great skill he drew out the worst in people and he is not a unique monster, but like many ‘prophets’ who went before him and many politicians today.
In looking back in 1946, Peiper said “During six bloody years I fought and bled in all European Theatres and became a preferred favourite of the God of Hosts! In spite of it all – it was a proud and heroic time. Where we were standing was Germany, and as far as my tank gun reached was my kingdom”. Perhaps one of the most revealing statements by any soldier of WWII.
Peiper joined the SS, which was an elite unit under German arms. It started as a close protection squad to guard Hitler. Its first commander, former policeman Sepp Dietrich, fell out with Himmler and was posted to the Eastern Front in the hope that he would be killed or fail in disgrace. To Himmler’s chagrin he made a great success as a battle commander and led the attack through the Ardennes that nearly reached Antwerp, an attack in which Peiper took part and for which he was accused of atrocities, which would have halted the Allied advance on Germany.
Brutality for Waffen SS officers began in training. A favourite of instructors was to give a cadet a shovel or entrenching tool and give him a few minutes to dig a hole and get into it. When the time was up a tank was driven across the training ground and over the cadet. If he dung the hole deep enough he survived, but not all did. During training, Nazi indoctrination was a part of the program and when a cadet graduated he was already firm in his belief in Hitler and in the doctrine of the Nazi Party. As a soldier he was taught to drive for the objective, whatever the cost to him or his comrades. This made the Waffen SS a feared enemy and fear was a useful tool in the armoury.
What is remarkable about Peiper is that he was not remarkable. He was a product of a training and command system that made him almost a robot. Shooting prisoners was not for him and his comrades a war crime but a natural solution to avoid having to devote guards and rations to keeping them prisoners. In Russia he, and his comrades across the German military, fought what was a holy war, where no holds were barred and both sides behaved with a ruthless disregard of the established rules of war. For the Western Allies this was shocking behaviour when they experienced it.
The author has done a fine and thorough job with two photo-plate sections providing admirable support for the text.