A fair account of Jochen Peiper and his murder in France in 1976. The subject is a controversial figure because he was tried for war crimes released from prison and then many years later murdered. Highly Recommended.
NAME: SS Peiper, Battle Commander SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler FILE: R2474 AUTHOR: Charles Whiting PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 194 PRICE: £12.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World War 2, Ardennes Offensive, Sepp Dietrich, Waffen SS, elite troops, armour, Panzers, massacres, war crimes
IMAGE: B2474.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/lb8kd24 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: A fair account of Jochen Peiper and his murder in France in 1976. The subject is a controversial figure because he was tried for war crimes released from prison and then many years later murdered. Highly Recommended. Telling the story of Jochen Peiper without concluding for or against him is no small challenge but the late Charles Whiting has faced the challenge, producing an account that neither glorifies, nor sympathises, nor demonizes this SS commander. Jochen Peiper was typical of SS field commanders, tough, cocky, effective, ruthless, and courageous. In many respects, he was therefore similar to special forces and elite unit commanders in many armies. The two critical differences were that he was prepared to ignore established military conventions and to accept very heavy casualties to achieve objectives. As a battle commander of the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, he could be expected to be guided by Nazi beliefs, although the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler was not above expressing its objections to Fuhrer orders by sending the arm of a dead comrade to Hitler. Through his career, Peiper was close to a series of atrocities and probably ordered and or participated in some or all of these crimes. What he was charged with was complicity in the massacre of 70 unarmed US soldiers during the Ardennes offensive in the winter of 1944/45. He was convicted and sentenced for these crimes to imprisonment and served his sentence. By modern criminal trial standards, it is less than certain that he would have been found guilty by a jury. He was not at the scene of the massacre, but he may well have issued the order. His conviction might therefore be deserved if not beyond all reasonable doubt. Today we can look back and judge without full knowledge, or combat experience. At the time, he was regarded as dashing and a brilliant commander by his comrades and the German people. The war crimes trials regarded any in SS uniform as guilty before considering the legal facts. However fair or unfair Peiper's trial and conviction, he served his sentence and could have been regarded as having paid his debt as convicted. The SS Leibstandarte was founded by Sepp Dietrich and under his command during the Ardennes Offensive which was the last throw of the dice on the Western Front. Dietrich, a one time policeman, was a hard drinker who was seen as an obstacle by Himmler. An early Party member, Dietrich had been trusted by Hitler to command the Fuhrer's close protection squad which is where he was seen as an obstacle by Himmler who was ambitious to control and expand the SS at the expense of the SA and the Army. After many attempts to unseat Dietrich, Himmler used one of his legendary drinking bouts to persuade Hitler to dismiss him and send him to the Russian front. Himmler confidently expected Dietrich, who had no military command experience, to either fail miserably or be killed in action. Ironically, Dietrich proved to be an exceptional field commander and not only survived but built a strong reputation for a courageous and effective general. His approach to the task was carried on down through his officers and he was in turn respected by them as a soldier. Peiper could be seen as the sort of dashing and ruthless officer that Dietrich wanted to serve under him. After his release from jail, Peiper eventually ended up living in refuge in a French village. Who murdered him and exactly why was never established. No one was ever brought to trial and it has been said that the French police were less than enthusiastic in investigating a former convicted war criminal. His end was as controversial as his wartime career.