Monday, November 5, 2012

Release the boy... Shoot the father!


The character of the German Colonel in the movie 'Battle of the Bulge'(1965) was first intended to be the real life Panzer officer Joachim Peiper, the youngest man in the Nazi Army to be make the rank of full colonel (SS-Standartenführer, the direct SS equivalent to an Oberst or full colonel in the German army). However, since Peiper, a protégé of 'Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler' , the head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the second most powerful man in Germany after Adolf Hitler, was promoted to the ran at the age of 29. However, as he was still living at the time the film was produced and was still a committed Nazi, his character was quickly changed to a fictitious Regular German Army officer, so as not to give Peiper any connection to the film or risk a libel suit. It was Peiper's unit of the Waffen-SS, Kampfgruppe Peiper of the 1st SS Division, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (German for "Adolf Hitler's Bodyguard Regiment") that was responsible for the Malmedy massacre of American prisoners depicted in the film. After the War, he was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted by the American Occupation Force as the trial had been fraught with illegalities, and he served only 11 years in prison, despite having perpetrated war-crimes on both the Eastern and Western fronts. Peiper was assassinated at his home in France, likely by French communists, in 1976. - IMDB

History:

In mid-1944, it looked as if the war in Europe was coming to an end. Adolf Hitler was on the run; the Allies had triumphantly regained Paris, as well as Casablanca, Naples, and Rome. After five hard years of war, Allied soldiers were breathing easier -- even stopping to enjoy dances and parties.

Hitler, however, had one final card to play. In December 1944, he struck back with a counterattack that has come to be known as the Battle of the Bulge -- the single biggest and bloodiest battle American soldiers have ever fought -- in which nearly 80,000 were killed, maimed or captured in an infernal test of courage and endurance. - PBS

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