Rearmament without the Myth of the Clean Wehrmacht

Would West Germany have been allowed to rearm without its promotion of the Myth of the Clean Wehrmacht? Would the US allow its erstwhile foe to remilitarize or would it have found its crimes unforgivable? What would be the composition of the defense forces, if any, of West Germany, in terms of previous service in the Wehrmacht and rank attained while in it?
 
Would West Germany have been allowed to rearm without its promotion of the Myth of the Clean Wehrmacht? Would the US allow its erstwhile foe to remilitarize or would it have found its crimes unforgivable? What would be the composition of the defense forces, if any, of West Germany, in terms of previous service in the Wehrmacht and rank attained while in it?
I think this is backwards. The US wanted West Germany to rearm to help face off against the Soviet hordes, so supported the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht.
 
The West German army was required so it would still exist

If no 'myth' existed then I suspect that the training of the new army would place greater emphasis on teaching the rules of war etc than was conducted OTL

Disclaimer I have no idea what level of such training was involved OTL?
 
I think this is backwards. The US wanted West Germany to rearm to help face off against the Soviet hordes, so supported the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht.
yep what El Pip said,

Even if the US/NATO* didn't go along with it intentionally, it was easier to go along with it than the reverse while achieving their goals, especially when it came to the Eastern front they were of course only getting one side of the story!



*wasn't just the US after all, but obviously the myth stuck less well in places who'd had more direct experience with the living reality of the Germany army given free reign.
 
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The more people at the time of the new Bundeswehr's creation were reminded of the German Army's criminal history, the harder it would have been to support it. Blaming everything on Hitler, and the SS came in handy, but it was a lie. The American People had little understanding of the conduct of the German Army, but the people of occupied Europe knew the truth.
 
I'm not sure how much of the myth anyone paid more than lip service to. There is a reason the Bundeswehr was deliberately made as different from the Wehrmacht as possible. West Germany would have been rearmed with or without the myth as Nato needed the troops to bluff counter the Warsaw Pact.
 
It's difficult to overstate how weak the rest of Western Europe was militarily at the end of the war. They were in no position to justify keeping a society they knew to be motivated to and capable of pulling their weight from pulling their weight.
 
I'm not sure how much of the myth anyone paid more than lip service to. There is a reason the Bundeswehr was deliberately made as different from the Wehrmacht as possible. West Germany would have been rearmed with or without the myth as Nato needed the troops to bluff counter the Warsaw Pact.
How come the East Germans adopted Wehrmacht uniform style? One of the ironies is many of the imperial era nobility found refuge in the east. Some served as leaders of the puppet parties in the national front.
 
How come the East Germans adopted Wehrmacht uniform style? One of the ironies is many of the imperial era nobility found refuge in the east. Some served as leaders of the puppet parties in the national front.
I think they were trying to stress that the Democratic Republic of Germany was the true Germany not the capitalist running dogs of the so called Federal Republic of Germany.
 

CalBear

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Once the process of De-Nazifcation was completed the West, especially the former Western Allies, had plenty of motivation to get a West German Army back up and running. Just from the perspective of economics, having a few hundred thousand German troops ready to oppose an Pact Offensive is almost irresistibly attractive, doubly so once the "UN" is engaged in Korea. There is also a really cynical reality that making sure that a lot of potential Pact bullets were NOT hitting the loved ones of the folks who vote in French, British and U.S. elections had obvious benefits.

The other factor is that having a functional Germany was critical to the post-war recovery in Western Europe (which is, again, a major budget issue, especially for the United States). That means Germany has to become a partner and not an occupation zone.
 
I think they were trying to stress that the Democratic Republic of Germany was the true Germany not the capitalist running dogs of the so called Federal Republic of Germany.
You could have a good point there. E Germany was formed from mostly what was left of the territory of the authoritarian Prussian State. That was the part of Germany that set them on the anti democratic course they took in the 20th Century. Not to give them all of the blame, after all Hitler was an Austrian, and the Nazis movement was always strongest in Bavaria, and Southern Germany. Cosmopolitan Berlin was never a Nazi stronghold.

However the Soviet State hardly had high moral standards ether. The uniforms were still very intimidating. I heard an American on the radio once, who said he froze when he flew into Germany, and a customs inspector said to him, "Papers please!" Much of the secret police rank & file ended up continuing their operations, under new management. Gestapo Inc. now known as the Stasi non profit Corp. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. It wasn't just rocket scientists, and engineers that were valuable specialists, guys who rip peoples teeth out with pliers have their uses to. Bad people do bad things, under any flag.

Oh by the way that Running Dog stuff was a North Korean thing. I don't think the E Germans ever used that particular idiom. "Capitalist Swine" maybe. Swine is the German insult of choice, dogs are more looked down on in Asia. Remember your WWII movies, Schweinhund!
 
Once the process of De-Nazifcation was completed the West, especially the former Western Allies, had plenty of motivation to get a West German Army back up and running. Just from the perspective of economics, having a few hundred thousand German troops ready to oppose an Pact Offensive is almost irresistibly attractive, doubly so once the "UN" is engaged in Korea. There is also a really cynical reality that making sure that a lot of potential Pact bullets were NOT hitting the loved ones of the folks who vote in French, British and U.S. elections had obvious benefits.

The other factor is that having a functional Germany was critical to the post-war recovery in Western Europe (which is, again, a major budget issue, especially for the United States). That means Germany has to become a partner and not an occupation zone.
In your opinion was denazification a success?
 
It's difficult to overstate how weak the rest of Western Europe was militarily at the end of the war. They were in no position to justify keeping a society they knew to be motivated to and capable of pulling their weight from pulling their weight.
I think in 1949 NATO had 9 divisions in Western Europe. 3 American, 3 British, and 3 French, and some smaller contingents from other Western countries. The Greeks, and Turks had fairly large armies, but needed a lot of training, and equipment for large scale conventional warfare. Your right, when Eisenhower took over at the new SHAPE the line was pretty thin.
 
Agreed with the other points others have made re needing to be able to justify rearmament @Quintuplicate , thought I'd also point out: there was no whitewashing of Japanese war crimes, everyone knew all about those (and watching or reading pretty much any war story set in the Far East from the 50s onwards, they made damn sure to remind you), but the Japan Self-Defence Forces were being organised and established around the same time as the Bundeswehr. So I really don't think the lack of a Clean Wehrmacht myth would have stopped the Allies from rearming Germany. Public reception of rearmament, I agree it could have effected...though OTOH, even OTL popular pacifism has kept the military pretty unpopular.
 

CalBear

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In your opinion was denazification a success?
Very much so. Did it convert every Nazi to a good Liberal Democrat? Nope. That, however, was never the real goal. The goal was to purge the lunacy that had overcome the greater German population and force the country as a whole to understand what the Hell had happened. In that it succeeded beyond expectations.
 
Agreed with the other points others have made re needing to be able to justify rearmament @Quintuplicate , thought I'd also point out: there was no whitewashing of Japanese war crimes, everyone knew all about those (and watching or reading pretty much any war story set in the Far East from the 50s onwards, they made damn sure to remind you), but the Japan Self-Defence Forces were being organised and established around the same time as the Bundeswehr. So I really don't think the lack of a Clean Wehrmacht myth would have stopped the Allies from rearming Germany. Public reception of rearmament, I agree it could have effected...though OTOH, even OTL popular pacifism has kept the military pretty unpopular.
I'm sure the Chinese and Korean governments would disagree.
 
Very much so. Did it convert every Nazi to a good Liberal Democrat? Nope. That, however, was never the real goal. The goal was to purge the lunacy that had overcome the greater German population and force the country as a whole to understand what the Hell had happened. In that it succeeded beyond expectations.
I think that success mostly lies with later German generations, more then it does with Allied governments.
 
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