By Major Han Bouwmeester
SS Obersturmbannführer Jochen Peiper was once one in every of Germany 's so much colourful army leaders of global warfare II with an audacious attractiveness. The identify Peiper will continually be associated with the Malmédy bloodbath, the dying of Belgian civilians and greater than seventy American infantrymen, yet there's nonetheless a delusion round Peiper. Why used to be a twenty-nine yr previous Waffen-SS officer selected to guide the German spearhead unit through the conflict of the Bulge in December 1944? Peiper used to be a different chief in the essentially the most elite Waffen-SS divisions, the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler. Peiper was once charismatic and severe dependable to his unit. His males relied on him as a pacesetter, even below the main severe stipulations. In Germany he used to be a widely known conflict hero. It used to be a logical choice that Peiper grew to become the commander of the spearhead unit, yet there have been different elements resulting in this choice: tactical issues, a we-know-what-to-expect-principle, and Peiper was once fortunate that he was once nonetheless alive and serving within the Waffen-SS.
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The SA leadership was killed within three days by Himmler’s SS troops. This “Nacht der langen Messer” (“night of the long knives”) destroyed the SA organization and afterwards the SS became an independent organization within the Nazi Party. Six days later all the officers and men in the German Army were forced to swear a new personal oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler (Williamson 1995, 11; Keegan 1970, 40-51). In March 1935 Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles and announced the expansion of the German Army and the formation of the SS Verfügungstruppen (SS VT or SS special purpose troops) as the core of a full military division.
After release from prison Hitler decided that he needed a paramilitary group to protect him personally. That group should be steadfastly faithful and loyal to him alone; not least to protect him from possible SA intrigues. Therefore Hitler established a personal bodyguard in his hometown München (Munich). Initially this group numbered only ten men with one officer. It was first called “Stoβtruppe Hitler” (Shock Troops Hitler). Again the title derived from divisional assaults groups from World War I.
Beginning Of The End: The Leadership Of SS Obersturmbannführer Jochen Peiper by Major Han Bouwmeester