ix, 451 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Modern war studies.
Formatted Contents Note
On the Italian stage : Albert Kesselring Allied politics of memory : the war crimes trials In search of a new British politics of memory The politicization of the war crimes issue Kesselring's release Conclusion : Kesselring's trial and release in the context of the rearmament debate.
In 1947 German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring was tried and convicted of war crimes committed during World War II. He was held responsible for his troops having executed nearly 9,000 Italian citizens-- women, children, elderly men-- in retaliation for partisan attacks. His conviction, however, created a real dilemma for the United States and western Europe. While some sought the harshest punishments available for anyone who had participated in the war crimes of the Nazi regime, others believed that the repatriation of alleged war criminals would help secure the allegiance of a rearmed West Germany in the dangerous new Cold War against the Soviet Union. This close analysis of the Kesselring case reveals for the first time how a network of veterans, lawyers, and German sympathizers in Britain and America achieved the commutation of Kesselring's death sentence and his eventual release-- reinforcing German popular conceptions that he had been innocent all along and that the Wehrmacht had fought a "clean war" in Italy. But the author shows that Kesselring bore much greater guilt for civilian deaths than had been proven in court-- and that the war on the Southern Front had been far from clean. In this narrative, she shows how international politics shaped the trial's proceedings and outcome-- as well as the memory and meaning of the war for German citizens-- and sheds new light on the complex interplay between the combatants' efforts to "master the past" and the threatening state of international relations in the early Cold War. In analyzing the efforts to clear Kesselring's name, von Lingen shows that the case was about much more than the fate of one convicted individual; it also underscored the pressure to wrap up the war crimes issue-- and German guilt-- in order to get on with the business of bringing a rearmed Germany into the Western alliance. It sheds new light on the "politics of memory" by unraveling a twisted thread in postwar history as it shows how historical truth is sometimes sacrificed on the altar of expediency.
"Originally published in German by Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh GmbH, 2004"--Title page verso.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 419-439) and index.