A Peculiar Crusade: Willis M. Everett and the Malmedy Massacre

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9780814793664: A Peculiar Crusade: Willis M. Everett and the Malmedy Massacre

In the wake of World War II, 74 members of the Nazi SS were accused of a war crime--soon to be known as the Malmedy Massacre--in which a large number of American prisoners of war were murdered during the Battle of the Bulge. All of the German defendants were found guilty and more than half were sentenced to death.

Yet none was executed and, a decade later, all had been released from prison. This outcome resulted primarily from the dogged efforts of Willis M. Everett, Jr., a prominent Atlanta attorney who jeopardized his status as a member of the social elite to defend with great zeal and commitment the accused Germans.

James Weingartner offers fresh insights into one of the most controversial episodes of World War II and in the process casts new light on the often convoluted politics of war crimes justice.

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About the Author:

James Weingartner is Professor of History at Southern Illinois University and author of Crossroads of Death and Hitler's Guard.

Review:

"A Peculiar Crusade is good history, well written by a pro. It is based on long and hard research in the best primary documents, backed up by oral interviews. It addresses the virulent racism of Hitler's Germany and the ingrained racial prejudices and anti-Semitism of the American South squarely and without emotion or bias. I enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot."

-Tom Collier,University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

"Raises a number of compelling issues and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the difficulties of war crimes trials, the problems of dealing with the legacy of Nazism, and the vagaries of politics during the emerging Cold War and Civil Rights era. The book stands as a wonderful example of the complexities of life, the tension of competing motivations, and the law of unintended consequences."

-Stephen G. Fritz,author of Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II

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