Academic journal article Military Review

The True German: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge

Academic journal article Military Review

The True German: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge

Article excerpt

THE TRUE GERMAN: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge

Werner Otto Muller-Hill, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2013, 240 pages

This is an odd book. It purports to be the contemporary diary of a Wehrmacht military judge, Major Werner Otto Muller-Hill from 1944-45.

Anyone expecting to learn more about the Wehrmacht judiciary or military justice system will be disappointed, as there is nothing of substance about those institutions at all. Instead, almost every page is taken up with a series of never-ending, withering, and contemptuous comments directed at Adolf Hitler, Josef Goebbels, the Wehrmacht high command, Major Muller Hill's superior officers, and fellow judges. The comments are uniformly strident. For example, "It's not possible for us small-time soldiers to do more--for instance, by removing this unfortunate regime" Even more inflammatory: "The man responsible for all the mistakes, Hitler himself ... should have been eliminated by his generals"

Keeping a diary written in this form or making any of the statements that Major Muller-Hill claims he made at the time, would be Landesverrat (treason) and Wehrkraftzersetzung (undermining the war effort), both punishable by death--particularly as Germany rapidly deteriorated and defeat was all but certain. What motive, then, would the author have had to keep a running tally of self-incriminatory evidence, whose only use would be to hang the scribe? The short answer is that he would not have done so. The author was evidentially intelligent and critical, not a suicidal social renegade.

Major Muller-Hill spent most of the war in Strasbourg with Division z. …

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