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My 39 cents.

Both Condoleezza Rice and Don Rumsfeld have recently claimed that we faced the same kind of resistance in post-war Germany that we are experiencing in Iraq. Rice asserts, "SS officers, called 'werewolves,' engaged in sabotage and attacked coalition forces"--note to Ms. Rice, the word was "Allied," not "coalition," back then--"and Germans who were cooperating with them, much like today's Baathists and Fedayeen."

Rumsfeld apparently relying on a similar briefing paper, says that postwar Nazis "plotted sabotage of factories, power plants, rail lines. They blew up police stations and government buildings."

Rice says this problem was at its height in 1945-1947. I was in the Army in 1945, but in January 1946, I arrived in New York to enter Columbia and quickly became a newspaper junkie. That meant I read The New York Times, PM, the New York Herald-Tribune, and the New York Post with some care, and quickly scanned the Sun, the World-Telegram, the Journal-American, the Daily News, and the Daily Mirror--total cost was 39 cents a day. You could say that I was reasonably well informed, and I don't recall any but the most isolated incidents of sabotage by any Nazi. PM and the Post, both liberal and anti-Nazi, would have been zealous in reporting such incidents. But if you doubt my memory, see Daniel Benjamin's recent article in Slate that demolishes the Rice-Rumsfeld diesis.

What we know now is that most of the Nazis went into hiding or took care to conceal or minimize their past sins. Travel to Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay was popular. Those who had experience in rocketry or Soviet intelligence found jobs with us. Violent resistance was never a significant factor in American occupied Germany. Rice and Rumsfeld are lying--again.
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Title Annotation:Tilting at Windmills
Author:Peters, Charles
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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