Beginning of the End: The Leadership of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Jochen Peiper
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Jochen Peiper was one of Germanys most colorful military leaders of World War II with an audacious reputation. The name Peiper will always be linked to the Malmedy Massacre, the death of Belgian civilians and more than seventy American soldiers, but there is still a myth around Peiper. Why was a twenty-nine year old Waffen-SS officer chosen to lead the German spearhead unit during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 Peiper was a special leader within the one of the most elite Waffen-SS divisions, the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler. Peiper was charismatic and extreme loyal to his unit. His men trusted him as a leader, even under the most extreme conditions. In Germany he was a well-known war hero. It was a logical decision that Peiper became the commander of the spearhead unit, but there were other factors leading to this decision tactical considerations, a we-know-what-to-expect-principle, and Peiper was lucky that he was still alive and serving in the Waffen-SS.
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