A Peculiar Crusade: Willis M. Everett and the Malmedy by James J. Weingartner

By James J. Weingartner

In the wake of worldwide battle II, seventy four contributors of the Nazi SS have been accused of a warfare crime--soon to be often called the Malmedy Massacre--in which a great number of American prisoners of warfare have been murdered in the course of the conflict of the Bulge. the entire German defendants have been discovered accountable and greater than part have been sentenced to death.

Yet none was once done and, a decade later, all were published from felony. This final result resulted basically from the dogged efforts of Willis M. Everett, Jr., a admired Atlanta legal professional who jeopardized his prestige as a member of the social elite to protect with nice zeal and dedication the accused Germans.

James Weingartner deals clean insights into probably the most arguable episodes of worldwide struggle II and within the method casts new gentle at the frequently convoluted politics of warfare crimes justice.

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Particulars were to be gotten from Colonel Claude B. Mickelwaite, in command of the War Crimes Branch, which was headquartered in the former Deutsche Bank building in Wiesbaden, the ancient watering resort about twenty-five miles west of Frankfurt. The drive took about an hour, and Everett was flattered to learn from Mickelwaite that he might be named law member (that officer on a military court with formal legal training) or trial judge advocate (prosecutor) in an important case. “Well, I know very little about the exact work now,” he wrote Mary, “but I can work hard and I’ll do my best,” this in spite of some disappointment at not having been given the kind of responsibility for which his studies at Columbia had prepared him.

But he found the farm fields through which the once again mobile bus passed on its route eastward “very, very beautiful. . Hills steeper than ours on the farm were rounded off. . ”12 Paris had survived the war largely unscathed, and Everett marveled at the beauty of the architecture and the general cleanliness of the city but was horrified by the profusion of streetwalkers. “McComas said he took a walk and he had so many propositions he didn’t know what to do. ). . ” His expressions of outrage were probably intended to reassure the ever suspicious Mary and were accompanied by undoubtedly sincere expressions of enthusiasm at the prospect of his wife’s soon being able to share the surviving fascinations of Europe with him.

Everett disliked the experience. Ellis’s conduct, he thought, was “intolerable” (“as I had expected from his chin”), while the process of requisitioning accommodations (two houses for each) clearly troubled him. German families were forced to vacate their homes and allowed to take with them only personal clothing, while leaving all else behind. 27 Everett was scrambling to organize some semblance of a defense for men for whom, initially, he had little sympathy. He was acquainted with an Atlanta attorney who had been involved with war crimes trials in Japan, and he asked Mary to seek his advice (nothing seems to have come of this), while the War Crimes Branch promised much but delivered little—no telephones by April 16, and he and his growing staff of defense attorneys were “sweating blood” with the opening of the trial a month away.

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