The US Department of Defence and several US Army units published a picture of a Nazi war criminal on its Facebook page to remember the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
The Department published photos and stories about the battle, which partly took place in the Belgian Ardennes from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945, during the Second World War. However, they went wrong when they published a portrait of a war criminal from Nazi-Germany, according to The Washington Post.
The Facebook post by the XVIII Airborne Corps was supposed to be a tribute to "the greatest battle in American history," according to them. However, the photo is not of an American general, but of Joachim Peiper, an SS commander and war criminal who was responsible for the Malmedy massacre, in which 84 American prisoners of war were murdered after they surrendered, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
The Corps published a colour photograph of Peiper together with an intimate story that he wrote in his diary at the time. The photo was then shared on the Facebook pages of the Ministry of Defence, and another army unit, the so-called 10th Mountain Division.
Several people accused the Department of Defence of "glorifying a Nazi war criminal,” called the post a “‘fanboy’ flavored piece,” and described the photo as “vile and disturbing.”
The post and the photo were deleted after a public affairs officer for the Army criticised them on Twitter.
Maïthé Chini The Brussels Times
I am dumbfounded by the decision to prominently display a Nazi on military social media on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. pic.twitter.com/Do0mB7Guvj— Brian Fickel (@USArmyPAO) December 16, 2019