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On the night of 14 July, 1976 - Bastille Day - an elderly German was brutally murdered in a little French village where he had taken refuge from the evil shadow which had dogged him for the past thirty-two years. His killers were never brought to justice; indeed, no real attempt was ever made to track them down, the affair being politically embarrassing to both the French and the German governments. The murdered man was Jochen Peiper, once the dashing leader of one of the most renowned units in the German Army. The shadow which hung over him was his alleged complicity in the murder of over seventy unarmed American soldiers during the Ardennes offensive in the winter of 1944/45. It is certain that Peiper was not at the fateful crossroads near Malmedy at the time the men died, but that is not to say that they were not killed on his orders. Guilty or not, Peiper was tried and imprisoned after the war and on his release might have been said to have paid his debt for his supposed part in what had become known as the Malmedy Massacre. But there were those who thought otherwise.After exhaustive research, this classic work sees Charles Whiting tell the story of this enigmatic man, regarded by some as a brilliant and dashing leader of men, by others as a Nazi war criminal, with the vividness and punch which characterized Peiper's military career.
All the facts may never be uncovered but all that are known are recorded here. What is certain is that Jochen Peiper remains one of the most controversial miltary figures to emerge from the maelstrom of the Second World War.
Born in the Bootham area of York, England, he was a pupil at the prestigious Nunthorpe Grammar School, leaving at the age of 16 to join the British Army by lying about his age. Keen to be in on the wartime action, Whiting was attached to the 52nd Reconnaissance Regiment and by the age of 18 saw duty as a sergeant in France, Holland, Belgium and Germany in the latter stages of World War II. While still a soldier, he observed conflicts between the highest-ranking British and American generals which he would write about extensively in later years. After the war, he stayed on in Germany completing his A-levels via correspondence course and teaching English before being enrolled at Leeds University reading History and German Language. As an undergraduate he was afforded opportunities for study at several European universities and, after gaining his degree, would go on to become an assistant professor of history. Elsewhere, Whiting held a variety of jobs which included working as a translator for a German chemical factory and spells as a publicist, a correspondent for The Times and feature writer for such diverse magazines as International Review of Linguistics, Soldier and Playboy. His first novel was written while still an undergraduate, was published in 1954 and by 1958 had been followed by three wartime thrillers. Between 1960 and 2007 Charles went on to write over 350 titles, including 70 non-fiction titles covering varied topics from the Nazi intelligence service to British Regiments during World War II. Charles Henry Whiting, author and military historian died on July 24 2007, leaving his wife and son.