Germany’s defence minister has called for the names of Nazi-era figures to be removed from military barracks.
“The armed forces have to make it clear, both internally and to the outside world, that they are not a continuation of the Nazi Wehrmacht,” Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday.
Seems reasonable enough. But then:
The Marseille air force barracks in Appen is named after Capt Hans-Joachim Marseille, the “Star of Africa”, a fighter pilot who took part in the Battle of Britain and North Africa campaign, and shot down 158 Allied aircraft, more than any other Luftwaffe ace.
The Lent army barracks in Rotenburg is named after Col Helmut Lent, a “night-fighter” pilot who shot down 110 Allied aircaft, 102 of them at night.
The Schulz-Lutz army barracks in Munster is named after Maj-Gen Adelbert Schulz, commander of the 7th Panzer Division, who served in the invasion of Belgium and died on the eastern front.
Umm, actually, no. The cause was bad enough, yes, but then armies don’t get to decide the cause, do they? I’d be worried if they were still calling something Goebbels or Goering, sure, but brave men who fought as they were told?
Recast this to us. The various North West Frontier wars were obviously, clearly, a hateful abomination of colonialism in modern parlance. Brave men would have been those who fought against that extension of the British hegemony.
But Piper Findlater still keeps his VC, right?