The Department of Defense and two other official military social media pages posted a picture of a Nazi as part of a series commemorating World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, generating angry reactions from Facebook users. The photo, apparently of SS officer and war criminal Joachim Peiper, was posted on the official Facebook pages of the Department of Defense, the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, and the XVIII Airborne Corps. “Really? You had to post a picture of a Nazi SS officer to commemorate the battle of the bulge? I guess that would represent the views of our current administration,” one user wrote. “Please take down this image of a Nazi war criminal. You’re helping the enemies—foreign and domestic—of the US by posting it,” another comment on the post read.
The post on the XVIII Airborne Corps’ page provided a first-person narrative to accompany the picture of Peiper, describing his role at the beginning of the battle. However, the page’s moderators had to defend their choice in the comments. “Sometimes in movies, the movie will create a sense of tension by introducing a bad guy. It is technique of effective storytelling,” they wrote, adding that they were “chronologically” going through the events of the battle in their series. “The fighting started with a German attack. There is no way to get into the story without describing the German side,” they wrote. The Dept. of Defense and the 10th Mountain Division later removed the post from their pages. The XVIII Airborne Corps appeared to remove Peiper’s picture from the post.