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U-BOAT COMMANDER OSKAR KUSCH: ANATOMY OF A NAZI-ERA BETRAYAL AND JUDICIAL MURDER

  • $45.00
  • $40.50
Book Type: C

by Eric C. Rust, 340 pages

This study, the first scholarly work on Oskar Kusch in English, traces his career and
ordeal from his upbringing in Berlin to his tragic death and beyond, including the
fifty-year struggle to rehabilitate his name and restore his honor in a postwar
Germany long loath to confront the darker dimensions of its past.
Summary
To his enlisted men on U-154, Lieutenant Oskar Kusch was the ideal skipper--bright,
experienced, successful, caring, tolerably eccentric--and a popular captain who always
brought his boat home safely when so many others vanished without a trace. To most
of his officers Kusch came across as someone very different--a Nazi-hating intellectual
with an artistic bent given to lengthy criticisms of the regime, its leaders and its
propaganda, a suspected coward and potential traitor unfit for command. Early in
1944, after his second patrol under Kusch, his executive officer, a reservist with a
doctorate in law and member of the Nazi party, denounced him on charges of sedition
and cowardice.
A hastily arranged court-martial cleared Kusch of the cowardice accusation but
sentenced him to death on purely ideological grounds for "undermining the fighting
spirit" of his boat, even though the prosecutor had only recommended a ten-year jail
sentence. Abandoned by all but his closest friends and relatives, coldly sacrificed by
Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, unwilling to plead for mercy, and to the end tormented by
a naval legal bureaucracy acting in collusion with the brown regime, Oskar Kusch was
executed in May 1944.
This study, the first scholarly work on Kusch in English, traces his career and ordeal
from his upbringing in Berlin to his tragic death and beyond, including the fifty-year
struggle to rehabilitate his name and restore his honor in a postwar Germany long
loath to confront the darker dimensions of its past. The passing of the wartime
generation and the emergence of a new school of historians dedicated to critical
research and inspired historiography have finally combined to rectify our picture of
the Kriegsmarine and to appreciate the sacrifice of men like Oskar Kusch.

U-BOAT COMMANDER OSKAR KUSCH: ANATOMY OF A NAZI-ERA BETRAYAL AND JUDICIAL MURDER

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