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Book by APSU prof deals with military justice, sex offenders in Hitler's army

A faculty member in Austin Peay State Universitys Department of History and Philosophy is the author of a new book that is being called groundbreaking work by the publisher, University of Nebraska Press.

Written by Dr. David Raub Snyder, assistant professor of history, the book, Sex Crimes Under the Wehrmacht, looks at the German armys prosecution and punishment of sex offenders during World War II.
A faculty member in Austin Peay State University's Department of History and Philosophy is the author of a new book that is being called “groundbreaking work” by the publisher, University of Nebraska Press.

Written by Dr. David Raub Snyder, assistant professor of history, the book, “Sex Crimes Under the Wehrmacht,” looks at the German army's prosecution and punishment of sex offenders during World War II.

Supported by his research in Germany and detailed accounts largely unavailable in English until now, Snyder offers new perspectives on justice under the Wehrmacht and the situations of homosexuals, women and children during wartime.

Promotional materials for the book, slated to be released in July 2007, say it “restores balance to the literature regarding the military administration of justice under Hitler and to the historiography of sexuality and the Third Reich. Although scholars have devoted considerable attention to military offenses, the literature is largely silent about crimes punishable under the civilian law.”

Snyder demonstrates how military expedience and military justice became entangled and conflicted during World War II. He says, “In many cases, the Wehrmacht's response to rape, sexual assault, homosexual ‘offenses,' child molestation, incest, ‘racial defilement' and bestiality often depended on the willingness of the offender to continue to bear arms for his country.”

Snyder also analyzes the Wehrmacht's penal and parole systemthe first treatment of this important topic in the English language. Snyder says, “The Wehrmacht's system functioned as a filtering mechanism that re-channeled willing soldiers back to the front while simultaneously channeling ‘incorrigible' soldiers to concentration camps for destruction.”

Snyder, who joined the APSU faculty in 2003, earned a doctorate in modern European history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His bachelor's and master's degrees are from Indiana University. Between 1998-2003, he was selected for six fellowships, including the 2003 Summer Seminar on Military History at the U.S. Military Academy and the 2001 Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University.

For more information, contact Snyder by telephone at (931) 221-7923 or by e-mail at snyderdr@apsu.edu. -- Dennie B. Burke