The Museum’s programs and resources for military personnel encourage reflection and discussion on leadership, decision making, and genocide prevention. Through examination of the Holocaust and in particular the German military, military members gain fresh insight into their own professional and individual responsibilities and explore ways in which they can work to prevent mass atrocities today.
- Critical factors that influence ethical decision making in complex environments
- The changing context for social and cultural military operations
- The dynamics of genocide and mass atrocities
About the Programs
More than 42,000 individuals have participated in our programs for military professionals. We’ve worked with the US Naval Academy, the US Military Academy at West Point, the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Judge Advocate General Legal Center and School, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, and many other military training institutions.
Our current programing is geared toward instructors who want to incorporate materials about the Holocaust and genocide prevention into their courses. If you’re an instructor of military professionals and want to learn more, please contact Amanda Rooney Stierli at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.488.2648.
During World War II, the Germany military—known as the Wehrmacht—helped fulfill Nazism’s racial, political, and territorial ambitions. In all the lands the Germans conquered, but most egregiously in eastern Europe, the Wehrmacht targeted Jews and other supposed racial inferiors, civilian and military alike, for abuse and death.
The policies the Nazis and the military pursued stood in stark contrast to codes of honorable military conduct and international law. A few individuals acted according to those codes and laws, but the vast majority of German soldiers, and especially senior officers, cooperated with the Nazis—even to the point of committing genocide.
Download our case study, Ordinary Soldiers: A Study in Ethics, Law, and Leadership (PDF), which focuses on leadership and decision making on the Eastern Front and includes lesson plans for thinking about contemporary issues such as law of armed conflict.
Watch a brief film describing the role played by the German army during the Holocaust.
Read about how Nazi perceptions of race influenced war in the east.
Read about how Nazi racial ideology influenced orders issued by the German Armed Forces High Command.
Funding for Civic and Defense Initiatives programs is provided by the May Family Endowment for Civic Responsibility.