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Important Research Achievements
[2018] Former Nazi Officers in the Near East: German Military Advisors in Syria, 1949–56. Former Nazi Officers in the Near East: German Military Advisors in Syria, 1949–56.
  • The International History Review 40/4 (2018): 732-751.

In the early days of the Cold War, Syria was the first Arab country where former army officers of the Nazi Germany played an active role as military advisors. This was due, in part, to the fact that Germany was not burdened by its past political relations to Arab states for, in contrast to the Western powers, Germany had never had territorial ambitions in the Near East. The article highlights the pragmatic nature of Syria’s contracting former German officers to build up the Syrian army after the independence, and it highlights the German officers’ practical issues (finding employment based on a particular expertise) after the end of the war and before the foundation of the German federal armed forces.                                                    

To date, very few thorough studies have been conducted pursuing the connection between German military activities and German–Syrian relations in the context of Cold War military–political conditions. The article conducts this type of study using official government files from German and US archives, providing insight into a previously little known chapter of the military history of the early Federal Republic of Germany.

This article may make a useful contribution to the historiographical debate over the influence of Germany, and of Nazi ideology, in the period after World War II.

 



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