16 Aug 2023
Historians at the Movies Podcast
Every now and then we get the chance to talk to a scholar with a little extra knowledge on a particular subject. In this case, Dr. Waitman Beorn drops in to talk about Brad Pitt's tank film, Fury. Waitman knows the film well, especially since he commanded a tank prior to becoming a historian. Listen in now to hear him talk not only about WWII, but his experiences serving in the Tank Corps and how the lessons learned transcended his time there. It's a fun and fascinating talk.
12 May 2022
The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust on the Eastern Front in WW2
Combat Morale Podcast
Dr Waitman Beorn, Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University, talks about the Wehrmacht and motivation to participate in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front in WW2. In the interview, he talks about the extent and nature of Wehrmacht involvement in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front. He points out that while Nazi death squads routinely carried out mass executions on the Eastern Front, many units of the regular German army conducted and participated in such actions. Waitman explains what motivated them to carry out such actions which they frequently did on their own initiative. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served with the US Army as a tank commander in Iraq during 2003-2004. After leaving the Army, he attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, earning his PhD in history in 2011.
10 Sept 2021
10 Facts about the Holocaust everyone should know
Dr Beorn will offer 10 facts about the Holocaust, challenging some commonly believed notions. For example as many as one-third of the victims were killed by a bullet rather than gas and many of the worst perpetrators of the murders were never brought to justice.
29 Dec 2020
Crimes of the Wehrmacht
We Have Ways of Making You Talk
One of the enduring myths arising from the war is that the extreme violence in the east was carried out by the Waffen SS, not the Wehrmacht.
Historian and former US serviceman Waitman Wade Beorn tells Al Murray and James Holland about the atrocities committed by Wehrmacht soldiers on the Eastern Front. Waitman discusses their crimes and what psychological factors create extreme levels of violence.One of the enduring myths arising from the war is that the extreme violence in the east was carried out by the Waffen SS, not the Wehrmacht.
14 Sept 2020
This week I am joined by Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn, Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK. We discuss his career path that bridges the gaps between the public and academic history spheres. Dr. Beorn provides an excellent debunking of the "clean Wehrmacht" myth and goes into detail about his current project, a combination monograph digital history project on the Janowska Concentration Camp, an urban camp located in the city of Lviv. We also discuss how to frame historical questions/projects and the ethical issues that arise when doing digital history projects on topics like the Holocaust.
20 Jan 2018
Holocaust in Eastern Book Interview
New Books in History
Most of the Jews and other victims the Nazis murdered in the Holocaust were from Eastern Europe, and the vast majority of the actual killing was done there. In his new book, The Holocaust in Eastern Europe (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), Waitman Beorn gives us a detailed overview of the Holocaust precisely here, in what he well called "the Epicenter of the Final Solution." Waitman does an excellent job of describing Eastern European Jewry, the crooked path the Nazis took in deciding to attempt to obliterate it, the various ways in which they put that horrible decision into practice, and the ways the Jews resisted.
10 Jan 2014
Marching into Darkness Book Interview
New Books in History
The question of Wehrmacht complicity in the Holocaust is an old one. What might be called the "received view" until recently was that while a small number of German army units took part in anti-Jewish atrocities, the great bulk of the army neither knew about nor participated in the Nazi genocidal program. In other words, the identified cases were isolated exceptions. Who was at fault? Why, the SS of course. This view was spread by German generals in post-war memoirs, by the German government and courts, and by the German press and the public that read it. The "Good Wehrmacht" image was influential: many people--including scholars of the war--in countries that had fought Germany could be found rehearsing it. In his eye-opening book Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus (Harvard UP, 2013), Waitman Beorn challenges the "Good Wehrmacht" image. By focusing on a few units that participated in the invasion and occupation of Belarus in the late summer and fall of 1941, he is able to show without any doubt whatsoever that regular Wehrmacht forces not only participated in executions of Jews and others, but initiated them. The leaders of these units ordered them to aid the Einsatzgruppen in organizing mass murder and to actively hunt down "partisans" who were nothing but innocent Jews. Waitman does an excellent job of not only documenting Wehrmacht complicity, but also of trying to explain it. Listen in.