Essay: The Bitburg Fiasco

When President Reagan and Chancellor Kohl of West Germany first discussed the idea, it seemed like a good one: a V-E day visit by the President to a cemetery in Germany where American and German soldiers lie side by side. It would be a ceremony of friendship and reconciliation.

It has, of course, become a disaster. It turned out that no American dead from World War II are buried in Germany. It would have to be a purely German cemetery. And it turned out that Bitburg, the one suggested by Chancellor Kohl, contained the graves of 47 members of the SS.