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.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!