House of History: the Podcast

When the Wehrmacht and U.S. Army Teamed up Against the Waffen-SS: Battle of Castle Itter

February 8, 2021

The last days of the Second World War were incredibly chaotic. To nearly every German soldier it became clear the war had been lost, both in the Wehrmacht and even among some ideological diehard Waffen-SS. Europe was filled with large groups of refugees, displaced persons and bands of soldiers that either were looking for another front to fight at or tried to reach the western allied powers before the Soviets caught them. A very curious event happened during this chaotic time: in Tyrol, Austria, a centuries-old castle housed prominent French political prisoners. When a fanatical SS division attempted to take the castle, a German Wehrmacht unit ended up fighting side-by-side with a United States army unit to defend these prisoners. It was the only time during the entire war that the Germans and Americans fought side-by-side, and it is often described as the ‘strangest battle of the entire war.'

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