Veterans Affairs Canada quickly deleted an online video it posted — on Wednesday, to celebrate the 74th anniversary of VE-Day — upon realizing it showed images of the German Wehrmacht, the unified Nazi forces in the Second World War.
On Twitter, the message said: “74 years ago, crowds celebrated Victory in Europe (V-E) Day across the Allied nations. Today, we remember the service and sacrifice of those who fought for peace and freedom during the Second World War.” The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945.
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay appears on screen to present the short video explaining that “more than a million Canadian men and women served in this bitter conflict.”
The sound of MacAulay’s voice describing the war effort is then played over images of the German troops ending on the line: “Lest we forget.”
Walter Dorn, a professor of defence studies at the Canadian Forces College and at the Royal Military College told CBC News it’s unclear if there are any Canadian troops in the footage.
“Some of the images show German uniforms,” Dorn said. “What’s most notable is the eagle just above a Nazi symbol worn just above the right brevet.”
Dorn said that while the depiction of German troops may offend some, he says the video was clearly made in error. He notes that many Germans, who are now our allies, died senselessly as victims of the Nazi regime, as did Allied forces.
“Such a glaring error has to be corrected as soon as possible and so I am glad they took it off,” he said.
A spokesperson from Veterans Affairs said the video, which was posted to the department’s social media platforms, was “unacceptable” and was removed as soon as the mistake was noticed.
“Minister MacAulay has asked his deputy minister to review the approval process to ensure a similar mistake does not happen in the future,” the spokesperson said.