Germany to pardon last troops Hitler executed

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Germany is poised to pardon the very last soldiers who were executed during the Second World War for betraying the Nazi regime.

But the move, which follows a decades-long national debate, has revived bitter differences of opinion over what remains an acutely sensitive subject.

The handful of men were among 30,000 German soldiers who were sentenced to death during the war for a variety of "crimes" from desertion to espionage.

Of those, 16,000 were hanged, shot, garrotted or guillotined by a regime determined to crush the merest hint of insurrection in the ranks.

While the vast majority, including deserters, were pardoned under a 2002 law, a few dozen remain with their posthumous reputations tarred.

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