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The Secret Ex-Nazi Army That Guarded West Germany
War is Boring ^ | 05/29/2014 | Michael Peck

Posted on 05/29/2014 7:57:34 PM PDT by Lowell1775

If the Soviets had invaded West Germany in the early days of the Cold War, they would have found more than a hodgepodge of NATO troops waiting for them.

They would also have confronted a secret army of Hitler’s former soldiers, waiting to settle scores with the Communists. Considering the brutal, take-no-prisoners warfare on the Eastern Front in World War II, former German SS troopers fighting vengeful Red Army troops—again—would have been the height of savagery.

The German magazine Der Spiegel discovered a file buried for years in the archives of the BND, Germany’s spy agency. The documents reveal that in 1949, some 2,000 former officers of the SS and the Wehrmacht—the regular German military under the Third Reich—formed a secret paramilitary army that might have numbered as many as 40,000 fighters in the event of war.

The Allied occupation forces didn’t know about it. If they did, they would have discovered the involvement of several former Nazi generals who would later become senior commanders in the Bundeswehr, West Germany’s army.

The underground army was apparently supported by former Third Reich generals such as Hans Speidel, who became chief of NATO ground forces in Central Europe in 1957, and Adolf Heusinger, the first inspector general of the Bundeswehr.

Thus after losing millions of men to defeat Hitler, the Western Allies might have had to deal with an army of German war veterans backed by former Nazi senior officers who were rising stars in the West German military. Anti-communist or not, the existence of such an organization surely wouldn’t have reassured the survivors of Coventry and Oradour-Sur-Glane. Goebbels decorating teenage German soldier. German Federal Archives photo via Wikipedia.

The secret army was the brainchild of Albert Schnez, a former Wehrmacht colonel who later became an official in the Bundeswehr. Along with other German war veterans just after the war, he worried what would happen if the Soviets invaded. West Germany had no army until 1955, and America demobilized much its own military in 1945, leaving Western Europe vulnerable to Soviet conquest.

Schnez wanted ready-made battle staffs, composed of combat-experienced officers, who would form the nucleus of combat divisions. He was convinced that if the Soviets attacked, legions of German war veterans—and there were no shortage of those after World War II—would have flocked to the colors.

They planned to wage war against the Soviets as guerrillas, perhaps operating from Spain or Switzerland.

The West German parliament also didn’t know about this secret army, but the German security service had its leader on its payroll. In 1951, Schnez approached the Gehlen Organization, as German intelligence was known at the time, to offer the services of his organization.

The timing was impeccable. The Korean War was raging, and U.S. and European leaders worried that the conflict was a Soviet diversion to draw off U.S. forces while the Soviets invaded Western Europe.

In a disturbing reminder of where the members of the secret army learned their trade, they spied on leftist West German politicians. Had West Germany gone to war with the Soviets, one wonders what would have happened to anybody the secret army deemed insufficiently anti-communist.

But how would this army have fared against a Soviet invasion? Probably not well. The massive Soviet tank armies sweeping west to the Ruhr—or the English Channel—might just possibly have been contained by threadbare NATO forces, or more likely the threat of American nukes.

Tens of thousands of aging, poorly armed SS veterans might have been a nuisance to Soviet supply lines, but no more. Considering Soviet memories of German atrocities, one suspects that an insurgency led by ex-Nazis would have been dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.

It’s also remembering that Hitler had the same idea. With Allied and Soviet armies remorselessly closing in on Germany from west and east in 1944 and ’45, Hitler had an inspiration. The German people would rise up as guerrillas against the occupiers as they advanced into German territory.

The “Werewolves” were supposed to strike terror in the hearts of Germany’s enemies. Indeed, the Allies feared a Nazi guerrilla war. Instead, the Werewolves merely proved that after six years of war, the German people were tired, hungry and bombed out.

They just wanted the war to end, even in defeat.

Perhaps the secret army would have discovered that the German people preferred being Red to being dead.


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: coldwar; germany; nazis
"Tens of thousands of aging, poorly armed SS veterans might have been a nuisance to Soviet supply lines, but no more. Considering Soviet memories of German atrocities, one suspects that an insurgency led by ex-Nazis would have been dealt with swiftly and mercilessly."

A chapter of history I didn't know about.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-secret-ex-nazi-army-that-guarded-west-germany-b10fe8d53ee4

Unlike the young author who wrote this, I personally think the old dogs would have done pretty well. No substitute for experience.

It was not a neo-SS movement, but rather an ex-Wehrmacht in origination.

1 posted on 05/29/2014 7:57:35 PM PDT by Lowell1775
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To: Lowell1775

I remember General Heinrici said that it took a year of combat to produce a really useful soldier. I would guess those older Germans would mostly have had that much combat.

The reason Heinrici said that was because he was in command of the defense of Berlin. When he was trying to put together an Army several of the German generals said they had large numbers of highly trained elite soldiers still in Berlin. Despite that, they had never been in combat. Heinrici said they would be almost useless to him.


2 posted on 05/29/2014 8:05:17 PM PDT by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: Lowell1775

A negative article, if we had to fight the Russians, I wanted every body on my side that I could get.


3 posted on 05/29/2014 8:12:47 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: Lowell1775

“the Werewolves merely proved that after six years of war, the German people were tired”

Incorrect.
The vast majority of those that would have been “Werewolves”, the younger members of the Hitler Youth, had already been conscripted into the Army, SS Units, and the Volkstrum in the weeks of the war.

And slaughtered...


4 posted on 05/29/2014 8:16:47 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: Lowell1775
If you do some research, more than a few EAST Germans were Former Nazi's Too.

Shoot the Stasi had it's start with many former Nazi Generals

Former Wehrmacht soldiers in the NVA- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_People%27s_Army

5 posted on 05/29/2014 8:17:58 PM PDT by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.- Sarah Palin)
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To: tcrlaf

oops..

Meant, “..last weeks of the War.”


6 posted on 05/29/2014 8:18:16 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: Lowell1775

“Tens of thousands of aging, poorly armed SS veterans might have been a nuisance to Soviet supply lines,”

The author makes lots of assumptions.
In fact, older vets are very likely to answer the call, if the cause is just.


7 posted on 05/29/2014 8:20:15 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: ansel12

Yes sir. Old enemies often make the suitable allies as the French did for us in the Revolution.

The Soviets were Churchill’s nemesis until Hitler invaded Mother Rus in 1941. Then he said had Hitler invaded Hell, he would at least speak favorably of the Devil in the House of Commons.


8 posted on 05/29/2014 8:20:22 PM PDT by Lowell1775
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To: Lowell1775

Aging yes, but old? Less than 10 years after the war? My guess is most of these guys were still under 40, being that by the end of the war they were using teenagers for troops.


9 posted on 05/29/2014 8:20:38 PM PDT by Free Vulcan (Vote Republican! You can vote Democrat when you're dead...)
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To: yarddog

“General Heinrici said that it took a year of combat to produce a really useful soldier.”

Yup. If you live through a year of modern combat....you are either very good or very lucky. Both traits equally valuable and to be sought out in your foxhole mate.


10 posted on 05/29/2014 8:23:00 PM PDT by Lowell1775
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To: Lowell1775

The Germans were superior soldiers to not only the Russians, but they out killed Brits and Americans at a high rate also.

The more German soldiers fighting the Russians the better, anyone who would have turned down WWII German soldiers to use against their hated enemy the Russians, on their own soil, would have been nuts.


11 posted on 05/29/2014 8:26:29 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: ansel12

Before Patton was killed/died he wanted to re-arm the Germans and send them to fight the Russians.


12 posted on 05/29/2014 8:28:18 PM PDT by miliantnutcase
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To: Lowell1775
"The Allied occupation forces didn’t know about it."

Sure they did. Don't kid yourselves.

13 posted on 05/29/2014 8:43:29 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2Million USD for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Lowell1775
Tens of thousands of aging, poorly armed SS veterans might have been a nuisance to Soviet supply lines, but no more.

I take exception to the word "aging" in the above quote, but the rest of it is correct. Say what you want about how elite the German Army was (true enough), but the Soviets kicked the crap out of them from 1943 onwards.

IMHO, the Red Army of 1945 is underestimated by most people in the West.

14 posted on 05/29/2014 8:50:11 PM PDT by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: Lowell1775
an insurgency led by ex-Nazis would have been dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.

As if the Soviet response to an insurgency led by anyone else would be any different.

15 posted on 05/29/2014 10:01:05 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Leaning Right
Say what you want about how elite the German Army was (true enough), but the Soviets kicked the crap out of them from 1943 onwards.

Yep but that doesn't stop people from romanticizing the German army during that same period. Fake Nazi memorabilia fetches higher prices on Ebay that equivalent genuine WWII Red Army memorabilia.

IMHO, the Red Army of 1945 is underestimated by most people in the West.

True but the Red navy and air force were lacking. Should an east-west conflict have occurred in say 1946, what was to prevent a few U.S. carrier task forces from quickly ruling the Black Sea? The Soviets had nothing to prevent Rumanian and Caspian oil production from coming under strategic bombardment. All those lend lease trucks would be of little use without fuel.

16 posted on 05/29/2014 11:15:55 PM PDT by fso301
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To: miliantnutcase

Gen. Patton died for his loud mouth speaches. He would have made a good Governor of captured Germany.


17 posted on 05/30/2014 2:56:51 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: KC_Lion

We hired wehrmacht POWs after ww2 to fight the commie bastards in northern italy.


18 posted on 05/30/2014 3:06:07 AM PDT by bravo whiskey (We should not fear our government. Our government should fear us.)
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To: Lowell1775
Perhaps the secret army would have discovered that the German people preferred being Red to being dead.

I doubt that. When the Soviets invaded, they would have ferreted out the former Wehrmacht troops and officers and either summarily executed them or sent them off to the Gulag. Better to go down fighting, imho.

Consider that less than 5% of Paulus' army (surrendered at Stalingrad) was ever repatriated, and you get the picture.

19 posted on 05/30/2014 3:16:59 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Leaning Right
but the Soviets kicked the crap out of them from 1943 onwards.

The methods they used were the stuff of nightmares. They would 'liberate' a village, arm the survivors, and then send them to go liberate the next village with little to no training. The losses they took were incredible.
20 posted on 05/30/2014 5:10:04 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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