Skip to comments.The Secret Ex-Nazi Army That Guarded West Germany
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 Hitlers 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 troopsagainwould have been the height of savagery.
The German magazine Der Spiegel discovered a file buried for years in the archives of the BND, Germanys spy agency. The documents reveal that in 1949, some 2,000 former officers of the SS and the Wehrmachtthe regular German military under the Third Reichformed a secret paramilitary army that might have numbered as many as 40,000 fighters in the event of war.
The Allied occupation forces didnt 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 Germanys 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 wouldnt 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 veteransand there were no shortage of those after World War IIwould 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 didnt 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 Ruhror the English Channelmight 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.
Its 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 Germanys 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.
A chapter of history I didn't know about.
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.
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.
A negative article, if we had to fight the Russians, I wanted every body on my side that I could get.
“the Werewolves merely proved that after six years of war, the German people were tired”
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.
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
Meant, “..last weeks of the War.”
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Before Patton was killed/died he wanted to re-arm the Germans and send them to fight the Russians.
Sure they did. Don't kid yourselves.
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.
As if the Soviet response to an insurgency led by anyone else would be any different.
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.
Gen. Patton died for his loud mouth speaches. He would have made a good Governor of captured Germany.
We hired wehrmacht POWs after ww2 to fight the commie bastards in northern italy.
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.