|This thread has been locked, it will not receive new replies.|
Locked on 05/10/2005 7:26:32 AM PDT by Admin Moderator, reason:
Skip to comments.Hitler's secret Indian army
Posted on 05/09/2005 9:08:05 AM PDT by minus_273
In the closing stages of World War II, as Allied and French resistance forces were driving Hitler's now demoralised forces from France, three senior German officers defected.
Legionnaires were recruited from German POW camps The information they gave British intelligence was considered so sensitive that in 1945 it was locked away, not due to be released until the year 2021.
Now, 17 years early, the BBC's Document programme has been given special access to this secret file.
It reveals how thousands of Indian soldiers who had joined Britain in the fight against fascism swapped their oaths to the British king for others to Adolf Hitler - an astonishing tale of loyalty, despair and betrayal that threatened to rock British rule in India, known as the Raj.
The story the German officers told their interrogators began in Berlin on 3 April 1941. This was the date that the left-wing Indian revolutionary leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, arrived in the German capital.
Bose, who had been arrested 11 times by the British in India, had fled the Raj with one mission in mind. That was to seek Hitler's help in pushing the British out of India.
He wanted 500 volunteers who would be trained in Germany and then parachuted into India. Everyone raised their hands. Thousands of us volunteered Lieutenant Barwant Singh Six months later, with the help of the German foreign ministry, he had set up what he called "The Free India Centre", from where he published leaflets, wrote speeches and organised broadcasts in support of his cause.
By the end of 1941, Hitler's regime officially recognised his provisional "Free India Government" in exile, and even agreed to help Chandra Bose raise an army to fight for his cause. It was to be called "The Free India Legion".
Bose hoped to raise a force of about 100,000 men which, when armed and kitted out by the Germans, could be used to invade British India.
He decided to raise them by going on recruiting visits to Prisoner-of-War camps in Germany which, at that time, were home to tens of thousands of Indian soldiers captured by Rommel in North Africa.
Finally, by August 1942, Bose's recruitment drive got fully into swing. Mass ceremonies were held in which dozens of Indian POWs joined in mass oaths of allegiance to Adolf Hitler.
Chandra Bose did not live to see Indian independence These are the words that were used by men that had formally sworn an oath to the British king: "I swear by God this holy oath that I will obey the leader of the German race and state, Adolf Hitler, as the commander of the German armed forces in the fight for India, whose leader is Subhas Chandra Bose."
I managed to track down one of Bose's former recruits, Lieutenant Barwant Singh, who can still remember the Indian revolutionary arriving at his prisoner of war camp.
"He was introduced to us as a leader from our country who wanted to talk to us," he said.
"He wanted 500 volunteers who would be trained in Germany and then parachuted into India. Everyone raised their hands. Thousands of us volunteered."
In all 3,000 Indian prisoners of war signed up for the Free India Legion.
But instead of being delighted, Bose was worried. A left-wing admirer of Russia, he was devastated when Hitler's tanks rolled across the Soviet border.
Matters were made even worse by the fact that after Stalingrad it became clear that the now-retreating German army would be in no position to offer Bose help in driving the British from faraway India.
When the Indian revolutionary met Hitler in May 1942 his suspicions were confirmed, and he came to believe that the Nazi leader was more interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones.
So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his legionnaires and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan.
Rudolf Hartog remembers parting with his Indian friends There, with Japanese help, he was to raise a force of 60,000 men to march on India.
Back in Germany the men he had recruited were left leaderless and demoralised. After mush dissent and even a mutiny, the German High Command despatched them first to Holland and then south-west France, where they were told to help fortify the coast for an expected allied landing.
After D-Day, the Free India Legion, which had now been drafted into Himmler's Waffen SS, were in headlong retreat through France, along with regular German units.
It was during this time that they gained a wild and loathsome reputation amongst the civilian population.
The former French Resistance fighter, Henri Gendreaux, remembers the Legion passing through his home town of Ruffec: "I do remember several cases of rape. A lady and her two daughters were raped and in another case they even shot dead a little two-year-old girl."
Finally, instead of driving the British from India, the Free India Legion were themselves driven from France and then Germany.
Their German military translator at the time was Private Rudolf Hartog, who is now 80.
"The last day we were together an armoured tank appeared. I thought, my goodness, what can I do? I'm finished," he said.
"But he only wanted to collect the Indians. We embraced each other and cried. You see that was the end."
A year later the Indian legionnaires were sent back to India, where all were released after short jail sentences.
But when the British put three of their senior officers on trial near Delhi there were mutinies in the army and protests on the streets.
With the British now aware that the Indian army could no longer be relied upon by the Raj to do its bidding, independence followed soon after.
Not that Subhas Chandra Bose was to see the day he had fought so hard for. He died in 1945.
Since then little has been heard of Lieutenant Barwant Singh and his fellow legionnaires.
At the end of the war the BBC was forbidden from broadcasting their story and this remarkable saga was locked away in the archives, until now. Not that Lieutenant Singh has ever forgotten those dramatic days.
"In front of my eyes I can see how we all looked, how we would all sing and how we all talked about what eventually would happen to us all," he said.
"the BBC was forbidden from broadcasting their story and this remarkable saga was locked away in the archives, until now."
"After D-Day, the Free India Legion, which had now been drafted into Himmler's Waffen SS, were in headlong retreat through France, along with regular German units.
It was during this time that they gained a wild and loathsome reputation amongst the civilian population.
The former French Resistance fighter, Henri Gendreaux, remembers the Legion passing through his home town of Ruffec: "I do remember several cases of rape. A lady and her two daughters were raped and in another case they even shot dead a little two-year-old girl.""
India does not celebrate VE day or VJ day. They fought on both sides of the war.
Left wing? He was a right-wing nationalist whose followers killed Gandhi a few years later.
Like a lot of supposedly "breaking" stuff from the MSM (such as the "Secret German 1905 plan to invade the US, which I read about in a book 10 years ago) I'd previously heard of this from multiple sources. This isn't new or all that shocking.
its not new but it turns out A LOT of people didnt know about it and therefore the this thread.
This is nothing new. Short-sightedness of Indian leaders is a routine matter. Even today they think any critic of India must be a Paki. Bose felt the enemy of his enemy would be his friend. If Hitler would have won, he would be the first one in line to go to a concentration camp.
i think gandhi was killed by the VHP or something like that..as far as i know it was another group
It's clear though the BBC is promoting it like they've made some sort of amazing discovery through brilliant journalism.
That's what I have a problem with.
actually i didnt know indian troops fought against us in Europe. I just know people who fought Indian troops in Asia. For example when we fought to get the philippines back.
Gandhi was killed by Nathuram Godse, who had a number of affiliations with right wing Hindu fundamentalist groups, but AFAIK, the actual assasination wasn't organized by anyone - it was Godse working alone. His political views are, of course, in line with Subhas Chandra Bose before him and the VHP/RSS of today.
As for the news article, I agree - seems to be presented as an amazing new discovery or something, when it's not. So some Indian soldiers deserted (a few hundred out of many thousands in the British Indian Army) to fight (in their minds) for their country's independence, figuring the British were never going to let India go. I don't agree with what they did, but I have the benefit of hindsight.
Given that their country was occupied by England, and Indians were essentially being forced to fight in a war that had nothing to do with them, I can't condemn them morally. It's not like they were mercenaries fighting for whoever paid them, and they were hardly traitors to their country - only to the British.
The Indian political leaders promised co-operation with the British in WW2 in return for independence and delivered magnificently on their promise (and eventually so did the British). Some of these soldiers obviously felt that wasn't the best way to go about independence. (And it is to be noted that even in that situation, the overwhelming majority of the British Indian Army fought heroically against the Nazis).
They were militarily useless propaganda troops. I read about an argument where Hitler sneeringly asked why the Frei Hind were always "refitting" without ever having fought.
But what the article demonstrated, as was clear, was that the British Army of India was no longer politically reliable by 1946. India did not have a large, politically powerful white settler population so once the army turned India was lost.
Indian Nazi troops.
FWIW, India had no conscription. The Indian Army in WWII was the largest all-volunteer army in history.
Crazy Hans? Goebbelronimo?
The Indian Army in WWII eventually totaled 2.5 million men, making it obviously a major combatant. But, as you say, it was not a reliable tool after the war for the British to use in repressing the Indian and Pakistani independence movements.
once again, it wasn't a few hundred, it was thousands of troops. They also occupied other countries themselves (look at the pics from singapore and the Philippines). They fought in Europe and against the US. That has nothing to do with british colonization of India. Also remember, the British had promised to free india after the war (as they did).
Might be some fringe correlations there.
I recently read a chronology that fed a lot of freemasonry associated dates of the occult into the fray. It seems the 9th of November had significance with human executions or sacrifice in some occultic circles. Considering our WTC would be reversal of the numerals and a number of occultic links with the Al Quada, the fascination of the NAZIs with the occult associated with that part of the world, and this report. I wouldn't be too surprised if some linkage existed, although I'd come closer to associating it with evil people dabbling in the occult rather than any more significant affair.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.