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Minutemen of the Third Reich: History of the Nazi Werwolf Guerrilla Movement
History Today ^ | October 2000 | Perry Biddiscombe

Posted on 07/24/2003 7:58:27 PM PDT by Angelus Errare

Minutemen of the Third Reich.(history of the Nazi Werewolf guerilla movement) Author/s: Perry Biddiscombe Issue: Oct, 2000

AS WORRIES INCREASE about neo-Nazi and skinhead violence in Germany, it is worth remembering that this type of terrorism is a nasty constant in the history of the German radical-right. A case in point is the Nazi Werewolf guerrilla movement founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1944, which fought the occupying forces of Britain, America and Russia until at least 1947.

The Werewolves were originally organised by the SS and the Hitler Youth as a diversionary operation on the fringes of the Third Reich, which were occupied by the Western Allies and the Soviets in the autumn of 1944. Some 5,000 -- 6,000 recruits were raised by the winter of 1944-45, but numbers rose considerably in the following spring when the Nazi Party and the Propaganda Ministry launched a popular call to arms, beseeching everybody in the occupied areas -- even women and children -- to launch themselves upon the enemy. In typical Nazi fashion, this expansion was not co-ordinated by the relevant bodies, which were instead involved in a bureaucratic war among themselves over control of the project. The result was that the movement functioned on two largely unrelated levels: the first as a real force of specially trained SS, Hitler Youth and Nazi Party guerrillas; the second as an outlet for casual violence by fanatics.

The Werewolves specialised in ambushes and sniping, and took the lives of many Allied and Soviet soldiers and officers -- perhaps even that of the first Soviet commandant of Berlin, General N.E. Berzarin, who was rumoured to have been waylaid in Charlottenburg during an incident in June 1945. Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying powers.

Although the Werewolves originally limited themselves to guerrilla warfare with the invading armies, they soon began to undertake scorched-earth measures and vigilante actions against German `collaborators' or `defeatists'. They damaged Germany's economic infrastructure, already battered by Allied bombing and ground fighting, and tried to prevent anything of value from falling into enemy hands. Attempts to blow up factories, power plants or waterworks occasionally provoked melees between Werewolves and desperate German workers trying to save the physical basis of their employment, particularly in the Ruhr and Upper Silesia.

Several sprees of vandalism through stocks of art and antiques, stored by the Berlin Museum in a flak tower at Friedrichshain, caused millions of dollars worth of damage and cultural losses of inestimable value. In addition, vigilante attacks caused the deaths of a number of small-town mayors and, in late March 1945, a Werewolf paratroop squad assassinated the Lord Mayor of Aachen, Dr Franz Oppenhoff, probably the most prominent German statesman to have emerged in the occupied fringes over the winter of 1944-45. This spate of killings, part of a larger Nazi terror campaign that consumed the Third Reich after the failed anti-Hitler putsch of July 20th, 1944, can be interpreted as a psychological retreat back into opposition, even while Nazi leaders were still clinging to their last few months of power.

Although the Werewolves managed to make themselves a nuisance to small Allied and Soviet units, they failed to stop or delay the invasion and occupation of Germany, and did not succeed in rousing the population into widespread opposition to the new order. The SS and Hitler Youth organisations at the core of the Werewolf movement were poorly led, short of supplies and weapons, and crippled by infighting. Their mandate was a conservative one of tactical harassment, at least until the final days of the war, and even when they did begin to envision the possibility of an underground resistance that could survive the Third Reich's collapse, they had to contend with widespread civilian war-weariness and fear of enemy reprisals. In Western Germany, no one wanted to do anything that would diminish the pace of Anglo-American advance and possibly thereby allow the Red Army to push further westward.

Despite its failure, however, the Werewolf project had a huge impact, widening the psychological and spiritual gap between Germans and their occupiers. Werewolf killings and intimidation of `collaborators' scared almost everybody, giving German civilians a clear glimpse into the nihilistic heart of Nazism. It was difficult for people working under threat of such violence to devote themselves unreservedly to the initial tasks of reconstruction. Worse still, the Allies and Soviets reacted to the movement with extremely tough controls, curtailing the right of assembly of German civilians. Challenges of any sort were met by collective reprisals -- especially on the part of the Soviets and the French. In a few cases the occupiers even shot hostages and cleared out towns where instances of sabotage occurred. It was standard practice for the Soviets to destroy whole communities if they faced a single act of resistance. In the eastern fringes of the `Greater Reich', now annexed by the Poles and the Czechoslovaks, Werewolf harassment handed the new authorities an excuse to rush the deportations of millions of ethnic Germans to occupied Germany.

Such policies were understandable, but they created an unbridgeable gulf between the German people and the occupation forces who had pledged to impose essential reforms. It was hard, in such conditions, for the occupiers to encourage reform, and even harder to persuade the Germans that it was necessary.

By the time that this rough opposition to the occupation had started to soften, the Cold War was under way and reform became equally difficult to implement. As a result, both German states created in 1949 were not so dissimilar to their predecessor as might have been hoped, and changes in attitudes and institutions developed only slowly. Thanks partly to the Werewolves there was no German revolution in 1945, either imposed from above or generated from below.

The Last Nazis by Perry Biddiscombe, is published this month by Tempus. The book explores the background to the movement, its operations and its wholly negative legacy to the history of reconstruction in postwar Germany.

The Last Nazis is available in bookshops, priced 19.99/$32.50 [pounds sterling], or by calling 01453 883300 (UK) or 001-888-313-2665 (North America).

COPYRIGHT 2000 History Today Ltd.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Political Humor/Cartoons; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: germany; neonazi; werewolfguerillas; werewolfguerrillas; wwii
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To: Former Proud Canadian
No, in large part because the people who were most likely to resist the occupation (Shinto imperialists) were prevented from doing so by the order of the Emperor, who is the descendant of the sun goddess and God-on-Earth in Shinto theology. If your god tells you to throw in the towel, that pretty much decided matters for the Japanese people.
51 posted on 07/25/2003 8:28:57 AM PDT by Angelus Errare
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To: EternalVigilance
I was just gonna make that point. Many of the members of the SA were previously in the commie brigades and switched sides. These guys were real thugs and the people on either side of the political fence in our country use the term NAZI too casually to refer to their opponents.
52 posted on 07/25/2003 8:31:36 AM PDT by dljordan
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Werwolf!
The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944-1946
.
53 posted on 07/25/2003 8:45:54 AM PDT by Consort
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To: EternalVigilance
It is ridiculous and insulting to do what the headline does...tie the blessed memory of the Minutemen to the memory of a bunch of terrorist-thug Nazi losers.

That's exactly what I was thinking when I read he headline. There can be no comparison at all.
54 posted on 07/25/2003 9:38:45 AM PDT by Live free or die
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To: Congressman Billybob
You are way wrong. The Werewolves were no where near the abilities of Iraqi resistance and their potency has been exaggerated beyond the historical record.
55 posted on 07/25/2003 9:49:38 AM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
I was not aware taht targeting active and former memebrs of teh SS adn Wermacht represented terrorism.
56 posted on 07/25/2003 3:04:06 PM PDT by rmlew ("Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.")
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To: EternalVigilance
The Nazis weren't 'radical-right'; they were radical socialists.

Absolutely, right down to the soles of their feet. Indeed, the tactic of indoctrinating their youth into the Hitler youth, was simply a manifestation of the tactics of other German Socialist groups, that had earlier established similar youth organizations, to indoctrinate the youth into Socialist dogma.

See The Lies Of Socialism

57 posted on 07/25/2003 3:13:47 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: rmlew
You are talking about the Jewish Avengers? Trying to poison the water supply to kill thousands of German civilians whose govt has surrendered is an act of terrorisim.

My attitude can best be summed up with the Chris Rock joke about OJ. "I do not condone what OJ did...but I understand"

58 posted on 07/25/2003 3:33:49 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Ohioan; EternalVigilance
The Nazis were both NATIONALISTS and SOCIALISTS.

They were Right Wing and Left Wing all in one.

59 posted on 07/25/2003 3:35:31 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
There is no way that you can suggest that the Nazis were rightwing. They had no identification with the Monarchists or any rightwing group. Hitler openly advocated a "Classless, Casteless" Germany--pointedly attacking the old order.

Being a Nationalist does not say anything about where you are on the political spectrum. To see a graphic representation of the Left/Right lineup: Political Spectrum.

William Flax

60 posted on 07/25/2003 3:42:21 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Angelus Errare
"Nazi Werewolf guerrilla" would be an excellent movie title.
61 posted on 07/25/2003 3:46:30 PM PDT by isom35
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To: Ohioan
I stand by my statement. By the way--based on the original French definition of the political spectrum the American Founding Fathers were Left Wingers.
62 posted on 07/25/2003 3:50:11 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
I stand by my statement. By the way--based on the original French definition of the political spectrum the American Founding Fathers were Left Wingers.

Hardly! While they were not Rightists, in the context of their times, they were almost all substantial property owners, whether from business interests or as landed proprietors. Probably the best way to describe them would be as Libertarians, or "Classic Liberals," with a very considerable divergence, among them, as to just how "Liberal," they were. I believe that most of them considered themselves "Whigs," in terms of British politics of the time.

However, their Revolution was really a counter-revolution, against increased outside meddling in their affairs--following the French & Indian Wars. It was very much a revolt to vindicate property rights, and the right to do business with minimal intrusion by Government. In this is was a natural heir to Magna Carta, so the roots were very Conservative.

The Nazi and Communist Revolutions, on the other hand, while there may have been educated men of property involved, pulling strings, were basically uprisings of the mob in the street--heirs to the French Revolution, also manipulated, of course. The principles of the American Revolution, vindicating the right to be let alone, were the furthest thing from the mob manipulation that the Communists & Nazis employed.

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

63 posted on 07/25/2003 4:13:31 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Ohioan
On the French spectrum--and they invented it--are Founding Fathers are more on the left side of the Spectrum.
64 posted on 07/25/2003 5:04:57 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Ohioan
On the French spectrum--and they invented it--Our Founding Fathers are more on the left side of the Spectrum.
65 posted on 07/25/2003 5:05:44 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
The Avengers where but one group.
Jewish Partisans who just kept killing Germans was more common.
66 posted on 07/25/2003 5:53:46 PM PDT by rmlew ("Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.")
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To: rmlew
That happened in Poland a lot and in Russia against the German POWs.

"I do not condone what OJ did...but I understand"

67 posted on 07/25/2003 6:35:45 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Austin Willard Wright
#48/#49 I found helpful..also the cong.Billy Bob column.
68 posted on 07/26/2003 10:40:12 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: MEG33
Yes, I am aware of the article. It has some interesting information. I am not surprised that there was some postwar residtance that resulted in American deaths. I see no evidence, however, that the efforts of the Wolverines were as signficant as the current resistance.

Again, the fundamental question remains unanswered: how many Americans died in combat in post-war German guerrilla action? If that question can't be answered, or even an estimate approximated, then the attempt to make a comparison falls flat.

BTW, I am skeptical on another count. Most Germans, even former Nazis, in the American zone had little reason to resist because they were happy to be under American not Soviet occupation.

69 posted on 07/26/2003 11:19:34 AM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Destro
Simply repeating yourself, only makes for a circular argument. Rather than repeat my self, I stand by my reply #63. But I will add this:

I think you are missing the essential point, which has to do with how the rights of the individual rightist are to be protected from the mass of humanity. Those who sat on the Right in the French Assembly wanted to be safe from the mob. So too did the Founding Fathers--although they might not have been so snobbish about it--but that is almost precisely what Madison's comments on Democracy were about.

The Great movements of the Left, Communism, National Socialism, and various other varieties of Socialism, all embrace the mob--the power of numbers.

Again, see Political Spectrum, to illustrate my argument.

70 posted on 07/26/2003 11:21:33 AM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Angelus Errare
BUMP!
71 posted on 07/26/2003 11:23:43 AM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (I am la Cuba libre.)
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To: Austin Willard Wright
I see you didn't read Billy Bob's column..look it up.
72 posted on 07/26/2003 11:23:56 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: MEG33
The column only gives a few numbers of Americans killed in specific raids. It does not even attempt an estimate of the total number of American killed.
73 posted on 07/26/2003 11:24:50 AM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
We're done..If you want the numbers find them..I won't ask you to even consider my posts.
74 posted on 07/26/2003 11:27:53 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: MEG33
All I asked (and in good faith) was for you to back up your case with hard numbers. The article posted by Billy Bob does not do that.
75 posted on 07/26/2003 11:29:14 AM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Austin Willard Wright
I am not surprised that there was some postwar resistance that resulted in American deaths. I see no evidence, however, that the efforts of the Wolverines were as signficant as the current resistance.

On the other side of the coin, the idea & importance of an American presence in Germany, for an extended period, at a time when Russia was already in the process of grabbing Eastern Europe, was far more justifiable than the notion of a long term presence in Iraq. And the notion that the resistance in Iraq will soon evaporate, because the Germans, who after all shared a common Western heritage, soon quieted down, does not scan as a reasoned argument. One need only glance a few hundred miles to the West, in the Israeli occupied territories, to see that such resistance actually feeds on its own losses.

We need an early exit strategy from Iraq, and I fail to understand why some would resist the idea so strenuously. There are obviously substantial numbers of Iraqis who are grateful to be rid of a butchering tyrant. Every day that we remain, unnecessarily, will only tend to waste what good will we have gained among such people, for no likely benefit to any American interest.

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

76 posted on 07/26/2003 11:46:43 AM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Angelus Errare
bump
77 posted on 07/26/2003 11:48:43 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Ohioan
You are right. Another difference (related to your point) is that Germans in the American zone (even die hard Nazis) were not inclined to resist because they were happy not be stuck in the Soviet zone.

I called the Center for Military History in Washington, D.C. and they dismissed the claims of significant postwar reistance in Germany as overblown. I also asked a good friend who is a specialist in twentieth century German history and he said the same thing. I am perfectly willing to have an open mind but would like to see evidence that it was comparable. None has been presented.

78 posted on 07/26/2003 11:50:44 AM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
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To: Angelus Errare
a nasty constant in the history of the German radical-right.

See, they lost me right there. What's so difficult to remember about National Socialism being a proud member of the radical left?

79 posted on 07/26/2003 12:10:57 PM PDT by Dr.Deth
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To: Ohioan
Your political spectrum is a revision. Not the original. Like I said, based on teh model invented by the French from which your source took the terms and changed it. It is a useless link for an inaccurate classification. I repeated myself because what I said was clear and accurate thus needing no more explination.
80 posted on 07/26/2003 4:08:19 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Ohioan
Your political spectrum is a revision. Not the original. Like I said, based on the model invented by the French from which your source took the terms and changed it. It is a useless link for an inaccurate classification. I repeated myself because what I said was clear and accurate thus needing no more explanation.

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_spectrum

Historical Origin of the Terms

The usage in Western politics of "right" and "left" to refer to political affiliation stems at least from the French National Assembly in 1789, during the French Revolution. There, the Second Estate, or nobility, sat to the right of the chamber, and the Third Estate, or common people (at the time the radicals) to the left. Thus, "right" generally meant conservative, upholding the existing social or political order, and "left" meant radical, attempting to change or overthrow the existing order. The usage may actually be earlier, from the pre-Revolutionary Estates-General, where right and left referred to supporters and opponents of the monarchy.

81 posted on 07/26/2003 4:27:27 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Dr.Deth
See, they lost me right there. What's so difficult to remember about National Socialism being a proud member of the radical left?

The Nazis were a blend of Left and right--why did you not highlight the Nationalist part?

82 posted on 07/26/2003 4:28:32 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
Thanks the link for the book on "The Avengers"
PBS (KCET) had one special on about the work of these sorts of groups.

Not that I like the idea of extra-legal justice...but if I'd lost a fair chunk of
my family and had the chance to assure something like justice was
meted out to these animals...I don't know what I'd have done...
83 posted on 07/26/2003 4:38:06 PM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
My feelings on the Jewish Avengers group are captured in the words of Chris Rock: "I do not condone what OJ did...but I understand"


84 posted on 07/26/2003 6:08:29 PM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting www.johnathangaltfilms.com)
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To: Destro
The usage in Western politics of "right" and "left" to refer to political affiliation stems at least from the French National Assembly in 1789, during the French Revolution. There, the Second Estate, or nobility, sat to the right of the chamber, and the Third Estate, or common people (at the time the radicals) to the left. Thus, "right" generally meant conservative, upholding the existing social or political order, and "left" meant radical, attempting to change or overthrow the existing order. The usage may actually be earlier, from the pre-Revolutionary Estates-General, where right and left referred to supporters and opponents of the monarchy.

That is a correct statement. If you read Chapter 7, The Lies Of Socialism, I make a similar argument, in my long list of examples of the Leftist position of the National Socialists. By your definition, above, the Nazis were clearly and unambiguously on the Left and the Founding Fathers were on the Right.

The Foundig Fathers were basically defending their existing orders, built up by the various settler societies literally from the ground up, from a new level of British interference, following the French & Indian Wars--our part of the World War known as the Seven Years War. They were hardly trying to undermine the social structure of their own creation.

Chapter 12, Political Spectrum just illustrates the verbal argument from Chapter 7, and basically illustrates your example from the French Assembly, but adopted to a more general analysis of other nations.

William Flax

85 posted on 07/28/2003 10:10:08 AM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Angelus Errare
Yet another lesson for my homeschoolers -g- Bump!
86 posted on 07/30/2003 6:42:19 PM PDT by JustPiper (Am I going or are you coming? Socialist Democratic = Commie!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I dunno, you say there's werewolves, Destro says there weren't. Who am I to believe?
87 posted on 08/01/2003 12:44:31 AM PDT by graycamel
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To: Destro
Thanx. It's been so long since I've been on that I forgot what I posted.
88 posted on 08/01/2003 12:45:13 AM PDT by graycamel
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To: graycamel
It's not a matter of "belief." The Werewolves DID exist. They did conduct attacks on Americans using "troops" as young as twelve. The only dispute is over the extent of their involvement. Most histories agree that the Werewolves mounted less than half of all the attacks on military occupiers of Germany.

Congressman Billybob

Latest article, now up FR, "Sixteen Little Words."

89 posted on 08/04/2003 10:16:54 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob ("Don't just stand there. Run for Congress." www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thanx. I got tired of Free Republic so I've been off for 2 weeks. I'm back.
90 posted on 08/07/2003 10:56:32 PM PDT by graycamel
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