Skip to comments.The Werewolf Principle [Post-war Germany Hitler regime 'deadenders']
Posted on 07/28/2003 7:58:28 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
What did the Werewolf do? They sniped. They mined roads. They poured sand into the gas tanks of jeeps. (Sugar was in short supply, no doubt.) They were especially feared for the "decapitation wires" they strung across roads. They poisoned food stocks and liquor. (The Russians had the biggest problem with this.) They committed arson, though perhaps less than they are credited with: every unexplained fire or explosion associated with a military installation tended to be blamed on the Werwolf. These activities slackened off within a few months of the capitulation on May 7, though incidents were reported as late as 1947.
Goebbels especially grasped the possibility that guerrilla war could be a political process as well as a military strategy. It was largely through his influence that the Werwolf assumed something of the aspect of a terrorist organization. Where it could, it tried to prevent individuals and communities from surrendering, and it assassinated civil officials who cooperated with the Allies. Few Germans welcomed these activities, but something else that Goebbels grasped was that terror might serve where popularity was absent. By his estimate, only 10% to 15% of the German population were potential supporters for a truly revolutionary movement. His goal was to use the Werwolf to activate that potential. With the help of the radical elite, the occupiers could be provoked into savage reprisals that would win over the mass of the people to Neo-Nazism, a term that came into use in April 1945.
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.~~~
UPDATE : I've just read an article that Chuck Simmons wrote on this very subject on the 17th - including some of the same quotes, but also some I wasn't aware of. Worth a read.
UPDATE: And even earlier, on the 10th, Hugh Hewitt of the Weekly Standard "got it" when he wrote :
Despite what the quagmire chorus would have you believe, this isn't the first time America has tried to rebuild a war-torn, formerly fascist state.
"The bodyguard said that Saddam and his sons had remained in Baghdad in the genuine belief that they could hold the city. Only later, when they believed they had been betrayed by their commanders, did they consider an alternative. 'The resistance was not factored in before the war,' he said. 'There was a closed meeting five or six days after the war, and that is when they began to discuss the resistance.'"
I still think it is a pretty good analogy between postwar Germany and postwar Iraq, but there appears not to have been any prewar planning on the part of the Iraqis unlike the planning begun by Himmler in 1944. Not a fundamental difference, perhaps, but a difference nonetheless.
As for why we do not see this sort of thing more generally in the press, it is because journalists are historically ignorant, by and large.
Minutemen of the Third Reich ("Werewolf" guerilla movement - postwar sabotage & terror not new)
History Today (via FindArticles.com) ^ | October 2000 | Perry Biddiscombe
Posted on 07/04/2003 4:47 AM EDT by Stultis
If they want to make a direct comparison, they should stop hedging.
Austin, I completely understand your objection to my numbers in post 19, but I am not playing with figures (as my Econ professor says, "figures don't lie, liars figure") just pointing out that the number of deaths occurring one month after hostilities concluded in Germany was substantial, and this was just one example. I also agree completely with what Ragtime wrote in post 20. The environment in Iraq is tougher than in post-war Germany, and our soldiers are performing superbly. It is only a matter of time before all the dead-enders meet their dead-end. Read an email from a Green Beret Colonel if you still have an open mind, which I doubt.
It is no surprise that you are having trouble adjusting to the post-9/11 era. In the fall of 1945, General Groves (director of the Manhattan Project) told a congressional committee that it would be "20 years to never" before another nation would be able to develop a nuke. The Soviet Union had one in five years. The CNO of the time said that if another nation came up with one, they would need to deliver it by ship. Some airpower advocates said blockbusters would remain the weapon of choice because they were more precise, and our enemies would know we wouldn't use the bomb in any situation less drastic than avoiding the invasion of Japan was. You might want to learn from another piece of history while we're at it: Mogadishu. We fled out of Somalia like scalded dogs after 18 deaths. On the "Smoking Gun" tape, Osama detailed how this convinced him that thousands of deaths on our home soil would defeat us completely. If we pull out of Iraq now, will we be hearing some jihadist punk talk about how he decided to detonate a dirty bomb in DC because we bugged out of Iraq with a little more than 200 total casualties? We live in the age of asymetric warfare now, and we have to take the fight to the terrorists. That will cost lives, but it will save many, many more. If you can't cope with the post-9/11 era, move to Fiji.