Monday, January 6, 2014
Myth of foreign Nazi volunteers ‘debunked’.
Yet for some reasons research continues into the reasons why Europeans, both occupied and neutral joined one of the national formations of the SS. If this is covered at all in college level history texts, the volunteers are shown to have been coerced into joining or were undesirables from the population as a whole.
Yet this article from historyextra is the latest to show that many of these volunteers, especially from neighboring neutrals were actively involved. They were middle class believers in Germany, the German economic solution or in general against Liberal Democracy or Communism. As they were also educated they had the ability to know what they were doing. Economically they were well off and had little direct reason to become involved.
I had read a 1998 study that looked at Denmark and found over 6,000 volunteered for the Danish Free Corps. While this can be seen as different than volunteers coming from neutral Switzerland or Sweden the facts are worth looking at. This sizable sample were made up of the German minorities of southern Denmark was also highly educated and motivated fighting on the Russian Front. There were also some 77 Danish officers from the Royal Danish Army that took part in the Danish Free Corps. This does not look like the rabble I heard of in my college days.
So what does this matter? While I will not be going out anytime soon and painting up a Danish, French or Swedish unit (The Spanish Blues interest me) it is important to know at least some of the history or motivation behind the units and by proxy the lead figures we bring to the table.
Let me know what you think. Are there any historical units you will not use in a game or period?
Figure is from Flames of War.