JF Ptak Science Books Post 2024
There are many unhappy episodes during WWII of small groups from the Allied countries which gave comfort and solace and economic and physical support to the Nazis. The economic aspect gets very complex and pretty deep here in the U.S., with major companies lending assistance even in violation of the Trading with the Enemies Act into 1943, and of course there was the German-American Bund which was relatively full-throated until America got into the war on 8 December 1941, and so on. There were also occupation Nazi-fueled governments like Vichy, but what I'm interested in for this post are the volunteers who materially contributed to the Nazi war effort, with time, and effort and fighting in uniform. The hard figures for the volunteers and conscripts who fought wth the Waffen-SS during the war totaled some 350,000 men1.--and considering what was happening to the German army post-Barbarossa, that was not an insignificant figure.
General Sir Frederick Maurice (1871-1951) , one of the subjects of the leaflet, had a very long and sine-curve military career, and was an academic of some achievement--he was also along in there was head and founder of the British Legion. And it was in this capacity and under his auspices that the British Legion offered 10,000 men to help Adolf Hitler and secure a modest success in the transition of control of that country.
What an enormously disappointing handbill this was to read, coming from the press of a militant right-wing and racist organization in support of Hitler and the Nazis in their swallowing-alive of a living Czechoslovakia. The Militant Christian Patriots2 were the publishers of this handbill--this was a group were formed as part of an earlier organization called The Britons (founded in 1919), both of which were viciously anti-Semitic and severely racist, and were on board with most of the programs of the NSDAP. (The publishing arm of the Britons, the Britons Publishing Company, for example published 85 editions of the vicious and ridiculous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.) They supported Neville Chamberlain and were happy to keep the U.K. out of any confrontation with Germany. As we see in this handout, they were eager and able to support Hitler's invasion and destruction of Czechoslovakia by providing a British volunteer force of more than 1,000 to aid in the Nazi take-over by policing the supposedly audacious and Seudeten-German pillaging Czechs.
The story of the Nazis in Czechoslovakia is a complex story, riddled with nothing by treachery-lust on the part of the Nazis, and of course ending very badly for the Czechs, the Germans living out a series of aspects of the Big Lie until it was all over. The British Legion chose to believe what they needed to believe in order to sustain their own nationalist beliefs.
There were many who found Chamberlain simply wrong in his negotiation with Hitler and where he was guiding the country, not the least of whom was the Communist Party via J.R. Campbell, who expressed a general outrage in this pamphlet (published October 10, 1938), the cover telling the story:
1. These included volunteers and conscripts from Albania, 9000; Armenia, 2000; Belgium, 27,000; British Commonwealth, never more than 100 in the British Free Corps; Bulgaria, 700; Croatia, 20,000; Denmark: 8,000; Finland, 1,500; France, 9,000; Georgia, 2,000 to 3,000; Hungary: 40,000; India, 3,500; Italy, 15,000; Latvia: 60,000; Netherlands: 25,000; North Caucasus, 1,000 to 2,000; Norway, 6,000; Russian (& Belarusian): 15,000, Russian (Cossack) 20,000, Russian (Turcic),10,000; Romania, 6,000; Serbia, 8,000; Spain: 3,000 in Spanische-Freiwilligen-Kompanie der SS 101 and SS 102; Sweden, 300-500; Switzerland, 800; Ukraine: 20,000.
2. There's another example of this publisher described in this blog, here: http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2011/01/blank-empty-things-series-the-militant-christian-patriots-hitler-and-saving-britain-from-itself-1938.html