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"Essential Study of Foreign Volunteers in the Waffen-SS" Topic


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226 hits since 15 Oct 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2020 9:55 p.m. PST

…& Wehrmacht.

"Last year a paperback version of A European Anabasis: Western European Volunteers in the German Army and SS, 1940-45 by Kenneth W. Estes was published by Helion & Company and it is this version of the book that I shall now review. Unlike many books about foreign volunteers in German formations I would say it treats Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS volunteers with equal attention and the authorīs background as a marine, tanker (lieutenant colonel) and professor of history has made possible a convincing evaluation of how the different volunteer groups actually performed. The volunteers from Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark and Norway (I have placed them in the order of contingent size) are the main focus, and this is a good choice by Estes, in my opinion. Sure, there were also groups from several other Western European states, like Switzerland and Sweden, but as these groups never reached anything even close to the number of Spaniards and Dutchmen etc their significance for the battles of WWII was, basically, microscopic.

Well then, two-thirds of the West European volunteers in German formations came from Spain and the Netherlands. Kenneth W. Estes does, however, on occasion mention both Swiss and Swedish volunteers and in one case highlights a Swiss national, Dr. Franz Riedweg, as he was a key figure in the Waffen-SS recruitment program aimed at Germanic populations.

The author in no way hides the fact that Volksdeutsche from Eastern and Southern Europe played the major role in alleviating the mostly unsuccessful recruiting in Western Europe, especially in Scandinavia. Here the author could have inserted a quote from my co-author Lennart Westberg about how dissatisfied Hitler was with the low Swedish turnout, barely 200 men…"

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Amicalement
Armand

Pan Marek16 Oct 2020 9:40 a.m. PST

It must be good. There're a number of very upset pro-Nazi reviews on Amazon.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2020 12:29 p.m. PST

Glup!….

Amicalement
Armand

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2020 5:06 p.m. PST

It is very good. Estes, who reached the rank of Lt. Col. in the USMC, researches and writes unit histories for the US Army and other militaries. He is a pro at this kind of thing -- solid research and un-biased assembly of the available information, usually doing a very good job of identifying what is verifiably true and what is asserted, suggested, etc. but not clearly verifiable.

This book was originally part of a University-level course, and included online content too. I do not know if that supplimental material has since been integrated, made available, or abandoned.

For those who would consider buying it -- I recommend it highly if you are interested in academic reading or research. If you are looking for a story book to back your pre-conceived notions (be they be the superiority of any national population's fighting prowess, or the moral superiority of any European nation's general population) you will be disappointed. This is not light reading, it does not provide justification for any pre-conceived fanboy models I know of, but it is illuminating.

One of the biggest myths it exposes, and the one that seems to trigger the wehraboos the most, is the myth that the Waffen SS was some army of super-men. Or even that the Waffen SS was any one thing … having any monolithic traits.

It unabashadly examines Waffen SS formations that achieved very impressive military results. But also examines in equal detail the far greater number of Waffen SS units that never achieved anything notable on a battlefield. And in examining the formations like SS Das Reich or SS Wiking that became superstar performers, it also explores their early combats where they might have been perhaps politcally reliable, but were clearly tactically inept. And how yes there were fanatically motivated Waffen SS formations, but there were also Waffen SS units that were little more than street gangs, or prison gangs, or labor gangs.

All in all, an interesting and useful reference.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 12:41 p.m. PST

Thanks!.

Amicalement
Armand

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