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Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944-1946

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 464
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The most complete history to date of the Nazi partisan resistance movement known as the Werwolf at the end of WWII. A fascinating history of great interest to general readers as well as to military historians.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8328-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreign Terms and Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    The orthodox opinion on Nazi partisan warfare is that it was non-existent, or a myth produced by a last-minute propaganda campaign launched by Joseph Goebbels. One historian goes so far as to claim that Germany ‘did not produce a single saboteur, far less a resistance movement,’ and another that ‘Werwolf guerrillas never fired a shot.’¹ Many of those writing about Nazi Germany do not bother to pass such judgments, obviously because they believe the resistance movement, the Werwolf, merits not even a mention. A corollary of this belief is the perception that the German populace was obedient, subdued, and totally...

  7. 1 Gothic Guerrillas: The Bureau ‘Prützmann’ the SS-Werwolf
    (pp. 10-56)

    By 1944, with military crises unfolding in both the East and the West, Germany was forced by its own weakness to fall back upon a strategy in which guerrilla warfare played a major role. This is a repeated theme in German history, and the country’s leaders had previously pursued such a course both during the period of Napoleonic domination, from 1807 to 1813, and during the unhappy years of the early Weimar Republic. It is crucial to note, however, that in the previous 140 years a certain sense of guerrilla warfare had developed in Germany, and that this view both...

  8. 2 A Nursery Tale: The Hitler Youth and the Werwolf
    (pp. 57-86)

    Aside from the SS organizational core, by far the most integral portion of the Werwolf was the Hitler Youth (HJ), the source of most of the human material for the movement. Some Werwolf cells were composed entirely of teenage fanatics, and almost all units had at least several HJ members. The team that assassinated theOberbürgermeisterof Aachen comprised a sixteen-year-old HJ activist, a young woman from the female component of the HJ (the Federation of German Girls - BdM), an SS ‘Ranger’ officer, an SS NCO, plus two scouts with experience in the Border Patrol. The dynamism and vitality...

  9. 3 A Werwolf War: The Military and the Kleinkrieg
    (pp. 87-116)

    When a nation sees its national army destroyed or on the very edge of defeat, there is a natural tendency for patriots to rise up, take matters into their own hands, and attack the invaders. Similarly, stragglers and cut-off units of the army often keep fighting, even behind enemy lines, and even though they are detached from the regular chain of command. Such units may be led by fanatics, or they may simply be bound by the same primordial impulses of individual loyalty that had once bound together the ancientcomitatus.¹ The military authorities may themselves choose to adopt guerrilla...

  10. 4 Reign of Terror: The Party and the Werwolf
    (pp. 117-150)

    Aside from the military’s intervention into the Werwolf field, there were also some last-minute attempts by party chieftains to promote partisan warfare. This trend particularly centred upon the efforts of two powerful men whose careers had developed within the party bureaucracy and whose bases of power lay within that realm: Martin Bormann, the stocky and sinister head of the party chancellery, who had once gone up against the French as a member of the underground during the Ruhr occupation, but had since switched his expertise to bureaucratic infighting; and Joseph Goebbels, theGauleiterof Berlin and minister of propaganda, who...

  11. 5 Werwolf Redoubts
    (pp. 151-197)

    Some of the incidents outlined in the previous chapters occurred in heavily wooded and hilly areas to which embittered members of the Guard Corps (SS), Hitler Youth (HJ), Werwolf, and German Army had retreated. Such desperadoes fled to these regions originally because they were ordered to do so by the German High Command, which hoped to use these remote tracts as bases from which to inflict damage upon the Allies or the Soviets. As it turned out, however, many of the elements that holed up in this fashion found themselves unable to accommodate the rapid pace of events of 1945....

  12. 6 The Werwolf along Germany’s Periphery
    (pp. 198-251)

    As in Germany proper, Werewolves were also sporadically active in German borderlands populated at least in part by peoples of Germanic origin. The pattern of such resistance also followed the general tendency within Germany itself, where the Western Allies discovered that eastward penetration into the country corresponded with greater evidence of underground warfare and resistance. Werewolfism, it seems, thrived better in an eastern climate.

    The limits of this chapter are determined by a consideration of territories with German-speaking inhabitants that still lay outside the Reich’s boundaries in mid-1938, that is, after the Anschluss with Austria, but before any further incorporation...

  13. 7 Western Allied and Soviet Reactions to the Werwolf
    (pp. 252-274)

    Examination of the German side of the story does not, of course, tell the entire tale. No one can have read this account without wondering about the reactions of the Allies and Soviets, and it is perhaps fitting to offer a few final observations on this matter before closing. In short, it might be concluded that the threat of Nazi partisan warfare had a generally unhealthy effect on broad issues of policy among the occupying powers. As well, it prompted the development of Draconian reprisal measures that resulted in the destruction of much German property and the deaths of thousands...

  14. 8 Consequences and Significance of the Werwolf
    (pp. 275-286)

    Overall, a great deal of ground has been covered in this work, but from this mass of material a few primary conclusions arise. Perhaps the most basic of these points is the very existence in 1944–5 of a significant Werwolf movement, which comprised one of the chief initiatives of the dying Nazi Reich, and which was intended to harass the invading Allied and Soviet armies to such a degree that the Nazi regime could save some semblance of its power and authority. In some ways, the Werwolf represented a continuation of classic Nazi trends, such as in its emphasis...

  15. APPENDIX A: The Werwolf as a Research Problem: A Historiographical Essay
    (pp. 289-299)
  16. APPENDIX B: Charts and Tables
    (pp. 300-304)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 305-416)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 417-424)
  19. Illustration Sources and Credits
    (pp. 425-426)
  20. Index
    (pp. 427-455)