The Forgotten Axis

Germany’s Partners and Foreign Volunteers in World War II

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About the Book

The mention of World War II German soldiers conjures images of strong, Aryan young men born in Germany and raised under the Third Reich. However, throughout the war, more than 3 million foreigners served in Nazi Germany’s armed services, comprising 18 percent of the entire German force. These non–German soldiers included 1.5 million Austrians, 350,000 Sudetenlanders, and approximately 200,000 Poles, as well as Czechs, Slovaks, Norwegians, Danes, Belgians, Romanians, Finns, Bulgarians and other nationalities. Whether converts, conscripts or reluctant volunteers, these foreigners served throughout the armed forces and participated in all major operations. This volume offers the first in-depth exploration of the motives and experiences of these non–German German soldiers, providing a new perspective on the military history of the Axis powers.

About the Author(s)

J. Lee Ready is a military historian living in Preston, Lancashire, England.

Bibliographic Details

J. Lee Ready
Format: softcover (6 x 9 in 2 vols.)
Pages: 575
Bibliographic Info: maps, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1987]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7169-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9345-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Volume 1

Acknowledgments      viii

Part One: The German New Order and the Unification of Europe

1. Conversion by the Sword      1

The Germans: United by the Sword and the Cross      1

The Austrians: Hitler’s Converts      6

Czechoslovakia: Ally and Enemy      8

2. The Poles and the Racial Crusade      15

3. Nationalist Crusades: The Politics of Desperation      25

The British Empire      25

The Finns: Crusaders of the North      30

Norway and Denmark: Survival of the Viking Spirit      34

Denmark      36

The Dutch: The Other Germanic Empire      37

4. Cross of Fire: French Nationalist Elan      40

5. Unfinished Crusades: Greece, Yugoslavia      44

Greece      44

Yugoslavia      48

6. Collaboration or Cooperation: Germany’s Friends in Europe      55

Slovakia      55

Norway      55

Denmark      56

Netherlands      57

Belgium      59

France      60

The Anti- Bolshevik Crusade      67

7. The Eastern Axis: Hungary and Romania      71

Hungary      71

Romania      74

8. The First Crusaders: Fascist Italy      79

Part Two: The Battle of the Kingdom of the Mind

9. The Crusaders of the Crooked Cross

The Invaders of the Soviet Union      107

10. The Soviet Union: A Prison for Nations      113

11. In Defense of Mother Russia      132

12. Throng to the East      139

Northern Sector      139

Central Sector      143

Southern Sector      144

Northern Sector      149

Central Sector      152

Southern Sector      153

13. The Purification of the Occupied Territories      155

14. Yugoslavia: The Cauldron      167

15. The Middle East and the Failure of the Jihad      179

16. The Americans and the Un- Americans      188

17. The Crooked Cross and the Hammer and Sickle      192

Northern Sector      195

Southern Sector      198

18. United in Fear and Ignorance: Anti- Bandit Units in the East      209

The Partisan Problem      215

Anti- Partisan Operations      218

19. The Protected Ones: The Czechs      223

20. Axis France      229

21. The Godforsaken Crusade: The Russian Front 1942–1943      237

Northern Sector      250

22. Osttruppen: Indigenous Security Forces in the East      254

Anti- Partisan Warfare      260

23. The Nationalist/Fascist Alliance in the Balkans      278

Yugoslavia      278

Greece      287

Albania      291

Volume 2

24. Europe’s First Army      295

The Rear Forces      301

25. The Defeat of Italian Fascism      308

26. The Beginning of the End: The Surrender of Italy      335

27. In Defense of the Crusade: The Occupied East 1944      341

28. The Lost Crusade: The Eastern Front 1944      361

Northern Sector      361

Southern Sector      362

29. The Crooked Cross and the Cross of Lorraine      374

30. Axis Belgium      388

31. Crusade in Italy      392

32. Germany’s Partners: The Home Front      398

Hungary      398

Romania      400

Bulgaria      402

33. The Balkan Campaign      405

34. Greek Crusade      413

35. The Northern Stronghold      423

Netherlands      423

Norway      432

Denmark      436

36. The Defense of the West      441

Part Three: In Defense of Christian Civilization

37. Balkan Debacle      445

38. Germany—Heart of the Reich      453

39. The Sinking Ship      462

40. The Destruction of the Last Crusade      470

41. The End of the Axis      477

42. Sauve Qui Peut      489

43. Summary      502

44. Aftermath      516

Appendix A      525

Appendix B      527

Sources      529

Documents      529

Edited Works      529

Published Books      530

Index      537

Book Reviews & Awards

“invaluable”—Strategypage.com; “scope is broad…this is a tragic and little-known story that deserves to be told”—Choice; “a worthwhile study”—World War II Investigator; “this is a unique and readable history of Nazi Germany’s Axis partners such as Finland, Romania Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, and Vichy, France. This unconventional book covers a portion of history not often thought of and never discussed”—Reference & Research Book News.