Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
It is possible to say with confidence that all of Europe – united by Germany – fought against the Soviet Russia in 1941-45. The number of Europeans alone taken captive by the Red Army troops — 1,231,048 people (without taking into account Austrians). From them, 766,901 were from the countries that declared war against the USSR¹, the other 464,000 were French, Belgians, Czechs and so on.
And this is only those taken captive. Factor in: those who surrendered to allies, those who were killed, and those who survived, and also the Austrians² — you will get quite an impressive figure.
At the same time it is necessary to consider the fact that to recruit such a quantity of unreliable people is a very dangerous occupation if your aim is to win the war. And the Germans had such a purpose.
Europe was “united” in less than a year — from September, 1939, to July, 1940, (Greece and Yugoslavia resisted longer than the others, but by June, 1941, they entered into the analog of the EU at that time).
And on June 30th, 1941, Hitler made a certain intermediate conclusion: “European unity is a result of a joint war against Russia”
The German author and professor K. Pfeffer wrote in 1953: “Most of the volunteers of Western European countries went on the Eastern front only because they saw in it a common task for all of the West… Volunteers from Western Europe, as a rule, were attached to SS units…”
The European “resistance movement” was in many respects mythologized (France, for example, in general is considered as a winner country³), its merits are considerably extolled. Especially now, when in some countries the majority is unaware of the participation of the USSR in the war and doesn’t guess.
But, let us assume, in the French resistance movement in five years 20,000 (from 40 million) French died. However, over the same period of time between 40,000-50,000 (i.e., 2-2.5 times more) French died who fought on the side of Germany⁴.
¹ This is: Hungary, Romania, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Croatia, Finland. Spain and Denmark entered the war without an official declaration of war, as well as Germany.
² In material from where these figures were taken, the Austrians are counted together with Germans.
³ And Poland is ranked with the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, although its government in exile from London declared war on the Soviet Union on December 18th, 1939 (the so-called Angers declaration). An interesting episode took place in November, 1942, in North Africa: Anglo-American troops that entered into battle under the command of General Eisenhower at first battled against the 200,000 strong army of the French.
⁴ After June 22nd, 1941, there were voluntary legions under the names “Flanders”, “Netherlands”, “Wallonia”, “Denmark”, etc, which turned into the voluntary SS “Nordland” (Scandinavian), “Langemark” (Belgian-Flemish), “Charlemagne” (French), etc. divisions (the name of the latter is especially expressive because Charlemagne is, in French, Charles the Great, who united Europe).
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