Degrelle II. [Conclusion]
This is coolbert:
Here is the type of article that Michael Medved would point to as evidence of his assertion that the Institute for Historical Research [IHR] is a neo-Nazi, fascist organization.
"This essay by Leon Degrelle (1906-1994), was first presented at the Fourth IHR Conference in Chicago (Sept. 1982)"
[here are some various extracts from the essay with my comments in BOLD!]
"If I should have a son I would like him to be like Leon [Degrelle]." - - A. Hitler.
From the introduction to the essay:
"He [Degrelle] studied at the University of Louvain, where he acquired a doctorate in law. He was -and is -also interested in other academic disciplines, such as political science, art, archeology and Tomistic philosophy."
That he graduated is disputed. Was at the university - - but graduated? Was a man of all-seasons, protean intellect?
"By the time he reached twenty he had already published five books and operated his own weekly newspaper."
Degrelle originally worked as a journalist and covered the Cristero rebellion in Mexico. THIS TOO IS DISPUTED! Degrelle was to some extent a fabulist? A person that tells tall tales. Embellishment of reality. Degrelle also claimed to be the inspiration for the Belgian comic book character Tintin. Tintin is portrayed as a journalist who has been everywhere, done it all and seen it all, knew everyone that is somebody! A person similar to Flashman, Baron Munchausen, Indiana Jones. Degrelle can be forgiven for thinking he was the inspiration for Tintin? A certain similarity did exist?
"fabulist - - noun - - a person who tells or invents fables"
"After joining as a private he earned all stripes from corporal to general for exceptional bravery in combat. He engaged in seventy-five hand-to-hand combat actions. He was wounded on numerous occasions."
That Degrelle served in the Waffen SS and was courageous in combat is not in dispute! I was skeptical, at first, of the claim of having engaged in seventy-five hand-to-hand combat actions AND SURVIVED!!?? Is this possible? Degrelle WAS awarded the Close Combat Clasp. A particularly unique German decoration as distinguished from the traditional Infantry Combat Badge.
"The Infantry Combat Badge . . . a recognition of combat action as an infantryman."
[the Infantry Combat Badge is more or less identical to the U.S. Combat Infantryman Badge!]
The Close Combat Clasp was for having participated in infantry combat above and beyond that of the ordinary.
"All combat days in which the soldier had the opportunity to be close enough to 'see the white of the enemy's eyes', use close combat weapons to assault the enemy man-to-man and be victorious."
"Close Combat Clasp . . . a German military award . . . for achievement in hand to hand fighting in close quarters. The Close Combat Clasp was worn above the upper left uniform pocket. The clasp . . . consisting of . . . a crossed bayonet and hand grenade"
I am thinking the Close Combat Clasp was awarded for trench raid style warfare. The crossed bayonet and hand grenade symbolic of the closeness of the combatants. Seeing the enemy up close and in person.
For what it is worth, Oskar Dirlewanger [wounded twelve times in combat] and Joachim Peiper both also won the Close Combat Clasp.
From the essay of Degrelle itself:
"Hitler was a man of the people, a man who succeeded in wiping out unemployment, a feat unsurpassed to this day. Within two years he gave work to six million Germans and got rid of rampant poverty. In five years the German worker doubled his income without inflation."
This at a time, during the depression era, when Roosevelt in the U.S. was attempting to deal with American unemployment and NOT finding a remedy.
See too my blog entry where the five part article by Professor Kershaw is cited.
"He literally rebuilt Germany. In a few years more than five thousand miles of freeways were built. For the worker the affordable Volkswagen was created. Any worker could get this car on a payment of five marks a week."
The "Peoples car"! The Volkswagen. Also the subject of a prior blog entry. Was made into an efficient military staff car and utility vehicle. "He built the autobahn!" They always say that!
"What were these concentration camps?"
Dachau (1933), Sachsenhausen (1936), Buchenwald (1937), Flossenbürg (1938), Mauthausen (1939), and Ravensbrück (1939). Camps [pre-war only?] filled will POLITICAL dissidents. And we are not talking about wartime forced-labor camps full of displaced persons and impressed "workers" [slaves]!
"They were just work camps where intractable communists were put to work. They were well treated because it was thought they would be converted sooner or later to patriotism. There were two concentration camps with a total of three thousand men. Three thousand out of a total of six million card-carrying members of the Communist Party. That represents one per two thousand. Right until the war there were fewer than ten thousand inmates."
Two camps with a total population of three thousand men? That figure sounds very low. Two camps only? This is a pre-war figure? And while Degrelle may have his figures right, it could also be misleading. Three thousand men imprisoned at any given moment. But a continuous movement of inmates in and out? Three thousand for three months, that number released, replaced by another three thousand, etc.
"Military and academic instruction were intensive, but it was the physical training that was the most rigorous. They [officer candidates] practice sports with excellence. Each of them [officer candidates] would have performed with distinction at the Olympic games."
This too is misleading. The instructors at the Junker Schulen for the SS officer candidate training were of Olympic caliber. NO doubt about that. BUT NOT the trainees. The officer cadets would receive first-class physical training instruction from Olympic class athletes in various disciplines, boxing, fencing, shooting, track and field events, equestrian events, etc., but I would think NOT able to compete at the Olympics.
"It was on the front lines that the results of the SS physical training could really be noticed. An SS officer had the same rigorous training as the soldiers. Those officers and privates competed in the same sports events, and only the best man won, regardless of rank. This created a real brotherhood which literally energized the entire Waffen SS."
ALL [?] officers of the SS HAD TO HAVE SERVED AS AN ENLISTED MAN PRIOR TO RECEIVING A COMMISSION! Already experienced in the ways of the military and knowing the tasks of the enlisted. Degrelle followed this route? Enlisted as a private, working his way to the rank of general, based upon ABILITY!?
"There was also the ideological training. They were taught why they were fighting, what kind of Germany was being resurrected before their very eyes."
Similar to the practice of the various Soviet and Chinese Red communists armies and even the Marine Raiders under Evans Carlson. Political indoctrination! WHY WE FIGHT being stressed. "The moral is to the physical as three is to one" - - Napoleon!
"Young SS [officer candidates] were educated in two military academies, one in Bad Toelz the other in Braunschweig."
Bad Tolz I have blogged about previously. Braunschweig I have never heard of. Googling Braunschweig turns up empty too.
"Stalin's real intent is revealed in the minutes of the Soviet High Command, also in my possession. Stalin states his intent to come into the war the moment Hitler and the Western powers have annihilated each other. Stalin had great interest in marking time and letting others fight first. I have read his military plans and I have seen how they were achieved. By 1941 Stalin's ten thousand tanks had increased to 17,999, the next year they would have been 32,000, ten times more than Germany's. The air force would also have been 10 to 1 in Stalin's favor."
This is the "M-Day" hypothesis. Originally proposed by the Soviet dissident General Grigorenko and expounded upon by Suvorov. A Soviet attack on Germany and subsequently upon the rest of western Europe. Pre-empted by the German attack of 22 June.
"The relationship of equality and mutual respect between soldiers and officers was always present. Half of all division commanders were killed in action. Half! There is not an army in the world where this happened. The SS officer always led his troops to battle. I was engaged in seventy-five hand-to-hand combats because as an SS officer I had to be the first to meet the enemy."
The actions of Oskar Dirlewanger have been noted in a prior blog entry. Oskar was the archetype of the SS officer leading from the front? Wounded twelve times in combat! Notwithstanding the fact Oskar was demonstrably a sociopath, he DID have physical courage!
"The life expectancy of an SS officer at the front was three months. In Estonia I received ten new young officers from Bad Toelz academy one Monday; by Thursday, one was left and he was wounded."
This was quite common on the Eastern Front during WW2? Casualties were obscenely grotesque on both sides!
"First there was the German, then the Germanic, and now there was the European Waffen SS. 125,000 would then volunteer to save Western Culture and Civilization."
Leon felt that the Waffen SS with it's contingents of non-Germanic volunteers represented the first pan-European army. NOT quite true. The Roman Legions consisted of volunteers from all over the Empire. The forces of the Holy League at Lepanto included "troops" from a variety of European nations. And the army of Napoleon that marched on Russia  included French, German, Italian, Polish soldiers!
"the Waffen SS enlarged its ranks to include 60,000 Islamic SS. The Waffen SS respected their way of life, their customs, and their religious beliefs. Each Islamic SS battalion had an imam, each company had a mullah. It was our common wish that their qualities found their highest expression. This was our racialism."
These would have been Albanian and Bosnia Muslims. Contingents used on the Eastern Front and also for anti-partisan operations in Yugoslavia. The fact that there even existed Islamic SS units is often cited by Israeli commentators as evidence that Islam as a faith is not averse to fascist doctrine. There are even reports of refugees from the Islamic SS units fighting with the Palestinians against Israeli forces, circa 1948! My own perception is that the Bosnian and Albanian Muslim SS units were comprised of troops that fought for reasons other than finding fascism to be agreeable to them!
"I was the first one to have Catholic padres in the Waffen SS. Later padres of all denominations were available to all those who wanted them. The Islamic SS division had their own mullahs and the French even had a bishop!"
The German SS was very irreligious? NOT Christian in any sense, atheists is perhaps the best description! Hitler and the highest echelons of the Nazi regime were that way? The Nazi as pagans is far-fetched? Himmler went through the motions of trying to resurrect paganism, but that was mostly theatre?
Foreign volunteers did retain their religious precepts? Degrelle of course was very religious [Catholic] and would have seen fascism as a foil to atheistic communism. The incident where Degrelle was declared excommunicate was a result of his beating up a Catholic priest. At a vital stage of the campaign on the Eastern Front, Degrelle had the order of excommunication lifted, perhaps as a result of his confession?
"I was laid down with a deep side wound and 102 degree temperature. As general in command of the SS Wallonia forces I knew that all this was not conducive to high morale. I got up and for 17 days I led charge after charge to break the blockade, engaged in numerous hand-to-hand combats, was wounded four times but never stopped fighting."
This was the combat of the Cherkassy Pocket. Russia, 1944.
And, in conclusion:
"Look at the Common Market of today [today is 1982]. It is a failure. There is no unifying ideal. Everything is based on haggling over the price of tomatoes, steel, coal, or booze. Fruitful unions are based on something a little higher than that."
Well, here, Leon is absolutely right. The recent proposed European Union [EU] constitution was - - what is it - - 400 or so pages, and out-of-hand rejected when it came up for a vote in the various constituent nations forming the EU! NO sound foundation for a "fruitful union" based upon quicksand? The EU is built upon nothing more solid than the concept of the "welfare state"?