Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations. Hosted by George Lepre.
Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Feb 2022 08:16

Hi

You post, "The Earls Court meeting was a very well attended event."

Earls Court is an indoor venue. The country then had about 45 million people. Filling (?) one hall on one particular day cannot be taken as representative of widespread support in the country as a whole.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Peter » 09 Feb 2022 11:12

Reading Adrian Weale's study, the nationalities within the BFC are interesting, I had thought all of the 20+ who remained for more than a few months were British but found that there were members of British, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and South African forces, a civilian seaman/adventurer who had been a member of the International Brigade in Spain and a confused ships cabin boy captured at sea in his early teens. At times it included members with some German and Baltic parentage and as mentioned above BQMS Brown who was causing problems from the outset while working for British Secret Services. I had not realised that men came and went regularly so the personnel of the BFC were permanently changing.

There is a thread on here naming a series of US born Germans who were killed on the Eastern Front.
viewtopic.php?f=51&t=13632


I guess in every military force in every conflict there are lads who are misfits for many reasons and always opportunists, thinking of "defectors" in Korea, Vietnam, etc.

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Feb 2022 22:12

I would repeat what I posted earlier:

I suspect there was no American equivalent to the British Free Corps because Americans are not a race and race was a central Nazi fixation.

German Americans were considered recoverable German ethnic stock and so did not merit or require their own unit. They could serve in the Wehrmacht, as some did: https://www.axishistory.com/books/137-g ... -waffen-ss

Other Americans of European stock fitted into existing European ethnicities, for most of which the German Army or Waffen-SS had units.

African Americans were never going to be recruited by the Nazis on racial grounds and I doubt there were significant numbers of native Americans captured anyway. I doubt the Nazis even had a policy regarding the latter.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 10 Feb 2022 03:44

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Feb 2022 22:12
I suspect there was no American equivalent to the British Free Corps because Americans are not a race and race was a central Nazi fixation.
Neither are "Britons" ... and yet the Nazis spent some resources to try and organize whatever the British Legion was supposed to be. :D

Presumably, the Western Europeans who threw their lot in with Nazi Germany were a mix of opportunists, the deluded, fellow travelers, and sociopaths; the Eastern Europeans, given the realities of an expansionist Germany at one side and an expansionist USSR on the other, tried to make the best choices they could to avoid being murdered out of hand, as POWs or otherwise.

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WAR LORD
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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by WAR LORD » 10 Feb 2022 12:57

Some of the volunteers of the BFC were mixed race German and British. This lead to problems particularly when taken into captivity.

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Feb 2022 23:26

Hi daveshoup,

You post, "Neither are "Britons" ... (a race) and yet the Nazis spent some resources to try and organize whatever the British Legion was supposed to be."

Given that virtually everyone of non-post-war immigrant stock has some ancestry from all parts of the British Isles, this is questionable. Even more questionable is whether the English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh or Cornish still exist as races rather than states of mind!

The Nazis may have made a good racial call in forming a BUF rather than separate EUFs, SUFs, IUFs, WUFs and CUFs.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 10 Feb 2022 23:43

WAR LORD wrote:
10 Feb 2022 12:57
Some of the volunteers of the BFC were mixed race German and British. This lead to problems particularly when taken into captivity.
"German" and "British" - in the context of 1940, or 2020 - were - and are - nationalities. :roll:

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Sheldrake
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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Sheldrake » 11 Feb 2022 02:43

daveshoup2MD wrote:
10 Feb 2022 23:43
WAR LORD wrote:
10 Feb 2022 12:57
Some of the volunteers of the BFC were mixed race German and British. This lead to problems particularly when taken into captivity.
"German" and "British" - in the context of 1940, or 2020 - were - and are - nationalities. :roll:
Hmm, you could be black or Jewish and still be British whereas in1940s Nazi Germany.....

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 11 Feb 2022 02:48

Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2022 02:43
daveshoup2MD wrote:
10 Feb 2022 23:43
WAR LORD wrote:
10 Feb 2022 12:57
Some of the volunteers of the BFC were mixed race German and British. This lead to problems particularly when taken into captivity.
"German" and "British" - in the context of 1940, or 2020 - were - and are - nationalities. :roll:
Hmm, you could be black or Jewish and still be British whereas in1940s Nazi Germany.....
Unless you were Milch, apparently.

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WAR LORD
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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by WAR LORD » 11 Feb 2022 13:09

At least 2 members had problems. One left for Germany before the start of the War directly from problems he experienced pre war. Another having close ties with Germany, due to parentage, volunterd for the piece corp only to be scooped up by the Germans.

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by LAstry » 12 Feb 2022 02:26

There were a number of US Born persons in german services...see
viewtopic.php?f=51&t=13632&start=45

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Feb 2022 12:14

Not a US Citizen, but the story I enjoyed was that of Bruno Frieser, the author of "Panzer Gunner: From My Native Canada to the German Osfront and Back. In Action with 25th Panzer Regiment, 7th Panzer Division 1944-45"https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007QUY4KO/ ... TF8&btkr=1

A German family from the Soviet Union emigrate to Canada in the 1930s - in time for the depression. They relocate to Germany attracted by the offers masde to Germans world wide. The two teenage boys end up in the Wehrmacht. Bruno surivives and returns to Canada and is maybe naive enough to feel bitter about being denied the benefits offered to returning Canadian servicemen...

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by NickA » 15 Feb 2022 12:33

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Feb 2022 22:12
African Americans were never going to be recruited by the Nazis on racial grounds
I think we should be careful before throwing round these imputations - I could have sworn I saw in here a picture of two German soldiers in France with their French girlfriends (each in the others clothes!) One of the German soldiers was black.

In fact, every interaction we know of between blacks and the Nazi regime makes the Nazis look entirely tolerant. Angry attempts were made to claim that Jesse Owens was discriminated against Hitler by Hitler - but Owen's friends claim that he carried round a picture of them together. For sure, he was put up in hotels with his white team members as couldn't happen in the US. Owens was hideously discriminated against by all Americans - and tricked/forced out of all further competition against white Americans or earning anywhere near what his talent was worth.

And the third example (I have a pot of 3 only!) - France is finally recognising Josephine Baker. She suffered some racism in France but nothing like what she'd suffered in the US. And the Nazi officers in occupation of France were (supposedly, not sure there's real evidence of this!) much too willing to be charmed by her.
https://www.npr.org/2021/11/30/1059776777/josephine-baker-france-pantheon?t=1644924437297 wrote:November 30, 2021 - PARIS — Josephine Baker ... given France's highest honor on Tuesday when she was inducted into the French Pantheon, the nation's mausoleum of heroes.

Baker is the first performing artist, first Black woman and first American to be honored with a Pantheon induction ... French President Emmanuel Macron presided over Tuesday evening's official ceremony, broadcast live on French television and which included Baker's family members, politicians, Monaco's Prince Albert II and crowds of spectators. "She broke down barriers," Macron said. "She became part of the hearts and minds of French people ... Josephine Baker, you enter the Pantheon because while you were born American, deep down there was no one more French than you."

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Feb 2022 13:57

Hi NickA,

.... and I think you should be careful about generalizing from reported cases of German fraternization with one black woman, (who was actually working for the French resistance), a possibly faulty memory of a photo of a black German soldier, (which is completely unsourced), and a report that a black US athlete carried a photo of himself with Hitler (for reasons unexplained, but quite possibly not at all complimentary to the Fuhrer and his theories on Germanic racial superiority, and which is not illustrated or linked).

"Whataboutism" regarding the fact that the USA had widespread discrimination against its Black citizens at the time in no way detracts from the proposition that "African Americans were never going to be recruited by the Nazis on racial grounds". If you want to see the Nazi attitude to Black people, you should perhaps look up the fate of the so-called "Rhineland Bastards", who were the mixed-race offspring of French African soldiers and German women after WWI.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why was there no American equivalent to the British Free Corps?

Post by NickA » 17 Feb 2022 01:13

Sid Guttridge wrote:
15 Feb 2022 13:57
If you want to see the Nazi attitude to Black people, you should perhaps look up the fate of the so-called "Rhineland Bastards", who were the mixed-race offspring of French African soldiers and German women after WWI.
Hating the illegitimate children of collaborators with the occupation (the French in the Ruhr) is a wholly different kettle of fish from racism. Especially in a population that had just suffered starvation and 800,000 dead and every crust still counted.

And one needs to be aware that Hitler was a huge fan of everything American - eugenics and sterilization weren't just copied from there (and justified by reference to what was legal) but introduced by Carnegie and Susan Mellon. Any German working with them was bound to think that negroes were a useful testbed.
https://textbookhistory.com/eugenics-in-20th-century-biology-textbooks/ wrote:The chart ... is based on review of 80 textbooks published between 1907 and 1969. ... as a rule, textbooks first published in the years prior to 1938 were generally more eugenic than average in their later editions, and textbooks published from 1938 on were generally less eugenic than average in their later editions ... the data demonstrate no sharp drop in the presentation of the topic through the 30s, 40s and 50s, only a gradual decline. This supports Wendy Kline’s claim from Building a Better Race (2001) that the eugenics movement was not “weak and discredited after 1930,” as many scholars contend, but had worked its way deeply into the popular consciousness.
I've posted two well known and one somewhat mysterious examples of how actual Germans treated actual black people, the only such cases I can think of. Germans treated all three of them well - my two better known examples even very well. Its not hard evidence but its better than sweeping generalisations from people with an ax to grind.

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