Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
steve248
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Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by steve248 » 24 Aug 2020 09:57

I will add a bit more on this topic as it came up when I was writing a book.
1. I do not believe that the Soviet Army had a fighting unit composed of communists from Germany or other nations.
2. Reason: despite their communist credentials those of fighting age were not completely trusted.
3. German communists were conscripted by the German army (conscription knows no boundaries) and sent to fighting units on the eastern front; unsurprisingly many deserted to the Soviet side. A small number, maybe 30-40, were accepted by the Soviet side for training as parachute agents and returned to Germany and Austria. Most, if not all, were captured and turned over to the Gestapo. One survivor of such Gestapo captivity was Robert Barth. Postwar handed himself over to the British who handed him over to the Soviets - he claimed to be one of their agents - despatched to Moscow, tried and shot as a traitor.
4. Strangely the German and Austrian communists who came to Britain to escape Nazi persecution decided to live a quiet life, at British taxpayers expense, until the end of the war and eventually returned to their homelands.
5. British Intelligence mostly ignored these communists whereas OSS decided to train at least three who were dropped by parachute into Germany in 1945. I do not think they were captured.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Aug 2020 17:10

steve248 wrote:
24 Aug 2020 09:57
4. Strangely the German and Austrian communists who came to Britain to escape Nazi persecution decided to live a quiet life, at British taxpayers expense, until the end of the war and eventually returned to their homelands.
5. British Intelligence mostly ignored these communists whereas OSS decided to train at least three who were dropped by parachute into Germany in 1945. I do not think they were captured.
That is not wholly true. The King's Most Loyal Enemy Aliens: Germans Who Fought for Britain in the Second World War by Helen Fry includes accounts of German and Austrians communists who fought for Britain. Originally all enemy aliens were interned on camps. Then the men were allowed to volunteer to work as un armed pioneers, and then in various armed services including as interpreters and in special forces. Around 10,000 served. Fry's book focuses on Jewish refugees. However I know of two men who were clearly committed socialists or communists.

Richard Lehringer died on Operation Aquatint, one of the first allied soldiers to die on what would be famous as Omaha Beach https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find- ... 0LEHNIGER/
The personal message on his gravestone makes his political sympathies clear.
Rudi Friedlander (Robert Lodge) DCM 2 SAS killed on Op Louten seems to have been another politically motivated soldier.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Aug 2020 07:41

According to Goebbels, he was not worried about Communist radio broadcasts because, ".....they no longer have a constituency" inside Germany. By contrast, he was worried about the potential of Vatican Radio, as the Catholic Church still did have masses of adherents inside Germany.

Sid.

steve248
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Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by steve248 » 25 Aug 2020 08:02

I was making the case that there was no fighting unit (i.e. field unit) composed of communists on the eastern front and did say intelligence agencies employed them.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why didn't the US or UK fight on the Eastern Front?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Aug 2020 08:22

Hi Steve248,

The Yugoslav Partisans raised an Austrian "battalion" and a German "company", though these were more like a company and a platoon when Partisan nomenclature inflation is taken into account.

Cheers,

Sid.

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