Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944-1946

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University of Toronto Press, 1998 - History - 455 pages
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Near the end of the Second World War, a National Socialist resistance movement, known as the Werwolf, flickered briefly to life in Germany and its borderlands. Dedicated to delaying the advance of the Allies on both fronts, the Werwolf succeeded in scattered acts of sabotage and violence. By the spring of 1945, it also showed signs of becoming a vengeful Nazi reaction against the German populace itself. 'Collaborators' and 'defeatists' were frequently assassinated, and crude posters warned that certain death would follow any failure to resist the enemy.

Werwolf violence failed to mobilize a spirit of national resistance. Biddiscombe argues that the group was poorly led, armed, and organized, and that it was doomed to failure given the war-weariness of the populace and the hesitancy of young Germans to sacrifice themselves on the funeral pyre of the regime. He also demonstrates that although the group failed to assume a popular character, its influence was still great and its revolutionary sentiments would have grave implications for the future.

Werwolf! is the most complete history to date of the Nazi partisan movement. It will be of great interest to general readers as well as to military historians.


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I have only read a few pages of this but I am dubious of its merits because the author evidently doesn't know Germany or the German language very well, if at all. In particular, I notice that he refers to "Naumann praising a boy in Kauderwelsch that had shot a Canadian soldier in the back." Evidently there should be a town in Germany called Kauderwelsch. No, what it means is that Naumann praised the boy in confused language. Kauderwelsch means roughly: gibberish.
So, I really think that Biddiscombe was not very careful.

Review: Werwolf! the History of the Nationalist Socialist Guerilla Movement, 1944-1946

User Review  - Dschreiber - Goodreads

Interesting study of a movement that is not not very well known. But reading it was strangely anticlimactic, because the movement never really amounted to anything. More space is devoted to ... Read full review


The Organization of the SSWerwolf 12 The Eastern Front 19 The Western
The Militarization of the Hitler Youth 57 The Hitler Youth Guerrilla
The Military and the Kleinkrieg
Military Opinions Change
Werwolf Redoubts
The Liineburg Heath 152SchleswigHolstein 154TheSauerland 156The
Western Allied and Soviet Reactions to the Werwolf
Postwar Allied Control Measures 264 Allied Military Strategy and the Threat
Consequences and Significance of the Werwolf
The Werwolf as a Research Problem A Historiographical
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About the author (1998)

PERRY BIDDISCOMBE is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Victoria.

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