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Werwolf pennant[1]

Werwolf (pronounced , German for "werewolf") was the name given to a Nazi plan, which began development in 1944,[2] to create a resistance force which would operate behind enemy lines as the Allies advanced through Germany. However Werwolf's propaganda value far outweighed its actual achievements.


  • Nomenclature 1
  • Operations 2
    • Propaganda 2.1
    • Recruits 2.2
    • Weaponry and tactics 2.3
    • Wartime capture of Werwolf personnel 2.4
  • Misconceptions 3
  • Assessment by historians 4
  • Alleged Werwolf actions 5
  • Allied reprisals 6
    • Soviet Reprisals 6.1
    • US Army control measures 6.2
    • Actions of the British occupying forces 6.3
  • Similar organizations 7
    • Within Germany 7.1
    • Within Denmark 7.2
    • Second Iraq War 7.3
  • In popular culture 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
    • Notes 10.1
  • Further reading 11
    • Bibliography 11.1
  • External links 12


The name was chosen after the title of Werwölfe in that Wulf's men came to enjoy killing.[4] While Löns was not himself a Nazi (he died in 1914), his work was popular with the German far right, and the Nazis celebrated it. Indeed, Celle's local newspaper began serialising Der Wehrwolf in January 1945.[5]

It may also be of relevance to the naming of the organisation that in 1942 OKW and OKH's field headquarters at Vinnitsa in Ukraine were christened "Werwolf" by Adolf Hitler,[6] and Hitler on a number of occasions had used "Wolf" as a pseudonym for himself. The etymology of the name Adolf itself is Noble (adal; Mod. German Adel) Wolf, while Hitler's first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters were labeled Wolfsschanze, commonly rendered in English as "Wolf's Lair", though the literal translation would be "Wolf's Sconce".


Obergruppenführer Hans-Adolf Prützmann (right) meets with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, during Himmler's visit of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking in Ukraine, September 1942.

In late summer/early autumn 1944, Soviet partisans while stationed in the occupied territories of Ukraine, and the idea was to teach these tactics to the members of Operation Werwolf.[8]


Rumors of a secret Nazi guerrilla organization began to surface soon after the Allied invasion of Normandy. The January 27, 1945 issue of Collier's Weekly featured a detailed article by Major Edwin Lessner, stating that elite SS and Hitler Youth were being trained to attack Allied forces and opening with a 1944 quote from Joseph Goebbels: "The enemy (invading German territory) will be taken in the rear by the fanatical population, which will ceaselessly worry him, tie down strong forces and allow him no rest or exploitation of any possible success."[9]

On March 23, 1945, Goebbels gave a speech known as the "Werwolf speech", in which he urged every German to fight to the death. The partial dismantling of the organised Werwolf, combined with the effects of the Werwolf speech, caused considerable confusion about which subsequent attacks were actually carried out by Werwolf members, as opposed to solo acts by fanatical Nazis or small groups of SS.

The Werwolf propaganda station "Radio Werwolf" broadcast from Nauen near Berlin, beginning on 1 April 1945. Broadcasts began with the sound of a wolf howling and a song featuring the lyrics, "My werewolf teeth bite the enemy / And then he's done and then he's gone / Hoo, hoo hoo."[10] The initial broadcast stated that the Nazi Party was ordering every German to "stand his ground and do or die against the Allied armies, who are preparing to enslave Germans.[11] Every Bolshevik, every Englishman, every American on our soil must be a target for our movement ... Any German, whatever his profession or class, who puts himself at the service of the enemy and collaborates with him will feel the effect of our avenging hand ... A single motto remains for us: 'Conquer or die.' "[12]

British and American newspapers widely reported the text of Radio Werwolf broadcasts, fueling rumors among occupation forces.[13] Armed Forces Radio reminded American soldiers that

"Every friendly German civilian is a disguised soldier of hate. Armed with the inner conviction that the Germans are still superior ... [they believe] that one day it will be their destiny to destroy you. Their hatred and their anger ... are deeply buried in their blood. A smile is their weapon by which to disarm you ... In heart, body and spirit every German is Hitler."[14]


Gauleiters were to suggest suitable recruits, who would then be trained at secret locations in the Rhineland and Berlin. The chief training centre in the West was at Hülchrath Castle near Erkelenz, which by early 1945 was training around 200 recruits mostly drawn from the Hitler Youth.[15]

Werwolf originally had about five thousand members recruited from the SS and the Hitler Youth. These recruits were specially trained in guerrilla tactics. Operation Werwolf went so far as to establish front companies to ensure continued fighting in those areas of Germany that were occupied (all of the "front companies" were discovered and shut down within eight months). However, as it became clear that the reputedly impregnable Alpine Fortress, from which operations were to be directed by the Nazi leadership in the event that the rest of Germany was occupied, was yet another delusion. Werwolf was converted into a terrorist organisation in the last few weeks of the war.

Weaponry and tactics

Werwolf agents were supposed to have at their disposal a vast assortment of weapons, from fire-proof coats to silenced

  • Werwolf! The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944–1946Review of Canadian Journal of History, Dec 1999 by Lawrence D Stokes

External links

  • Biddiscombe, Perry (2004). The Last Nazis: SS Werewolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe 1944-194. Tempus Publishing.  
  • Biddiscombe, Perry (1998). Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944–1946.  


  • Hellmuth Auerbach, Die Organisation des "Werwolf"
  • Arno Rose, Werwolf, 1944–1945
  • Klaus-Dietmar Henke, Die amerikanische Besetzung Deutschlands
  • Charles Whiting, Hitler's Werewolves
  • James Lucas, Kommando (part 4)

Further reading

  1. ^ Rundschau; Deutsches Schneiderfachblatt für das Gesamte Schneidergewerbe
  2. ^ Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe, at 546 (The Penguin Press 2008)
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Watt, Roderick H. (October 1992). "Wehrwolf or Werwolf? Literature, Legend, or Lexical Error into Nazi Propaganda?". The Modern Language Review (The Modern Language Review, Vol. 87, No. 4) 87 (4): 879–895.  
  5. ^ Neumann, Klaus (2000). Shifting Memories: The Nazi Past in the New Germany. University of Michigan Press. p. 50.  
  6. ^ Warlimont, Walter (1964). Inside Hitler's Headquarters, 1939–45. F.A. Praeger. p. 246. 
  7. ^  
  8. ^ a b c d (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 464)
  9. ^ January 27, 1945, p. 14.Collier's Weekly,Major Erwin Lessner, "Hitler's Final V Weapon: The Nazis are carefully building a program for a guerrilla blitzkrieg,"
  10. ^ "Hoo, Hoo, Hoo,' Lily the Werewolf Sings on Radio," The Washington Post, Apr 6, 1945; p. 1.
  11. ^ "NAZI UNDERGROUND IN ACTION, FOE SAYS: German Radio Asserts It Is Fighting in Occupied Areas, Issues 'Do or Die Order,'" The New York Times, Apr 2, 1945; p. 7.
  12. ^ "Werwolf and Colonel Biu Tin: lessons in the psychological aspects of war." Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006.
  13. ^ "Werewolves' Nuisance Value May Be Great," The Washington Post, Apr 10, 1945; p. 2.
  14. ^ a b c Fritz, Stephen G. (2004). Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 218 – 219.  
  15. ^ Dearn, Alan; Elizabeth Sharp (2006). The Hitler Youth 1933–45.  
  16. ^ Gilbert, James L., John P. Finnegan and Ann Bray. In the Shadow of the Sphynx: A History of Army Counterintelligence, History Office, Office of Strategic Management and Information, US Army Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Dec 2005; p. 63. ISBN 1234461366 (This file might take time to load.)
  17. ^  
  18. ^ Rob Vest, "Otto Skorzeny: The Scar-Faced Commando."
  19. ^ , XII Corps History Association, 1947; Chapter 16, section 4.XII Corps: Spearhead of Patton's Third ArmyGeorge Dyer,
  20. ^ Melchior, Ib. Case by Case: A U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent in World War II. Presidio, 1993; Chapter 8, pp. 135–153.
  21. ^ Counter Intelligence Corps History and Mission in WWII, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA (undated); p. 51.
  22. ^ a b "G-2 Periodic Report No. 262, 3 May 1945, XII Corps HQ," reproduced in full in Order of Battle: Hitler's Werewolves, by Ib Melchior, epilogue, pp. 900–917..
  23. ^ Kurt Frank Korf, quoted in Patricia Kollander, I Must be a Part of this War: A German American's Fight against Hitler and Nazism, Fordham University Press, 2005; ISBN 0-8232-2528-3; p. 109.
  24. ^ 14 May, 2001.Catonsville Times,Obituary: Oscar M. "Mel" Grimes Jr., 80,
  25. ^ "Bemedaled Ex-Nazi Youth Home from Europe Wars," The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 July 1945, p. 6.
  26. ^ John Schwartzwalder, We Caught Spies: Adventures of an American Counter Intelligence Agent in Europe. Duell, Sloan & Pierce, Inc. New York, 1946; pp. 262-63.
  27. ^ Dobbins, James; McGinn, John G.; Crane, Keith; Jones, Seth G.; Lal, Rollie; Rathmell, Andrew; Swanger, Rachel M.; Timilsina, Anga. "America's Role in Nation-Building From Germany to Iraq" (PDF).  
  28. ^  
  29. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 275)
  30. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 151)
  31. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 80)
  32. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 197)
  33. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 152)
  34. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 115)
  35. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 51)
  36. ^ Biddiscombe, The Last Nazis, p. 8.
  37. ^ Biddiscombe, The Last Nazis, p. 8.ref>Biddiscombe, The Last Nazis, p. 8.
  38. ^ Rempel, Gerhard (1989). Hitler's Children: The Hitler Youth and the SS. UNC Press. p. 244.  
  39. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 40)
  40. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 139)
  41. ^ Miller, Edward G. (2007). Nothing Less Than Full Victory. Naval Institute Press. p. 254.  
  42. ^ Whiting, Charles (2002). Monty's Greatest Victory. Leo Cooper. p. 83. 
  43. ^ "Hitler Admits His Western Armies Have Been Reduced to Guerrillas," The New York Times, Apr 23, 1945; p. 1.
  44. ^ Roehner, Bertrand M. "Relations between allied forces and the population of germany" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  45. ^ "Voice of Russia: Commandant of Berlin". Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  46. ^ The Blast at the munitions depot in Brezno and the massacre of the German population, 31 July 1945. Massacre description in Czech by Vladimír Kaiser.
  47. ^ a b c (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 252)
  48. ^ Kershaw, Ian. The End: Hitler's Germany 1944-45, Allen Lane, 2011. ISBN 0-7139-9716-8
  49. ^ a b c d e f g Weber, Petra (2000). Justiz und Diktatur: Justizverwaltung und politische Strafjustiz in Thüringen 1945–1961. Veröffentlichungen zur SBZ-/DDR -Forschung im Institut für Zeitgeschichte. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. p. 99.  
  50. ^ a b Fruth, Pia (7 May 2010). "Die Lüge vom Werwolf. Warum Tausende Jugendliche in sowjetischen Lagern landeten" (PDF).  
  51. ^ a b Reif-Spirek, Peter; Ritscher, Bodo (1999). Speziallager in der SBZ (in German). Ch. Links Verlag. p. 138.  
  52. ^ a b Reif-Spirek, Peter; Ritscher, Bodo (1999). Speziallager in der SBZ (in German). Ch. Links Verlag. p. 139.  
  53. ^ Vernier, Robert (1995-05-08). "Tragödie an der Peene" (in German).  
  54. ^ a b c (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 267)
  55. ^ a b c (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 253)
  56. ^ a b c (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 254)
  57. ^ a b c d (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 257)
  58. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 256)
  59. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 263)
  60. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 265)
  61. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 276)
  62. ^ Varulvene – et uhyggeligt netværk under Anden Verdenskrig
  63. ^ Rumsfeld, Donald H (2006-07-19). "DefenseLink Speech: Veterans of Foreign Wars". Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence. US Department of Defence. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  64. ^ Rice, Condoleezza (2003-08-25). "National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Remarks to Veterans of Foreign Wars". Office of the Press Secretary. White House. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  65. ^ Carafano, James (September 23, 2003). """A Phony "Phony History. Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  66. ^ Benjamin, Daniel (2003-08-29). "Condi Rice's phony history". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  67. ^ Earl F. Ziemke (1990). "Army Historical Series: The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany," United States Army Center of Military History, CMH Pub 30-6.
  68. ^ Benjamin, Daniel (2003-08-29). "Condi's Phony History". Slate magazine. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  69. ^ Marek, Ed (September 1, 2003). "The occupation of Germany, the occupation of Iraq, many parallels". Talking Proud!. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 



See also

  • In the battalion based in Brazil. It moved there during the last months of the war and some of its officers are referred as being Werwölfe. One of them turns out to be a real werewolf.
  • In the 1991 Lars von Trier film, Europa (released in North America as Zentropa), Werwolf terrorist plots months after the end of the war play a prominent role in the story. Here, Werwolf is shown as not only surviving the war, but of having been a genuine threat to the occupation. One of their attacks is a highly fictionalized version of the assassination of Dr. Franz Oppenhoff (named Ravenstein in the film).
  • The 1958 film When Hell Broke Loose depicts a Werwolf group stopped by Charles Bronson.
  • In the 1959 Sam Fuller film Verboten!, the Nazi Werwolf play a critical part in the plot.
  • In the French comic book "Anton Six" (José Louis Bocquet/Arno) the U.S Secret Service sent an agent to meet Werwolf soldiers in Ukraine which possessed information about Stalin and the Red Army.
  • In the James Bond novel Moonraker, the villain Hugo Drax is described as having been part of a Werwolf operation behind Allied lines during World War II.
  • The 2008 alternative history novel The Man with the Iron Heart by Harry Turtledove is premised on the idea of a successful Werwolf insurgency led by Reinhard Heydrich.
  • In the 1947 novel Gimlet Mops Up by W.E. Johns, Gimlet uncovers a Werwolf cell operating in Britain, attempting to assassinate high profile members of the British Armed forces for "War Crimes". In this story the Nazis wear werewolf masks to hide their identity.
  • In the US television series True Blood, Werwolf is depicted as being composed of actual werewolves.
  • The 2012 novel, Wolf Hunter, by J.L. Benét uses the facts of the Werwolf plan, but turns them into actual werewolves.
  • The 2010 novel, The Project, by Brian Falkner concerns the actions of the descendants of the Werwolves and their plans to make the Werwolves successful once again.

In popular culture

Former National Security Council staffer Daniel Benjamin published a riposte in Slate magazine on August 29, 2003, entitled "Condi's Phony History: Sorry, Dr. Rice, postwar Germany was nothing like Iraq"[66] in which he took Rice and Rumsfeld to task for mentioning Werwolf, writing that the reality of postwar Germany bore no resemblance to the occupation of Iraq, and made reference to Antony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin 1945 and the US Army's official history, The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany 1944–1946,[67] where the Werwolf were only mentioned twice in passing.[68] This did not prevent his political opponents from disagreeing with him, using Biddiscombe's book as a source.[69]

The history of Werwolf was compared to the Bush Administration and other Iraq War supporters.[63][64] In speeches given on August 25, 2003 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld parallels were drawn between the problems faced by the coalition's occupation forces in Iraq to those encountered by occupation forces in post-World War II Germany, asserting that the Iraqi insurgency would ultimately prove to be as futile in realizing its objectives as had the Werwolfs.[65]

Second Iraq War

In 2015 Danish police uncovered files in their archives outlining the Danish part of Operation Werwolf.[62] A total of 130 stashes of weapons and explosives were placed around Denmark and personnel were inserted into strategically important parts of society.

Within Denmark

A raid in March 1946 captured 80 former German officers who were members, and who possessed a list of 400 persons to be liquidated, including Wilhelm Hoegner, the prime minister of Bavaria. Further members of the group were seized with caches of ammunition and even anti-tank rockets. In late 1946 reports of activities gradually died away.[14]

From 1946 onward Allied intelligence officials noted resistance activities by an organisation which had appropriated the name of the anti-Nazi resistance group, the Edelweiss Piraten (Edelweiss Pirates). The group was reported to be composed mainly of former members and officers of Hitler Youth units, ex-soldiers and drifters, and was described by an intelligence report as "a sentimental, adventurous, and romantically anti-social [movement]". It was regarded as a more serious menace to order than the Werwolf by US officials.[14]

Within Germany

Similar organizations

The German resistance movement was successfully suppressed in 1945.[59] However, collective punishment for acts of resistance, such as fines and curfews, was still being imposed as late as 1948.[60] Biddiscombe estimates the total death toll as a direct result of Werewolf actions and the resulting reprisals as 3,000–5,000.[61]

Prior to the occupation SHAEF investigated the retaliation techniques the Germans had used in order to maintain control over occupied territories since they felt the Germans had had good success.[57] Directives were loosely defined and implementation of retaliation was largely left to the preferences of the various armies, with the British seeming uncomfortable with those involving bloodshed.[57] Rear-Admiral H.T. Baillie Grohman for example stated that killing hostages was "not in accordance with our usual methods".[57] Thanks to feelings such as this, and relative light guerrilla activity in their area, relatively few reprisals took place in the UK zone of operations.[57] In April 1945 General Eisenhower ordered that all partisans were to be shot.[56] As a consequence, some war crimes (summary executions without trial and the like) followed. Contrary to Section IV of the Hague Convention of 1907, "The Laws and Customs of War on Land", the SHAEF "counter insurgency manual" included provisions for forced labour and hostage taking.[58]

In April 1945 Churchill announced that the Allies would incarcerate all captured German officers for as long as a guerrilla threat existed.[55] Hundreds of thousands of German last-ditch troops were kept in the makeshift Rheinwiesenlager for months, "mainly to prevent Werwolf activity".[55] In addition to these captives the civilian prisoners held by the U.S. alone climbed from 1000 in late March to 30,000 in late June, and more than 100,000 by the end of 1945.[56] Conditions were often poor in the camps for civilians.[56]

Actions of the British occupying forces

Eisenhower had previously also requested that the occupation directive JCS 1067 not make him responsible for maintaining living conditions in Germany under the expected circumstances; "... probably guerrilla fighting and possibly even civil war in certain districts ... If conditions in Germany turn out as described, it will be utterly impossible effectively to control or save the economic structure of the country ... and we feel we should not assume the responsibility for its support and control."[47] The British were "mortified by such a suggestion", but the War Department took considerable account of Eisenhower's wishes.[55]

Eisenhower believed he would be faced with extensive [54] On March 31 Eisenhower told Roosevelt, "I am hopeful of launching operations that should partially prevent a guerrilla control of any large area such as the southern mountain bastions".[54]

US Army control measures

The report, though referring to incidents where Soviet units came under fire from the woods,[51] asserts that most of the arrested had not been involved in any action against the Soviets, which Serov explained with interrogation results allegedly showing that the boys had been "waiting" for the right moment and in the meantime focussed on attracting new members.[52] In October 1945, Beria reported to [49] A total of about 10,000 youths were interned in NKVD special camps, half of whom did not return.[50] Parents as well as the East German administration and political parties, installed by the Soviets, were denied any information on the whereabouts of the arrested youths.[49] The Red Army's torching of Demmin, which resulted in the suicide of hundreds of people, was blamed on alleged preceding Werwolf activities by the East German regime.[53]

In the Soviet occupation zone, thousands of youths were arrested as "Werwolves".[49][50] Evidently, arrests were arbitrary and in part based on denunciations.[49] The arrested boys were either "shot at dawn" or interned in NKVD special camps.[49] On 22 June 1945, Deputy Commissar of the NKVD Ivan Serov reported to the head of the NKVD Lavrentiy Beria the arrest of "more than 600" alleged Werwolf members,[51] mostly aged 15 to 17 years.[52]

Soviet Reprisals

According to Biddiscombe "the threat of Nazi partisan warfare had a generally unhealthy effect on broad issues of policy among the occupying powers. As well, it prompted the development of draconian reprisal measures that resulted in the destruction of much German property and the deaths of thousands of civilians and soldiers".[47] Ian Kershaw states that fear of Werwolf activities may have motivated atrocities against German civilians by Allied troops during and immediately after the war.[48]

Allied reprisals

  • 25 March 1945 - Dr. Franz Oppenhoff, the newly appointed mayor of Aachen, was assassinated outside his home by an SS unit which was composed of Werwolf trainees from Hülchrath Castle. They were flown in at the order of Heinrich Himmler.[38]
  • 28 March 1945 - The burgomeister of the eastern Ruhr town of Meschede was assassinated, even though Meschede was still behind German lines and was not overrun until mid-April. Werwolf Radio later announced that the assassination had been carried out by Werwolf agents.[39]
  • 30 March 1945 - Radio Werwolf claimed responsibility for the death of Major General Maurice Rose, commander of the US 3rd Armored Division,[40] who was in reality killed in the act of surrendering to troops of the 507th Heavy Panzer Battalion.[41]
  • 21 April 1945 - Major John Poston, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery's liaison officer was ambushed and killed by unidentified assailants shortly before Germany's surrender; in reality Poston died in an ambush by regular troops.[42]
  • 22 April 1945 - Radio Werwolf claimed that a Werwolf unit composed of German citizens from Leuna and Merseburg had entered the Leuna synthetic petroleum factory and set off explosives, destroying four factory buildings and rendering it inoperable.[43]
  • 28 April 1945 - The Penzberg Murders: Werwolf operatives were allegedly responsible for the murder of the mayor of Penzberg, Bavaria, and fourteen others, because of their actions in freeing prisoners and preventing the destruction of property.
  • 5 June 1945 - It has been claimed that the destruction of the United States Military Government police headquarters in Bremen by two explosions which resulted in 44 deaths[44] was a Werwolf-related attack. There is, however, no proof that it was due to Werwolf actions rather than to unexploded bombs or delayed-action ordnance.
  • 16 June 1945 - Colonel-General Nikolai Berzarin, Soviet commandant of Berlin is often claimed to have been assassinated by Werwolfs, but actually died in a motorcycle accident.[45]
  • 31 July 1945 - An ammunition dump in Ústí massacre" of ethnic Germans.

A number of instances of resistance have been attributed to Werwolf activity:

Franz Oppenhoff's grave in Aachen

Alleged Werwolf actions

Nevertheless, says Biddiscombe, ""The Werewolves were no bit players";[36] they caused tens of millions of dollars of property damage at a time when the European economies were in an already desperate state, and they were responsible for the killing of thousands of people.[37]

Biddiscombe also says that Werwolf violence failed to mobilize a spirit of popular national resistance, 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 former Nazi regime. He concludes that the only significant achievement of the Werwolfs was to spark distrust of the German populace in the Allies as they occupied Germany, which caused them in some cases to act more repressively than they might have done otherwise, which in turn fostered resentments that helped to enable far right ideas to survive in Germany, at least in pockets, into the post-war era.[8]

Perry Biddiscombe has offered a somewhat different view. In his books Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944–1946 (1998)[8] and The Last Nazis: SS Werwolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe, 1944–1947 (2000), Biddiscombe asserts that after retreating to the Black Forest and the Harz mountains, the Werwolf continued resisting the occupation until at least 1947, possibly until 1949–50. However, he characterizes German post-surrender resistance as "minor",[29] and calls the post-war Werwolfs "desperadoes"[30] and "fanatics living in forest huts".[31] He further cites U.S. Army intelligence reports that characterized Nazi partisans as "nomad bands"[32] and judged them as less serious threats than attacks by foreign slave laborers[33] and considered their sabotage and subversive activities to be insignificant.[34] He also notes that: "The Americans and British concluded, even in the summer of 1945, that, as a nationwide network, the original Werwolf was irrevocably destroyed, and that it no longer posed a threat to the occupation."[35]

German historian Golo Mann, in his The History of Germany Since 1789 (1984) also states that "The [Germans'] readiness to work with the victors, to carry out their orders, to accept their advice and their help was genuine; of the resistance which the Allies had expected in the way of 'werwolf' units and nocturnal guerrilla activities, there was no sign."[28]

Historians Antony Beevor and Earl F. Ziemke have argued that Werwolf never amounted to a serious threat, and furthermore propose that the plan barely existed. This view is supported by the RAND Corporation, which surveyed the history of US occupations with an eye to advising on Iraq. According to a study by former Ambassador James Dobbins and a team of RAND researchers, there were no American combat casualties after the German surrender.[27]

Assessment by historians

No officially recognized effort was ever made by the Nazi leadership to develop an insurgency to continue fighting in the event of defeat, in large measure because Adolf Hitler, as well as other Nazi leaders, regarded anyone who even discussed the possibility as defeatists and traitors. As a result, no contingency plans to deal with defeat were ever authorized in the official, public record. However, as a result of Goebbels' efforts, Werwolf had, and in many cases continues to have, a mythological reputation as having been an underground Nazi resistance movement, with some even claiming that Werwolf attacks continued for months, or even years, after the end of the war—-in particular, sources cited by West Coast radio broadcaster Dave Emory, for instance in this archived program on audio, following a brief first segment. Its perceived influence went far beyond its actual operations, especially after the dissolution of the Nazi regime.[8]

After it became clear, by March 1945, that the remaining German forces had no chance of stopping the Allied advance, Minister of partisans, similar to the many insurgency groups which the Germans had encountered in the nations they occupied during the war. Despite such propaganda, however, this was never the actual nature of Werwolf, which in reality was always intended to be a commando unit comprising uniformed troops. Another popular myth about Werwolf is that it was intended to continue fighting underground even after the surrender of the Nazi government and the German military.

9 March 1945: Goebbels awards a 16-year-old Hitler Youth, Willi Hübner, the Iron Cross for the defence of Lauban


"...the Bremen group of the [26]

In May 1945 CIC Major John Scwartzwalder arrested members of a Werwolf cell in Bremen whose leader had fled. Schwartzwalder believed that the Werwolf never constituted a threat to Allied personnel:

The following day a CIC unit led by Captain Oscar M. Grimes of the 97th Infantry Division captured about two hundred Gestapo officers and men in hiding near Hof, Bavaria. They were in possession of American army uniforms and equipment, but had evidently made the decision to surrender.[23][24][25]

"Operations were to begin three or four weeks after being overrun by US troops. The plan was for each unit to receive designated targets from the headquarters. Bands of from 10 to 20 men were then to be sent out to destroy the target and to return immediately to their unit. No targets were to be located nearer than fifteen kilometers to the unit. Secrecy and camouflage were relied upon for security and all personnel had strict orders to conceal themselves if US troops came into their area and under no circumstances to open fire in the bivouac area. No routes of escape had been planned. Members of the unit usually wore the Wehrmacht uniform, but a few members disguised themselves as foresters and were used as outposts to report any approaching danger. Their ordnance supplies consisted of mortars, machine guns, sub-machine guns, rifles, and various types of side arms. Each man was issued a Liliput pistol which could be very easily concealed on the person. The ammunition supply for each type weapon was ample for four months of ordinary operations. The unit had one civilian type sedan and one Wehrmacht motorcycle which were well hidden in the woods, and 120 horses which were dispersed on farms throughout the vicinity. Food consisting of canned meat, biscuits, crackers, chocolate, and canned vegetables was sufficient for over four months. Additional food supplies such as bread, potatoes, fresh vegetables,and smoked sausages were obtained from local sources. The unit was supplied with water by a brook passing through the area. Dugouts were constructed in such a manner as not to destroy the live trees around them. The dugouts were located on the slope of a hill which was densely covered with fir trees ... The entrance to the dugout was a hole approximately 24 inches in diameter and four to five feet deep. Approximately two feet down, this hole extended horizontally to a length of eight to ten feet. The dugout has a capacity of three men and has a wooden floor and a drainage ditch. Walls and roof are reinforced with lumber."[22]

On April 28, 1945, Staff Sergeant Ib Melchior of the US Counter-Intelligence Corps captured six German officers and 25 enlisted men dressed in civilian clothes, who claimed to constitute a Werwolf cell under the command of Colonel Paul Krüger, operating in Schönsee, Bavaria. The group was captured while hiding in an underground tunnel network which contained communications equipment, weapons, explosives and several months' food supplies. Two vehicles were hidden in the forest nearby. Documents discovered in the tunnels listed US military commanders as targets for assassination, including General Dwight D. Eisenhower.[19][20] Krüger stated that in 1943 a school was created in Poland to train men in guerrilla warfare. On 16 September 1944 it was relocated in the town of Thürenberg, Czechoslovakia.[21] Krüger claimed that a total of 1,200 men completed Werwolf training in the school in less than two years. On 1 April 1945 the school was moved to Schönsee and a subterranean base was constructed. The students were instructed to "stay behind, evade capture, and then harass and destroy supply lines of United States troops ... Special emphasis was put on gasoline and oil supplies."[22] According to the G-2 report:

Wartime capture of Werwolf personnel

In the early months of 1945, SS Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny was involved in training recruits for the Werwolfs, but he soon discovered that the number of Werwolf cells had been greatly exaggerated and that they would be ineffective as a fighting force. Knowing, like many other Nazi leaders, that the war was lost, he decided that the Werwolfs would instead be used as part of a Nazi "underground railroad," facilitating travel along escape routes called "ratlines" that allowed thousands of SS officers and other Nazis to flee Germany after the fall of the Third Reich.[18]

The tactics available to the organisation included sniping attacks, arson, sabotage, and assassination. Training was to include such topics as the production of home-made explosives, manufacturing detonators from common articles such as pencils and "a can of soup", and every member was to be trained in how to jump into a guard tower and strangle a sentry in one swift movement, using only a metre of string.

Attempts were made to bury explosives, ammunition and weapons around the country (mainly in the pre-1939 German–Polish border region) to be used by Werwolf in resistance fighting after the defeat of Germany, but not only were the quantities of material to be buried prohibitively low, by that point the movement itself was so disorganised that few actual members or leaders knew where the materials were. A large portion of these "depots" were found by the Russians and little of the materials were actually used by Werwolf.[17]

and SS units were unwilling to turn over what little equipment they still had for the sake of an organization whose actual strategic value was doubtful. Wehrmacht Given the dire supply situation German forces were facing in 1945, the commanding officers of existing [16]

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