In 1942 Germany began construction of the Atlantic Wall in order to defends its World War II territorial conquests from a possible Allied amphibious invasion. The wall consisted of various fortifications, mines, tank barriers, mortars, artillery pieces, machine gun nests, pillboxes, and bunkers, and was designed to fend off any beach landing. On June 6th, 1944 Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy and quickly overran these defenses. Thousands of German soldiers were captured, but surprisingly still many of those capture were not German at all.
At the very beginning of the war Germany upheld its Nazi belief in pure Arianism. However as the war dragged, that sentiment quickly gave way as casualties grew and manpower shortages worsened. Both the Wehrmacht and the SS began to accept foreign volunteers. Many of these foreign troops were sent to man the defenses of the Atlantic Wall. These soldiers came from all over Europe, and even the Middle East and Asia. One notable extreme was the Indian Legion, also known as the Azad Regiment, which consisted of volunteers from India who believed that a German victory would secure India’s independence from the British Empire.
The reasons for volunteering were varied, some political, many as a necessity for survival. By far the most numerous foreign volunteers were those from the Soviet Union. Some volunteered because they were disgruntled with Soviet rule, for example the Russian Liberation Army, which joined the Wehrmacht to oppose communism in Russia. However most volunteered as an alternative to spending the rest of the war as a POW. Soviet POW’s were treated terribly during the war, with 3.3 to 3.5 million dying of starvation, disease, exhaustion, and overall maltreatment. For many Soviet POW’s, service with the German Army was the only way to avoid such a horrible fate. Typically, these troops were often not very reliable in combat. Understandably, they were not very motivated to sacrifice life and limb for their conquerors. In some cases they proved to by a grave liability, such as the case of a battalion of soldiers from Georgia which manned the Atlantic Wall defenses on the Dutch island of Texel, who in 1945 openly rebelled against the Germans.
As well as many thousand foreign volunteers, there were also many thousand foreign conscripts who were forcibly made to serve in the German Army. By far the most interesting extreme in this instance were a group of Koreans who were captured by American forces during the D-Day invasion. For three decades Japan had occupied Korea, and the men were forcibly conscripted into the Japanese Imperial Army. In 1939 Japan attempted to invade the Soviet Union through Mongolia, but were badly beaten at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The Koreans were captured and sent to the gulags, but with the German invasion of the Soviet Union, were then forced to join the Red Army and fight on the Eastern Front. They were then captured by the Germans, conscripted into the German Army, and forced to man the defenses of the Atlantic Wall at Normandy.
By far the most numerous conscripts were Polish. Before World War I many parts of Poland had been a part of Prussia, and later the German Empire. When Germany re-conquered these territories they considered many of the people living there to be ethnic Germans. As such, they were considered full citizens of the Reich and thus were subject to German draft laws. Many still believed themselves to be German and thus were willing to fight for the German cause, however many spoke Polish, had adopted Polish customs, and believed themselves to be Poles. Regardless, refusing to obey the draft laws could result in serious consequences, not only for the individual but his family as well. Some 500,000 Poles were conscripted into the Wehrmacht, with many serving on the Atlantic Wall. Like the Soviets, the Polish also were not the best soldiers as they were often unwilling to fight for their taskmasters. Around 85,000 would defect to the Free Polish Forces in France. In addition to Polish Troops, a number of Czechs considered ethnic Germans would be conscripted as well.
Overall, one in six defenders of the Atlantic Wall were not German. Nothing demonstrates the diversity of these defenders more than the photo below of a group Wehrmacht soldiers captured during D-Day
Front Row (from left to right): a Yugoslav; an Italian; a Turk; a Pole
Back Row (from left to right): a German; a Czech; a Russian who was forced into the army when the Nazis occupied his town; and a Mongolian.
A Russian survivor of Buchenwald, liberated by the 3rd Armored Division of the U.S. First Army, identifies a former camp guard who brutally beat prisoners. Original caption reads: “Freed Soviet prisoners of war give testimony against a former fascist guard. 1945.”
A very unusual and rare photo - Personnel of the Wehrmacht, and a Hungarian soldier (right) pose with Japanese Army photojournalist Sunji Sasamoto, who was stationed with the 2nd Hungarian Army. They are seen posing in front of a barbed-wire laced camp of Soviet POWs in the Kursk region.
imagine steve making a youtube channel to share his coming out story, just fully embracing who he is. he has to introduce bucky bc no one has actually saw him on video of his own free will but they know who he is (former pow/former soviet assassin/caps wwII boyfriend/childhood best friend/super soldier). the camera pans to him with his hair loose, sleeveless shirt that shows his metal arm and on his face is a deadly WS glare. steve just wordlessly leans over and kisses him, shows the world the softer side of bucky barnes just by existing and gently touching. from that moment on he becomes the internets fav smol adorable trained killer (though he only appears in the background of videos like when he’s walking to the kitchen in his boxers)
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a horrific center of terror during the Holocaust. On January 27, 1945– almost 12 years to the day of when the Nazi party rose to power in Germany– soldiers from the Soviet Union ended the pain and suffering for all of those who were not murdered or weakened from the elements, starvation and pain from the perpetrators.
In honor of this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am choosing to remember and honor our beloved who perished: 6,000,000 Jews; 3,300,000 Soviet Union Prisoners of War; 2,000,000 Poles; 300,000 Romani; 250,000 disabled individuals; 10,000 LGBTQ individuals; 4,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. Can you imagine 11,000,000 people being wiped off the face of this earth in a short period of time?
Zichronam Livracha, may the memories of all who perished be for a blessing and their families have a renewal of spirit as we stand with them in honor of their loved ones.
On this day, I am also choosing to honor all of those who survived and the heroes who will go down in history because they saved others.
In the words of Elie Weisel, “A destruction only man can provoke, only man can prevent. Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures, it is our gift to each other.”
Inane douches who need a history lesson - Never Accepting
With that stupid little smiley face you stuck on the end, you probably think this is funny, especially since you’re probably the anon that sent her the same thing but with ‘ur a nazi’. What are you? Five?
Second, listen, you little dummkopf, the Nazis committed acts that would make you probably puke your internet troll weak guts over your keyboard. They systematically murdered millions of people for having the wrong background, for the wrong sexuality, for the wrong opinion. They chopped off a teenager’s head when she dared to speak out against them. Don’t believe me? Look it up. They purposefully did not plan for adequate food or housing for Soviet POWs so that they would starve and freeze to death. And they did, by the thousands, some even resorting to eating each other.
And that’s just a drop in the bucket, Anon. You know, it’s actually not the stupid idiots who claim to be Nazis these days that make me sick, since they make a wrong move and bam, jail time. No, it’s people who think it’s funny to compare people, good people, to those sick monsters. They make me just as sick as the actual Nazis or the racist nuts that decide to act on their beyond horrible beliefs.
In other words, Anon, you are just as disgusting to me as Hitler, Himmler, and Heydrich. Get off the internet until you learn some common sense, you fool.
Today, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Holocaust includes the killing of 6 million Jews, 3.3 million Soviet POWs, at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians, and 275,000 people with disabilities, about 1,650 Jehovah’s witnesses, an unknown number of Roma (gypsies), an unknown number of black POWs, and an unknown number of gay men, all by the Nazis and their collaborators. (Info from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Please reblog to spread the word. Thank you.
Jews Romani Slavs Ukrainians Poles Soviet Slavs and POWs People with disabilities Non-Europeans Homosexuals Political criteria Political prisoners Political Leftists Jehovah’s Witnesses Roman Catholics Protestants Bahá'í faith Freemasons Esperantists Enemy nationals
“Social deviants” – prostitutes, vagrants, alcoholics, drug addicts,
open dissidents, pacifists, draft resisters and common criminals All died at the hands of Nazi Germany in Concentrations Camps
January 27, 1945 is the day the Auschwitz concentration camp in
modern-day Poland was liberated by the Soviets, nearly eight months
before the war officially ended.
By the time they arrived though, many of the inhabitants had been sent out on a death march.
When the Soviets arrived at the camp, around 7,000 people sick and dying people remained.
the five years it was open, an estimated 1.1 million people were killed
at the concentration camp, around 90 per cent of whom were Jewish.