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A Question About Historical Fact Regarding he Luftwaffe

Article about: I would like to address an historical question to all of you. It has been my observation for many years that of the three arms, Kriegsmarine, Herr, and Luftwaffe, the latter was the most “Na

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    Default A Question About Historical Fact Regarding he Luftwaffe

    I would like to address an historical question to all of you. It has been my observation for many years that of the three arms, Kriegsmarine, Herr, and Luftwaffe, the latter was the most “Nazified" of the lot. Note that I have excluded the SS for obvious reasons. My opinion rests on the observation that the Luftwaffe was the youngest of the three arms in all respects, and It’s commanding officer was Göring, the second ranking official in the NSDAP and the government, holding the Rank of Reichsmarschall und Ministerpräsident. I also recall that several years ago, I read that in WWII, the "German Navy clung to the traditions of the Kaiserliche-Marine, the German Army reflected the Reichswehr, and the Luftwaffe was the child of the NSDAP."
    I recently read Adam Makos’ book, A Higher Call, in which he states that there was a regulation prohibiting Luftwaffe members from joining the NSDAP. He did not cite a source for that claim, and I do not believe it. If I am wrong, I would appreciate anyone providing me with the regulation and its source. I would also like to hear your opinions on the question, was the Luftwaffe the most "Nazified" arm of the three services in WWII? Dwight

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    Hey Drmessimer,
    I think have a pretty good idea what your asking.If i am off base at least some will get some interesting reading out of it. The best response I have come across about the Luftwaffe and its relation to NSDAP/ideology etc come from this article
    in an academic journal

    "Caldwell, Norman W. "Political Commissars in the Luftwaffe." The Journal of Politics 9, no. 1 (1947): 59-79. JSTOR: Access Check. don't want to violate any copywrites ect its a free article and takes less then 5 min to open an account.

    Link JSTOR: Access Check.

    It is pretty dense and detailed are are most articles an academic journals. and I think it answers substantially the history the Luftwaffe and its relationship to Ideology throughout the war.
    Let me know if that was helpful

    GP
    Air Force 1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz
    Died June 9, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
    Army Capt. Timothy I. McGovern
    Died October 31, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
    Army Capt. Kevin C. Landeck
    Died February 2, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi

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    GeneralPutnam: Thanks for that link. I am familiar with JSTOR and you are on the mark about the "density" of the academic writing style. never-the-less, I am looking forward to reading the article. Dwight

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    Well, Hitler certainly agreed with you on that observation. According to Jodl, he said:

    "Ich habe ein reaktionäres Heer, eine christliche Marine und eine nationalsozialistische Luftwaffe."
    ["I have a reactionary Army, a Christian Navy and a National Socialist Air Force."]

    As for the ban on joining the party, it was not exclusive to Luftwaffe members, but applied to servicemen of all three branches of the armed forces. (If memory serves, it was lifted at some point.)

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    HPL2008; that is interesting, could you elaborate on the law banning servicemen from joining the Party? Why was it enacted and when? I have spent over 60 years studying the NSDAP and I am still amazed by the Dichodomy of rigid control versus apparently random decision-making and areas of gross inefficiency. I was hoping you would join this discussion because I believe that you are the most qualified Forum member to discuss this sort of issue, and this Forum venue is the place to have these types of discussions. Dwight

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    Believe it or not, the first time I heard it was from my grandfather when I was still a boy. ("As soldiers, we weren't even allowed to be party members.") He had enlisted as a career soldier in 1934; professional neutrality was one of those things he was proud of.

    But of course that alone would be anecdotal. I'm home now and have looked it up. Here is the required data now:

    The ban actually dates back to the days of the Weimar Republic. Section 36 of the Wehrgesetz [Defense Law] of 1921 said:


    "§ 36

    [1] Die Soldaten dürfen sich politisch nicht betätigen. Innerhalb Deutschlands ist eine solche Betätigung auch den Militärbeamten untersagt.
    [2] Den Soldaten ist die Zugehörigkeit zu politischen Vereinen und die Teilnahme an politischen Versammlungen verboten.
    [3] Für die Soldaten ruht das Recht zum Wählen oder zur Teilnahme an Abstimmungen im Reiche, in den Ländern oder in den Gemeinden. Die Vorschriften des Friedensvertrags vom 28. Juni 1919 über die Berechtigung zur Teilnahme an den darin vorgesehenen Abstimmungen bleiben unberührt.
    [4] Die Angehörigen der Wehrmacht haben das Recht, nach freier Wahl Zeitungen zu halten. Der Reichswehrminister kann bestimmte Zeitungen verbieten, sofern ihr Inhalt die militärische Zucht und Ordnung oder die Aufrechterhaltung der Verfassung gefährdet.
    "

    ["§ 36

    [1] Soldiers are not permitted to be politically active. Wthin Germany, such activity is also prohibited for military officials.
    [2] Soldiers are prohibited from holding membership in political associations and from participation in political assemblies.
    [3] The right to vote and to participate in national-, state- or municipal referendums is suspended for soldiers. The statutes of the peace treaty of 28 June 1919 on participation in referendums provided therein are unaffected by this.
    [4] Members of the armed forces have the right to subscribe to newspapers of their own choice. The Reichswehr Minister may prohibit certain papers if their contents endanger military discipline and order or the maintenance of the constitution."]



    This, of course, affected activities on all sides of the political spectrum and in any party, not just the radical left- and right wing. The old law was replaced by a new Wehrgesetz in 1935, when only one party remained in Germany. Nonetheless, not much had changed when it came to political activities and section 26 of the new law still said:


    "§ 26. Politik in der Wehrmacht.

    (1) Die Soldaten dürfen sich politisch nicht betätigen. Die Zugehörigkeit zur NSDAP oder zu einem der ihr angeschlossenen Verbände ruht für die Dauer des aktiven Wehrdienstes.
    (2) Für die Soldaten ruht das Recht zum Wählen oder zur Teilnahme an Abstimmungen im Reich.
    (3) Die Soldaten bedürfen der Erlaubnis ihrer Vorgesetzten zum Erwerb der Mitgliedschaft in Vereinigungen jeder Art sowie zur Bildung von Vereinigungen innerhalb und außerhalb der Wehrmacht.
    (4) Der Reichskriegsminister kann Wehrmachtbeamte und im Bereich der Wehrmacht angestellte Zivilpersonen, wenn militärische Notwendigkeit dies erfordert, den Vorschriften nach Abs. 1 und 2 unterwerfen.
    "

    ["§ 26. Politics in the Armed Forces.

    (1) Soldiers are not permitted to be politically active. Membership in the NSDAP or one of its subordinate organisations is suspended for the duration of active military service.
    (2) The right to vote and to participate in national referendums is suspended for soldiers.
    (3) Soldiers require permission from their superiors in order to attain membership in associations of any kind as well as for establishing associations within or outside the armed forces.
    (4) If it is required by military necessity, the Reichs War Minister may render military officials and civilians employed within the armed forces' sphere of authority subject to the regulations under subsections 1 and 2."]


    This would only change on 24 September 1944, when section 26 was finally nazified and changed to:


    "§ 26. Politische Stellung der Wehrmachtangehörigen.

    (1) Die Angehörigen der Wehrmacht haben die Pflicht, dienstlich und außerdienstlich im Sinne nationalsozialistischer Weltanschauung zu wirken und sich jederzeit für sie einzusetzen. Es ist eine der wesentlichsten Aufgaben aller Offiziere, Unteroffiziere und Wehrmachtbeamten, ihre Untergebenen nationalsozialistisch zu erziehen und zu führen.
    (2) Die Mitgliedschaft in der NSDAP., ihren Gliederungen und angeschlossenen Verbänden bleibt auch für die Dauer des aktiven Wehrdienstes in Kraft.
    (3) Die Übernahme und Ausübung eines Amtes in der NSDAP., ihrer Gliederung und angeschlossenen Verbänden bedarf der Genehmigung des Vorgesetzten. Sie muß erteilt werden, soweit durch die Ausübung des Amtes die Wehrmachtaufgaben nicht beeinträchtigt werden.
    (4) Die Soldaten bedürfen der Erlaubnis ihrer Vorgesetzten zum Erwerb der Mitgliedschaft in Vereinigungen jeder Art sowie zur Bildung von Vereinigungen jeder Art sowie zur Bildung von Vereinigungen innerhalb und außerhalb der Wehrmacht. Der Erwerb der Mitgliedschaft in der NSDAP., ihren Gliederungen und angeschlossenen Verbänden ist nicht genehmigungspflichtig.
    (5) Das Recht der Soldaten zum Wählen und zur Teilnahme an Abstimmungen bleibt für den Einzelfall einer Sonderregelung durch Erlaß des Führers vorbehalten
    ."

    ["§ 26. Political Status of Members of the Armed Forces.

    (1) The members of the armed forces have the obligation to act in the interests of and support the National Socialist world view at all times, both on and off duty. It is one of the primary responsibilities of all officers, non-commissioned officers and military officials to educate and lead their subordinates in a National Socialist way.
    (2) Membership in the NSDAP, its divisions and subordinate organisations remains in effect during the duration of active military service.
    (3) The acceptance and execution of an office in the NSDAP, its divisions and subordinate organisations is dependant on the superior's approval. It must be granted as long as execution of the office does not affect military duties.
    (4) Soldiers require their superior's approval in order to attain membership in associations of any kind as well as for establishing associations of any kind and of associations within or outside the armed forces. Attaining membership in the NSDAP, its divisions and subordinate organisations is not subject to approval.
    (5) Soldiers' right to vote and to participate in referendums is subject to special regulations by Führer decreee for specific cases."]


    (Translations by me.)
    Last edited by HPL2008; 08-07-2019 at 07:03 AM.

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    That is a valuable primary source and very interesting. I used GeneralPutnam's link to access the article by Norman W. Caldwell, titled "Propaganda in the Luftwaffe." This was a postwar special study for the Air Force Historical Division that was later published by the University of Chicago Press. Dr. Caldwell's thesis is, "The German Luftwaffe was the creation of Nazism and represented a special bridge between the Party and the armed forces." He points out that many Luftwaffe pilots were active in the NS and Hitler Youth aviation programs where they became indoctrinated in NS ideology. He implys, but does not say, that Nazi propaganda in the Luftwafffe had greater effect and/or was more effective than in the other two services--the Kriegsmarine and the Herr. Dwight
    Last edited by drmessimer; 08-06-2019 at 09:54 PM.

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