The Spanish Blue Division on the Eastern Front, 1941–1945: War, Occupation, Memory
Published: March 2022© 2022
368 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in, 24 b&w illustrations, 2 b&w maps, 1 b&w table
In 1941, the Franco regime established the Spanish Division of Volunteers to take part in the Russian campaign as a unit integrated into the German Wehrmacht. Recruited by both the Fascist Party (Falange) and the Spanish army, around 47,000 Spanish volunteers joined what would become known as the "Blue Division."
The Spanish Blue Division on the Eastern Front, 1941–1945 explores an intimate history of the Blue Division "from below," using personal war diaries, letters, and memoirs, as well as official documents from military archives in Spain, Germany, Britain, and Russia. In addition to describing the Spanish experience on the Eastern Front, Xosé M. Núñez Seixas takes on controversial topics including the Blue Division’s proximity to the Holocaust and how members of the Blue Division have been remembered and commemorated. Addressing issues such as the behaviour of the Spaniards as occupiers, their perception by the Russians, their witnessing of the Holocaust, their commitment to the war aims of Nazi Germany, and their narratives on the war after 1945, this book illuminates the experience of Spanish combatants and occupied civilians.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The Blue Division, the Franco Regime, and the Second World War
1. Russia Is Guilty!
2. A Long March: From Central Europe to the Volkhov Front
3. The Blue Division On the Front
4. Occupation Practices of the Blue Division in Northwest Russia
5. The Last Crusaders of the Nazi New Order, 1944–1945
6. War Veterans and Memories from the Eastern Front in Franco’s Spain
Conclusion: A Spanish Exception in the War of Extermination?
"The author and translators have done a major service to the English-language literature on Germany's war on the Eastern Front during the Second World War in providing us with this in-depth history of the Blue Division. This work will undoubtedly become the standard English-language work on the division."Alexander Hill, Professor in Military History, University of Calgary, and author of The Red Army and the Second World War
"Based on letters, diaries, and unpublished and published memoirs gleaned from private and public archives in Spain, Germany, and Russia, this groundbreaking book tells the fascinating story of the Spaniards sent by dictator Francisco Franco to fight alongside the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front and the ways they have been remembered in Spain. A superb example of the new military history."Adrian Shubert, Professor of History, York University
"In this thoroughly researched and nuanced work, Núñez Seixas seeks to answer the ‘big’ questions of Spanish participation in the brutal war in Russia, especially that of motivation. He finds that Spanish attitudes reflected a mix of ideological, religious, careerist, and adventurist motivations, but that Spaniards were also less overtly racist, more tolerant of the occupied Soviet population, and less likely to be involved in anti-Jewish actions. An excellent contribution to our understanding of the war in Russia as part of an alleged defensive European crusade against an existential communist (and Jewish) threat."Stephen G. Fritz, author of Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East