World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF GERMANY: The Man Who Can't Surrender

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Himmler and Goebbels have reached a working agreement—superficially amiable —in which Goebbels is clearly subordinate. Presumably Goebbels wants to be on the winning side in case of an intraparty fracas; presumably Himmler needs Goebbels' propaganda talents. Goebbels' paper, Das Reich, is full of praise for Himmler's SS.

Useful Information. Doubtless Himmler could purge anyone in the Reich who got in his way, including Adolf Hitler, but he cannot purge the Allied armies now squeezing him on the east and west. What can he do? The answer is: hold out as long as possible, then go underground. As the policeman of occupied Europe, Himmler made a profound study of the general operations and detailed techniques of the European undergrounds. Why not put the information to good use?

That Himmler is preparing for guerrilla warfare has been vouched for by U.S. Army sources in Europe and by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. Last September Mr. Eden said to the House of Commons: "Himmler ... is now making preparations for the organization of continued resistance during the occupation of Germany by the Allies. . . . Our reports have been pretty good on this sort of thing, and I would not say it unless I were absolutely convinced that it is right."

There is unofficial but impressive documentation :

Himmler spends much time picking obscure but fanatical Nazis for his guerrilla army. Some have been planted in concentration camps, to pose as anti-Nazis when the Allies take over. Others have been given identity cards taken from ordinary Germans killed in air raids, and from 30,000 people associated with the old Weimar Republic who were recently purged. Thus equipped, the chosen Nazis can merge into the general population without detection. Hitler Youth are being trained in underground techniques in three schools known as Ordensburgen, and in a postgraduate institution called the Führer Schule, at Chiem See in Bavaria. The guerrilla army already numbers more than 500,000; the "general staff" has been picked.

Unknown Ingredient. But what of the top Nazis who cannot hide? With a compact army of young SS and Hitler Youth fanatics, they will retreat, behind a loyal rearguard cover of Volksgrenadiere and Volksstürmer, to the Alpine massif which reaches from southern Bavaria across western Austria to northern Italy. There immense stores of food and munitions are being laid down in prepared fortifications. If the retreat is a success, such an army might hold out for years.

Guerrilla activity carried out over the whole of Germany, under Allied occupation, will be more difficult. The European undergrounds fighting the German conquerors had three advantages: 1) support from outside; 2) hope of eventual rescue from outside; and 3) support of the local population. German partisans fighting the Allies would lack the first two altogether; the last would be doubtful.

One great unknown ingredient in this witches' brew is the German people. Undoubtedly the Allies have underestimated their toughness, resourcefulness and will-to-win. Yet as the Germans begin to see absolutely no hope of winning, more & more of them, not so sunk in guilt as the Nazi malefactors, will want to cry quits. There will be only one way to keep them in line: terror.

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