Publisher description for Hitler's Spanish Legion : the Blue Division in Russia / Gerald R. Kleinfeld and Lewis A. Tambs.

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Though well publicized in Europe, and with enormous bibliographic resources in German and Spanish, on which this history principally draws, the famous Spanish Blue Division—Franco’s military and diplomatic ploy in World War II—is very little known in this country, as this first full, analytical account in English attests.

For nearly three years, August 1941–March 1944, 47,000 Spanish soldiers served under German command on the Russian front, two of those years con­tinuously in the line in the siege of Leningrad. There were 22,000 casu­alties, of which 4,500 were killed in ac­tion or died of wounds, disease, or frost­bite. Less than 300 prisoners of war finally were repatriated in 1954.

The story of these Spanish volunteers told here, largely from original Spanish and German archival sources, in the graphic detail of a military history cover­ing the major battles of the Russo-German war, gives an entirely different perspective to the siege of Leningrad which is neither Communist nor Nazi but Mediterranean.

Though focusing on the military as­pects of the Blue Division’s campaigns, amply illustrated with maps and docu­mented with detailed military rolls, this big book captures the highly charged diplomatic history of the time. The Spanish expeditionary force joined Army Group North as the 250th Infantry Di­vision in the German order of battle. But in culture, command structure, and tactics, the Blue Division was worlds apart from the other elements of the Wehrmacht. Thinking of themselves as warriors, as opposed to soldiers, the Spaniards fought with great courage and dash. Masters of improvisation, they lived off the countryside, regarded the Russians as human beings, and often formed strong bonds with the peasants—so strong that the Russian population often protected the Spaniards from both the Red Army and the partisans.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Soviet Union.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Regimental histories -- Germany.
Germany. -- Heer. -- Infanteriedivision (1941-1943), 250 -- History.
Soviet Union -- History -- German occupation, 1941-1944.