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SPAIN: The Blue Division/Legion

Stanley Payne describes the origin of Spain's Blue Division/ Legion, which fought with the German Army against the Soviet Union: "In 1941 it was originally the Division Azul. The Blue Legion was only the remnant left after Franco finally withdrew the Division in 1943. Those who volunteered to stay then composed the Legion-- about 6,000 or so, if I remember correctly. They were strictly on their own.

The initial organization of the Blue Division was entirely Spanish in initiative, with no quid pro quo from Hitler, other than to equip the Division (Number 250 in the Wehrmacht, though always with a Spanish commander). The invasion of the Soviet Union, held responsible (incorrectly) by many for the Civil War, aroused genuine enthusiasm among quite a few people in Spain. Most of the 40,000 or so who served were willing volunteers, though not quite everyone. The government's idea was that a division of volunteers would demonstrate willingness to cooperate in destroying the Soviet Union, score points with Hitler, but not commit the Spanish government officially to anything".

The 6,000 members of the Legion "were strictly on their own"? Who supplied them with food and equipment? Did they get paid? How did the Legion end? Did the survivors who returned to Spain get any help from the government?

Carlos Lopez responds; "The magazine "Historia Militar" published a long article on Spain's Blue Legion last year. It pointed out that these troops joined the regular German Army and were among the last units to defend Berlin. They must have been supplied and supported by the German government. I will ry to dig it up for you."

We would like to see it.

Ronald Hilton - 11.03.03