translated from the Third Reich original Europäische Front: Soldaten bauen Europe by Walther Tröge. The theme is that the soldierly idealism and the Greater Europe idea are the driving force behind both the Waffen-SS volunteers from throughout Europe as well as German’s Axis allies, many of which were led by military men. Hence there are sections on not only Germany, but also on Italy, Romania, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal and even France. The role of various European nations in the defense of Europe against non-European invaders throughout history is emphasized as well as England’s negative influence, namely its policy of encouraging European disunity and playing the European powers against each other while it built its own overseas empire – largely through theft! Furthermore, the German Reich idea is contrasted to that of the British Empire. The Greater German Reich in Europe’s heart is to be the natural leader, but not the exploitative master, of the emerging European New Order.
Far away in the Soviet Union there has been waging for more than a year a terrible struggle using all the most modern weapons. Millions stand against millions. All strong-in-youth European nations have come together in a common defensive front. Where it was not possible to employ the full military might of a folk for this eastern struggle on Russia’s broad, desolate plains, at least volunteer legions were sent in order to show that in reality the whole folk accompanied this armed struggle with passionate heart.
Almost all European folks have marched up. Italy, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia fight in their own contingents… Legions and SS formations were formed from Spaniards, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Frenchmen, Dutch, Walloons and Flemings.
This war, in whose East Asian sector the third Axis partner, Japan, also participates with incomparable fighting courage and success, and in closest cooperation with it politically so aspiring Thailand, is more than a war of the technological and material such as the “battles of material” of the World War 1914/18. It is already almost a struggle of spirits, where it is no longer about bodily things, rather about the highest ideas of mankind. Europe and its more than two thousand year old culture and morality is supposed to be saved from nihilism, from Bolshevism that destroys everything living and dead.
Hence a Spanish comrade from Madrid is right, when he, looking back at his folk’s suffering during the destructive Spanish Civil War, writes in “Young Europe”: “This war is a holy war, a war of the heart. The Alcazar of Toledo has contributed more than speeches and conferences to the decision against Marxism, to the victory of eternal values and spirit over materialistic and calculable values. Victory will not mean comforts, not an end to the suffering and return to earlier pleasures, rather responsibility and fulfillment of a historic task in a voluntary unification of the folks into a mighty impulse.”
The idea of an obligating Greater European sphere appears here, in which all European folks of the continent are granted what they require for a contented, economically strong and internally balanced life.
This strong hope, the faith in such a unified Greater Europe resounds in all the letters and expressions of the young volunteers. No longer will England, like in the last centuries, promote unrest and discord from the outside in order to then all the better, protected by a European “balance of power”, gain the goods of the world for itself and its own economic greed, while Europe’s folks famish or sink into cultural devolution. Europe’s youth knows that this establishment of the Greater European region is not about political or folkish standardization, rather that the uniqueness and differences between folks and races will remain, and that nonetheless the goal of Greater Europe will become a happy reality.
A Croatian friend from Agram puts this high goal of the young folk European folks into these words: “The great events are not born from thought constructions at the desk, rather from the reality of life, from the spiritual development of a unified mass, from the deed of great men, who are the expression of the same. Europe has never achieved a politically uniform mono-culture in political or economic regard, rather cultural, political and economic life developed the idea of a higher collective, whose prerequisite is not the annihilation, rather quite the opposite the preservation of national individuality. The blood that has flowed on the Russian battlefields will become the mythos of the European collective.”
This “mythos” of a unified Europe resounds just as loudly in the announcement of an officer of the Norwegian legion, who writes: “We will triumph, because Russian cannot rely on England and the USA’s promises, while Germany, Italy, Finland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and all the volunteer legions of the other European folks are solidly united and determined to beat down Bolshevism. Bolshevism also bears within itself the seed of its collapse, because it rests in atheism and materialism and wants to destroy the band of family and tradition, which history has proven as indispensable for the existence of our culture. The sacrifice of the Norwegian legion is the obligation to lead us to a new time that will assure us an honorable place in the new Europe.”
Carried by such a spirit, the leader of the Freikorps Dänemark, SS-Obersturmführer von Schalberg fell at the point of his soldiers, who had assumed command of the Danish volunteers in March 1942. He was the first active Danish officer to volunteer for the Finnish side in the Winter War against the Bolsheviks. After Germany’s conflict with the Soviet Union had created clear lines in Europe, Chr. Frederik von Schalburg joined the Waffen-SS and sacrificed his life.
Heart refreshing is the devote fighting courage that fills all the volunteers in the snow-covered and now muddy Russian battle regions. They deny having joined up and put on the German uniform with the national insignia on the sleeve just out of desire for adventure. All of them think like that fellow fighter of the Spanish “Blue Division” who sketched the war goal of the European youth with these words: “We are not adventurers and do not act without deliberation, rather we have as young and energetic people hope in the future and a glowing love for the regeneration,…the fate of youth is a difficult road to a better future.”
Is it not strange how much all these voices of soldier youth from the farthest European north and the farthest European south resemble each other? And what it is that connects all these fighters?…The answer is not hard: namely soldierly idealism, whose European commonality is greater than one may perhaps initially be inclined to presume…
Soldierly bearing is always idealism, is hence struggle against materialism and selfishness, is not just readiness for sacrifice, rather also knowledge about this sacrifice. Hence the letters of German students who fell in the World War are among the most beautiful and noble of German literature. Hence it was no slogan when it could be read in the report about the death of a fallen 21 year old German lieutenant: “This young man was surrounded by a cloud of purity that transformed our deep grief into reverence.”
Older people tend to be clear about things, youth follows enthusiasm. Youth seeks the timeless, the eternal. And because soldiery is the highest readiness against the repulsive and base, whereby the small “I” is absorbed into the great “We” of the folk and fatherland, youth will always be enthusiastic about the soldierly.
When I here speak especially about German soldiery, I wish to designate simply German life style, but not in the sense of that ugly caricature of enemy propaganda, which before and after the World War spoke of Prussian “militarism” and today speaks of “Hitlerism” and means something that appears with iron heel, ravages the foreign and seeks to satisfy brutal lust for power… German soldiery has never been like that.
German soldiery is morality in the highest sense. In “Guideline for Education and Training”, which the German Reichswehr created for itself after the November Revolution of 1918, soldiery and state are brought into a relationship to each other as downright moral factors. It is written there: “The essence of the state consists of right and power. Only power can achieve right. Hence the armed forces are rooted in the concept of the state, just as it is rooted in the concept of nation and morality. The soldier is hence a life important, indispensable servant of the state. But he is more. The moral idea of the state first finds its highest fulfillment in the profession of soldier. And the meaning of the profession of soldier lies in the constant readiness to sacrifice life for the fatherland. For the soldier, the fatherland stands above all else. This alone can express all the relationships that bind him to state, folk and homeland. The fatherland breeds, bears and determines his whole being, all his feeling and thinking. The soldier consecrates his whole work, his person, his life and death to the fatherland.”
And when in the appendix the “Eight Duties of the Soldier” are listed, whose text must be memorized by the young German soldier, it is seen that this soldier catechism represents a nearly complete ethics. The German armed forces puts value in this soldierly affirmation of faith in the highest idealism being heard by the brave allies and co-fighters from the European lands, so that they recognize and know what inwardly inspires German soldiers. It goes:
“First, the armed forces are the weapons-bearer of the German folk. They protect the German Reich and fatherland, the German folk united in National Socialism and its living space. The roots of their strength lie in a glorious past, in the German folk, in German earth and German work.
“Second, the honor of the soldier lies in the unconditional employment of his person for folk and fatherland to the sacrifice of his life.
“Third, fighting courage is the highest soldier virtue. It demands hardness and determination. Cowardice is disgraceful, hesitation not soldierly.
“Fourth, obedience is the foundation of the armed forces, trust the foundation of obedience.
“Soldierly leadership rests upon joy in responsibility, superior ability and tireless care.
‘Fifth, great achievements in war and peace only emerge through the unshakeable fighting community of leader and troop.
“Sixth, fighting community requires comradeship. It proves itself especially in distress and danger.
“Seven, self-aware and yet modest, upright and loyal, god-fearing and truthful, discrete and incorruptible, the soldier should be a good example of manly strength to the whole folk. Only achievements justify pride.
“Eighth, the soldier finds greatest reward and greatest happiness in the consciousness of joyfully fulfilled duty.
“Character and achievement determine his path and worth.”