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Spanish Blue


cardboard_killer
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cardboard_killer

[80 years ago today] "• Having arrived by several dozen trains, the men of the División Española de Voluntarios swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler and are incorporated into the Wehrmacht as the 250. Infanterie Division. The unit, commanded by General de división Agustín Muñoz Grandes, is unofficially known as the Blue Division due to their dark blue Falangist shirts, the only non-German uniform item. They immediately begin intensive training at Grafenwöhr, Germany. Francisco Franco allowed this mainly to appease German demands for Spain to enter the war and to repay the debt owed for German and Italian support in the Spanish Civil War. His condition is that they never be used against the Western Allies. So many Spaniards flocked to the Nazi banner that several divisions could have been raised, but in the end Franco only allowed one. Many of the men are veterans of the civil war and more are on leave from the Spanish Army.

 

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División Azul will be attached to Army Group North and is considered the most effective of all foreign volunteer troops in the Wehrmacht. Following heavy casualties during the Russian counter-offensives in the Leningrad sector in 1943, the division will be returned to Spain. Up to 3,000 men will volunteer to remain, forming the Spanish Legion which will continue to fight until ordered to return by Franco, who is under heavy diplomatic pressure by the Allies. A few companies worth of die-hard anti-Bolsheviks will enroll in the Waffen SS rather than leave.

- At this time the 15. Spanische Staffel is also training, and will be attached to JG 51 as part of Army Group Centre. Pilots and crew of five Spanish squadrons will rotate through the “Blue Squadron” from 1941 to ’43, operating Bf-109s and Fw-190s.

• The Spanish Repúblicans in-exile have hopes that if the Allies are triumphant, Franco may fall with the rest of the fascists and their legitimately elected government restored. They will be disappointed by realpolitik and the onset of the Cold War where the Allies see fascist Spain as an ally against the Soviets.

- It’s likely however that restoration of the República Española has been quietly floated to Franco by the British should the Estado Español enter the war.

- During this month, Franco takes steps to further discredit Juan Negrín, the last Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Repúblic. Negrín is in exile in Hertfordshire, England with quasi-diplomatic recognition. Franco’s “Special Court of Political Responsibilities” declares Negrín guilty of rebellion for opposing Franco’s rebellion and fines him 100 million pasetas. In September, the “Special Court for the Repression of Freemasonry and Communism” will sentence him to 30 years in prison even though Negrín is neither a Mason nor a Communist. "

 

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