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Campaign in Russia Paperback – 26 Nov 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com (26 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1291220569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1291220568
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 760,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Léon Degrelle (1906 – 1994) was a Walloon Belgian politician, who was leader of the Belgian Rexist Party before World War II. In 1936, Degrelle's party won 21 deputies and 12 senators and became one of the largest parties. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the Rexist Party split and Degrelle was arrested as a “suspected collaborator.” Upon the defeat of France, Degrelle was released by the Germans and restarted a new Rexist party, this time closely allied to National Socialism. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Degrelle enlisted as a private in the Walloon legion of the Wehrmacht in August 1941. In June 1943, the Walloons were transferred from the Wehrmacht to Waffen SS and became the 5th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Wallonien. He served for the rest of the war on the Eastern Front, with his personal bravery and ability propelling his promotion to Generalmajor der Waffen-SS d. R. right before the end of the war. He received the Ritterkreuz (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) from Hitler's hands, who also told him that "if I had a son, I would want him to be like you." At the end of the war, Albert Speer provided him with an aircraft which was flown to Spain, where he was given asylum and lived until his death.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Leon Degrelle was the pre-WW2 leader of the Belgian "Rexist" (from "Christ the King" or "Christus Rex") movement, a basically pro-Fascist Catholic party and organization which, after German invasion and occupation, joined with National-Socialist Germany as a far preferable alternative to both a Stalinist Soviet Union and a mediocre, money and class-ridden USA and UK. Degrelle personally fought on the very front lines of the Eastern Front for years almost to the very end. He then managed to get away, first to Scandinavia (in 1945 under German occupation to a later date than Germany itself) and then, flying a German plane, to Spain. The plane was attacked by British fighters and, running low on fuel, only just made it to Spain, crash-landing on the beach at San Sebastian, only a few miles from the French frontier. Degrelle was granted political asylum and lived the rest of his life happily and productively in Francoist Spain despite being under sentence of death in his native land. What is so very important about this book (amid the plethora of "histories" by people like Andrew Roberts and Martin Gilbert) is that, firstly, the author lived this history and, secondly, he puts forward another view to the usual SS=atrocity canards. This is, to a very large extent, "secret history" today. The book shows that the SS motto "Meine Ehre heisst Treue" (Loyalty is my Honour) has a great deal of truth in it.
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I should have bought this book a few years ago but knowing a bit about Degrelle I thought it would be a politically based account and did not bother, a very big mistake on my account.
While reading the book Degrelles views and beliefs come across but at no point are they pushed in your face or made to be the focal point.
In a way he is to be admired for not compromising his beliefs and being prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs, if only politicians would show some of his commitment.
Back to the book. Degrelle paints the people, isbas, rivers, sky and all the surrounding features, with wonderful colour, unlike other writers who leave you with a black and white image in your head.
The main part of the book is about the Cherkassy encirclement and the desperate fight of 160,000 men to escape. For further reading I suggest HELLS GATE by Douglass Nash.
Degrelle while being highly decorated and having the wound badge in gold glosses over or dismisses his own actions and concentrates on the actions of his men, detailing the close combat and what they came up against with the Russians.
He does not hold back with graphic detail, such as the time he found a young German soldier who had had both his legs sawn off at the knees by the Russians but in his last moments had dragged himself a few meters in the hope of being saved.
The last couple of chapters deal with the total collapse of the front and in my view give the most vivid account of what it was like.
I can highly recommend this book. In a world where you can be a hero for wiping your backside, I leave you with a quote from the book.
'You, reader, friend or enemy-watch them come back to life; for we are living in a period when one must look very hard to find real men, and they were that, to the very marrow of their bones.'
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read a plethora of books on this subject and a huge number of eye witness reports over the years in my own humble opinion this is the best .Leon Degrelle an historical figure well known by everyone who has ever studied the history of the second world war , relates his experience of combat on the eastern front in pedantic detail . The prose is sometimes a bit flowery and the political slant given would of warmed the heart of Goebbels but the fact remains that this is very much a soldiers story . It`s diffacult for us 21st century armchair generals sat warm , dry and in comfort and with a full belly to imagine what it would of been like but this much decorated soldier wounded many times drags us there and it was as close as I want to get ! He spares us nothing . Read his account of the winter of 41 on a warm day and you`ll feel cold . Added to the vivid descriptions of the brutality and cruelty of the combat one gets a real sense of the misery incurred by the soldiers even when not in combat in just trying to survive . More than just the already well documented instances of the effects of frostbite but such things as the open sores caused by the mulitude of lice , filthy clothing having to be worn unchanged for months , the constant exhaustion , the suicides of those unable to bear it any longer. In one chapter he describes 10 days of continual close combat functioning on a mixture of fear , adrenalin and stay awake pills that enable you to understand why the afore mentioned poor sods did put a bullet through their own brain ! side step the politics , just read it because its the fullest acount of the Russian campaign that you will ever read .
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A book that has stood the test of time, first published in the 1980's. Written by an anti-communist patriot, this is much more than an account of the attempt to extinguish bolshevism in Operation Barbarossa. Degrelle's lyrical and even poetic style takes time out from combat and shows the highly educated and previously successful Christian man he was.
Even though drawn from most European nations, the SS was vastly outnumbered by the USSR, which was also aided by the "capitalist" British Empire and the USA, something that is never fully explained in works of history ...
So bolshevism triumphed in Europe (and further afield) with the results we see all around -- perhaps especially in those nations that "won" the War ...

This however is not about larger issues relating to WW2 as the catastrophe that increasingly people are now coming to see it, but an account of the Belgian SS-Wallonie at war, written by their Commanding Officer as a tribute to them. Even casual WW2 readers will appreciate this classic book and the man who penned it.
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