Campaign in Russia Paperback – 26 Nov 2012
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.'
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written, highly interesting account of the Wallonian Waffen SS, hard to put down, thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommended to readers who like to hear the truth of ww2... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Oh MaCoo
A fantastic tale of horror and heroism, written by the man who witnessed both. He and his comrades suffered terrible conditions and great loses. Read morePublished 17 months ago by garytcayton
Leon Degrelle was a Belgian patriot who opposed communism and set off to fight eh Bolsheviks in the German SS. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Mr. Nj Mcallister
A Truley well written book by the author who was there and lived it. I still fail to comprehend the suffering of all soldiers on the Eastern front whatever their nationality. Read morePublished 22 months ago by AWP
As a primary source this is illuminating. I read this having just finished 'Russia's War' by Overy (also excellent by the way). Read morePublished 22 months ago by Cromlechi