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Renegades: Hitler's Englishmen Paperback – 3 Jan 2002
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"Mr Weale has uncovered everything there is to know about the shadowy "British Free Corps"...A fascinating footnote to the history of the war...his style and parts of the book read like an adventure story, with more shady characters than a le Carre novel" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Thoroughly readable and full of curious detail" (Spectator)
"A meticulously researched study which draws on a huge body of material, including closed intelligence files, to chart the careers not only of notorious traitors such as William Joyce and John Amery, but of minor players as well" (The Times)
'A fascinating footnote to the history of the war-with more shady characters than a le Carr- novel.' Sunday TelegraphSee all Product description
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Adrian Weale begins with a background to Inter-war Britain and the growth and development of Fascism, culminating with Oswald Mosley and his BUF. This helps explain why people like Joyce and Amery became the infamous traitors and worked for the Germans. Weale then goes on to document the development of the British Free Corps and the extent to what the SS officers went to to recruit English and British Prisoners of War into the unit with the aim to destroying bolshevism, stopping at nothing, even press-ganging and violence.
The book also has a very interesting chapter of the foreign volunteers who worked for the SS, specifically the Waffen-SS, during the war, these included Danish, Dutch, French, Belgian, Norwegan, Swedish and even Bosnian Muslim peoples and their motivations.
Weale provides a valueble insight into the workings of the German military as well as the actions of British traitors.
The foreign contingents who decided to fight with Hitler's armies (usually under a broad anti-Communist aegis) are well documented. Less well known is the British Free Corps, a small but fully-fledged unit attached to the Waffen SS. Mainly constituted from pro-fascist POWs, these traitors and their service in the Nazi war machine has long been a shadowy presence in the history of the Second World War.
Adrian Weale's dedicated research has exposed the history of this unit for the first time. His use of sources is thorough, and the text is supported by some extraordinary photographs of members of the British Free Corps in SS uniform sporting their Union Flag insignia.
It would be possible to write a prurient history of this issue, but Weale shows the dysfunctional nature of many of the recruits and their leader, John Amery. The prose is careful and readable, and the author is clearly in command of his material. He does not lose sight of the human stories behind the uniforms, but tells the story of these misguided and mythologised soldiers in all its sorry detail.
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