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Subject: THE DEVIL'S GUARD: Fact or fiction?
Godofgamblers    4/27/2006 10:05:26 PM
South, cruel south, Dreary nights and days, Green, rolling green, Where Death rides on the trails. You're weary? Carry on! Until the bitter end, You are Devil's Guard, The Battalion of the Damned. A LEGION MARCHING SONG The release of the book THE DEVIL'S GUARD caused a major scandal when it was first released in 1971 and tells the story of SS soldier Hans Josef Wagemueller who spent decades in continual combat, in 'unconditional warfare' as he called it. After escaping from allied forces in WWII, he fled abroad where he joined the French Foreign Legion. There he claimed huge numbers of ex-Nazis had been recruited to fight the Vietnamese. The German FFL soldiers formed their own units and had German commanders assigned to them. He related that they found their SS tactics perfectly suited to the jungle war against the communist 'sub-humans'. After the war, he retired to an asian country where he related his memoirs to a writer. Western authorities called the book 'communist propaganda' and the French denied that SS or Gestapo members were used in Indochina. However... reading the book (http://www.xs4all.nl/~brandb/devils_guard.htm) it seems very convincing. Debate still rages on its authenticity. It seems very real to me. What are your opinions? Fact or fiction? (Warning: if you choose to read the text, be warned that it is rather shocking material, and the characters defend and propagate a pro Nazi ideology. Some may find it quite offensive.)
 
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le_corsaire       4/2/2009 4:20:52 AM

Not really sure where you are getting your information from mate, but I have been researching this subject for tow years now and the evidence of Germans serving in the French Foreign Legion in Indochina is startling and embarrassing for some. A very interesting subject full of stories that should be told.


I am getting the information from my own experience. I was in the Legion and later in other units of the Armée de Terre and also DGSE. There is no question that there were and are "Germans" in the Legion (I am also "half-German" by the way). In fact the way the Legion operates has been strongly influenced by German officers after the second world war.
However the book mentioned is pathetic nonsense ...  obviously written by somebody who obviously was not able to get over the fact that the "nordic/mythic vision" with all their light marches didn't bring them the "Endsieg". There is nothing embarassing about germans in the Legion - its part of our history - and they were excellent soldiers. But a book like this does more damage  to their memory than it would do good. As a story writer you might be very careful not to discuss these aspects on a too abstract/too general level. There was a difference between Wehrmacht and SS and GESTAPO and there is a difference between military operators (who view their role as a profession and usually have a very clear picture about the damage they do - well, have to, however would avoid where they can) and ideologically "polluted" persons who see themselves as "Herrenrasse" and have fun doing damage to others because the feel everybody else is inferior to them.
I would hope, that in your publications your are careful not to mix these things ...
 
 
 
 
 
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Godofgamblers       4/2/2009 5:27:31 AM

Not really sure where you are getting your information from mate, but I have been researching this subject for tow years now and the evidence of Germans serving in the French Foreign Legion in Indochina is startling and embarrassing for some. A very interesting subject full of stories that should be told.


I think that there were Germans , a good number of Germans, in the legion, but the question is whether they were Wehrmacht or Gestapo. In the book, the narrator claimed that everything was the same as in Nazi Germany, even the interrogators/torturers were Gestapo and everything was identical except the portrait of Hitler on the wall. The hard thing is to determine if they were Gestapo or general army. I really don't see any way of deciding the question. However, DEVIL's GUARD is not a reliable source.
 
 
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cwDeici       4/2/2009 9:52:39 PM



Not really sure where you are getting your information from mate, but I have been researching this subject for tow years now and the evidence of Germans serving in the French Foreign Legion in Indochina is startling and embarrassing for some. A very interesting subject full of stories that should be told.






I think that there were Germans , a good number of Germans, in the legion, but the question is whether they were Wehrmacht or Gestapo. In the book, the narrator claimed that everything was the same as in Nazi Germany, even the interrogators/torturers were Gestapo and everything was identical except the portrait of Hitler on the wall. The hard thing is to determine if they were Gestapo or general army. I really don't see any way of deciding the question. However, DEVIL's GUARD is not a reliable source.

 



Definitely sounds like fiction to me. Such people would be filtered out with varying degrees of success from the start and over time. Certainly, some probably made it, but they wouldn't get away with making an identical method of operation - the French FL is French, not Third Reich German... while there would probably be a diluted Wehrmacht athmosphere the SS, those that hustled through, would have been isolated. Not that the Wehrmacht wasn't involved in atrocities. I wonder if they were subject to any reeducation, and how their mindscapes changed after WWII?
Seems like a book that was made to cash in on the neonazi segments of population.
 
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21man    in my non humble opinion!   4/17/2009 12:48:19 PM
The first book is basically factual, based on tapes. The following ones are not, they just Elford hoping to follow up on his amazing success and luck of having met the the man as stated.
He wrote the speech parts "" Whereas the author taped it all out like most of it is written. 
Great read! Not PC today though... even though it is a most sort after book.
Tilt!  Publishers avoid its reprint.
The difference between Communism and National Socialism is simple. The Communists won and wrote their version of history as victors do....  
I have just completed a 250,000 word MS on the cold war... some of it true, some of it not.
Just need a publisher... Tilt! Not easy...
 
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Hugo       4/17/2009 3:03:13 PM
 I have read only one book on the Legion but it's a solid one.  It's titled Legionnaire, written by an Englishman named Simon Murray (from an upper middle class background with no criminal history - just an adventurous young man so not a common Legion candidate).  It's quite a good read - telling the story of the legion in Algeria during French control in the 1960s. 
 
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le_corsaire       4/20/2009 3:39:28 AM

The first book is basically factual, based on tapes. The following ones are not, they just Elford hoping to follow up on his amazing success and luck of having met the the man as stated.

He wrote the speech parts "" Whereas the author taped it all out like most of it is written. 

Great read! Not PC today though... even though it is a most sort after book.

Tilt!  Publishers avoid its reprint.

The difference between Communism and National Socialism is simple. The Communists won and wrote their version of history as victors do....  

I have just completed a 250,000 word MS on the cold war... some of it true, some of it not.

Just need a publisher... Tilt! Not easy...


If you mean by "factual", that it corresponds to the "tapes" - maybe. However the whole story is so heavily biased by that it obviously has very little to do with reality anymore and paints a picture which is more the author's wishful thinking than what really happened (at least some of the old veterans see it like that). If you view it from that perspective it is more fiction than facts. 
 
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cwDeici       4/20/2009 1:15:43 PM
Just because they're both totalitarian on the XY scale of liberalism/totalitarianism-capitalism/communalism doesn't mean they're the same... sounds like you're attempting some shoddy relativism here. I'm intrigued by your mention of a cold war book though.
 
As for Communism and Nazism all they have in common is totalitarianism and a horrific bodycount (higher on the communist side but they had more time and space and unrivaled on the Nazi side in pure ingenuity of suffering). Nazism is rather centrist in it's economic policy.
 
Anyone knows this...
 
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cwDeici       4/20/2009 1:18:09 PM
Was France losing in Algeria? I checked on Portugal's colonies recently and they were doing very well economically and militarily until the revolutionary privates screwed over their military, economic, political leaders and their subsequently improverished and doubly wartorn dictatorship ex-colonies (pure demographics and the consequences of disrupting the economies).
 
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Hugo       4/20/2009 4:17:44 PM

Was France losing in Algeria? I checked on Portugal's colonies recently and they were doing very well economically and militarily until the revolutionary privates screwed over their military, economic, political leaders and their subsequently improverished and doubly wartorn dictatorship ex-colonies (pure demographics and the consequences of disrupting the economies).

  Was your question addressed to me?  According to Murray's book, France were not losing militarily in Algeria but the conflict was getting long and increasingly bloody.  I think they would have left much earlier if it wasn't for a sizable population of French Algerians who were determined to stick it out.
 
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Gertie    German Soldiers fighting in Indochina   5/12/2009 1:46:28 PM

Hello

 

I was reading your post, I am a screenwritier living in Australia doing research about  German soldiers fighting in IndoChina with the Foreign legion, you say your father knew the person in question in relation to the novel: Devils Guard. Did your father serve in Indochina with the French? Any information you could pass my way in terms of research would be greatly appreciated.

 

best regards

I understand that you were directing your inquiry to someone else, but I am currently writing, with particular emphasis on Germans in the FFL at the end and after WWII.  I have found out some interesting information - and run up against obstacles as well, when it comes to this subject and some other similar ones as well.  My uncle joined the FFL after the war.  I would be most interested in hearing what you've found in research thus far and in exchanging ideas.   In any case, I can tell you that the older generation is dying off and a lot of information will soon be lost as it is only available by word of mouth.   The other line of information seems to be France itself.  There are many French books and movies on this particular topic - only in French.  I am assuming, up to this time, there is no market for this subject in North America.  Publishers, up until now have not been interested - or unwilling. So look there. Remember, after serving with the FFL, if you survive, you may become a citizen of France. The rules were the same then.
 
Respectfully,
Cheers.

Tom



 
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