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  #1  
Old 15th March 2006, 22:33
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Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

Dear Gruppe,

Was there a law/rule that prohibited Luftwaffe (or more general military) personnel to become a member of the NSDAP (Nazi-party)?
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  #2  
Old 15th March 2006, 23:17
Dénes Bernád Dénes Bernád is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

In the last issue of Luftwaffe im Focus, there is a photo of a Lw pilot wearing an NSDAP pin. The text says that this (i.e., membership in the Nazi Party) was rare among Luftwaffe airmen and was actually frown upon by the other members. This detail is seldom spelled out in the literature, where often the Luftwaffe personnel is being referred to as 'Nazi pilots'.
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  #3  
Old 16th March 2006, 00:02
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

Interesting subject and I might cause a stir, but...

In the old Reichs army it was forbidden to belong to any political organisation.

The Army was traditionally the realm of the Prussian king, the Kriegsmarine was the favorite of the Kaiser, so it was very much Imperial in its traditions, but the Luftwaffe was most modern branch and as such most associated with the new (modern) order of the Nazi party.

Of course the armed forces reflect society. The new mass Wehrmacht would have seen plenty of Nazis in all branches.
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Old 16th March 2006, 10:03
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

For the Wehrmacht, such a law existed.
In § 26 of the Wehrgesetz it says:
"Politik in der Wehrmacht.(1) Die Soldaten dürfen sich politisch nicht betätigen. Die Zugehörigkeit zur NSDAP oder zu einem der ihr angeschlossenen Verbände ruht für die Dauer des aktiven Wehrdienstes."
So members of the Wehrmacht did not have to leave the Party, but membership then became inactive.
As the Luftwaffe was a part of the Wehrmacht, this rule should be effective here also in theory.
Walter Nowotny was member of the Party and I know of one Austrian author (Heimito von Doderer), who became member of the NSDAP as early as 1933 and entered the Luftwaffe in 1940 without leaving the Party.
Hope this helps,
best wishes
Robert

Last edited by robert_schulte; 17th March 2006 at 17:03. Reason: misleading phrase
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Old 16th March 2006, 20:42
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

My impression is that to succeed in Nazi Germany, being a member of the NDASP was almost mandatory, or at least much denazified people claimed that. But I can understand that claiming being a partisan of the regime really helped one's carreer.

It seems to me that a good part of the important people in industry, education, culture and so on were members of the Nazi party and I just wonder if much Luftwaffe generals did the same or not. After all Goering was a member of the party, and of the Luftwaffe.
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Old 16th March 2006, 23:04
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

With Goering it was different, he was a politician first and soldier second.

For career soldiers, many of whom started their career before the Nazis came to power or only shortly thereafter, many of the old rules applied. OTOH the wartime mass army would have seen that distinction much reduced.

Conservatism in Germany could actually bring with itself an anti nazi stance, even if only privately or passively. Hitler was never able to win over the German army, which remained very much Prussian in tradition and outlook.

Again, the Luftwaffe is the modern branch and as such the outsider, or more apt the insider (not including the Waffen SS).

It may be correct to say that the Nazi revolution never succeeded in winning over the armed forces, at least not pre-war.
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Old 17th March 2006, 01:17
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

If I remember correctly, Steinhoff described Heinz Wernicke as being NSDAp member in "The last chance".
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Old 17th March 2006, 12:13
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

Horst Carganico is described as being a 'hard-core Nazi' in Volume 1 of Black Cross, Red Star, so one wonders if he was also in the NSDAP?
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  #9  
Old 17th March 2006, 12:37
Andrey Dikov Andrey Dikov is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

My two cents.

I had only one chance to interview a German pilot. It was Grislawski, half year befor he die.

Regarding Nazi pilots he told me the following: Generally they were not aware for sure - who is nsdap member or not. But as he told, only former Hitlerjugend and party members were being awarded by DK, so they always suspected DK-winners as Nazi.


And if I remember right Hans Hahn was also Nazi.
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Old 17th March 2006, 16:43
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Re: Luftwaffe personnel and Nazi-party membership

Hi,
Wasn't Moelder's a Party member too? Didn't he "unsubscribe" his membership at some point because of an objection to Nazi politics regarding religion? Perhaps someone could clarify this!
Karl
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