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  You are in: Home > History > The Blue Division  
 

The Blue Division
Spanish Blood in Russia, 1941–1945

Xavier Moreno Juliá

Xavier Moreno Juliá is professor of Contemporary History at Rovira i Virgili University, the University of Tarragona (Spain). He has published widely in Great Britain, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Blue Division, originally published in 2004, now revised and expanded, was the first book of an informal trilogy; the other two volumes, published in Spain, are Hitler and Franco: Diplomacy in the Time of War, 1936–1945 (2007) and The Blue Legion and Second World War: The Spanish–German Collapse on the Eastern Front, 1943–1944 (2014).

 

This book, translated from the original Spanish, is the primary academic and historical study of the Blue Division – a Falangist initiative involving the dispatch of some forty-thousand Spanish combatants (more than a half of whom paid with their lives, health, or liberty) to the Russian Front during the Second World War.

Xavier Moreno Juliá does not limit himself to relating their deeds under arms, but also analyses – for the first time – the political background in detail: the complex relations between the Spanish government and Hitler’s Germany; the internal conflicts between the Falangists and the Army; the rise and fall of Franco’s brother-in-law, Minister Ramón Serrano Suñer, who inspired the Blue Division and became the second most powerful person in Spain; and the attitude of General Agustín Muñoz Grandes, commander of the Blue Division, who was encouraged by Berlin to seriously consider the possibility of taking over the reins of Spanish power.

In the end, there were 45,500 reasons that led to joining the Blue Division – one for each young man who decided to enlist. To understand all of the complex reasons behind their military service under German command is impossible at this juncture. It is an irrecoverable past that lies in Spanish cemeteries and on the Russian steppes.

This book, based on massive documentation in German, British and Spanish archives, is an essential source of information to understand Spain in the 1940s – an epoch when the Caudillo’s power and the regime’s good fortune were less secure than is often believed.


Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies


Acknowledgements
Acronyms and Abbreviations
List of maps, tables and illustrations
Note on Vocabulary

Introduction

CHAPTER 1 – THE THIRD REICH, FRANCO, THE FALANGE, AND THE ARMY: THE MONTHS BEFORE THE FORMATION OF THE BLUE DIVISION
REFLECTIONS AND MEMORIES
THE FALANGE AND THE ARMY: ACCUMULATED TENSIONS AND PRO-GERMAN ATTITUDES SHARED UNTIL MAY 1941
The Falange
The Army
GERMAN DIPLOMACY IN SPAIN
German Diplomatic Representation in Spain
German Diplomatic Activity in Spain
GERMANY AND SPAIN FACE THE WAR
Operation “Sea Lion”
Operation “Felix”
THE CRISIS OF MAY 1941 AS SEEN BY GERMAN DIPLOMACY
The Outbreak of the Crisis
Appointments, Resignations, and Changes
Franco’s Third Cabinet
The Result and Evaluation of the Crisis
THE DISMISSAL OF GERARDO SALVADOR MERINO: EPILOGUE TO THE CRISIS OF MAY 1941
The German Model to Imitate
An Unexpected Legal Action

CHAPTER 2 – CREATION OF THE BLUE DIVISION
INVASION OF THE SOVIET UNION
BIRTH OF THE BLUE DIVISION
Five days to Form an Idea: From 22 to 26 June 1941
RECRUITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS
The Evolution of the Recruitment and its Sociopolitical Context: From 27 June 27 to 2 July 1941

The Result of the Recruitment (Support, Reservations, and Inhibitions Relating to the Enlistment)
BETWEEN SPAIN AND GERMANY
Gathering the Volunteers in Spain
The Blue Division is Provisionally Structured
The First Contacts of the Blue Division in Germany
The Street and Diplomacy during the First Two Weeks of July 1941
The Journey to Bavaria

CHAPTER 3 – THE MILITARY CAMPAIGN OF THE BLUE DIVISION
BEFORE COMBAT BEGAN (FROM JULY TO OCTOBER 1941)

Development of the War
The Grafenwöhr Military Camp
Fifty-three Days on the Road
COMBAT
The War from October 1941
Into Combat: The Offensive to the East of the River Volkhov
Fortification on the West Bank of the River Volkhov
Operation “Predator” and its Impact on the Blue Division
Last Actions on the Volkhov Front
Leningrad: A New Front
The Fighting During 1943
The Last Six Months on the Front
The Relief of the Blue Division: The Birth of the Blue Legion
The Blue Legion
The Clandestine War

CHAPTER 4 – THE REARGUARD OF THE BLUE DIVISION
PRIOR TO COMBAT (JULY TO OCTOBER 1941)

The Grafenwöhr Military Camp
Fifty-three Days on the Road
COMBAT IN 1941
COMBAT IN 1942
The Petition for Rest and Recuperation
German Recognition, and Changes in the Blue Division
The Political End of Ramón Serrano Suñer
The Replacement of Muñoz Grandes
COMBAT IN 1943
THE END OF THE BLUE DIVISION
THE BLUE LEGION
The Birth of the Blue Legion
The Campaign of the Blue Legion
The Move to the Rear and the Repatriation of the Blue Legion
THE CLANDESTINE FIGHT

CHAPTER 5 – THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE BLUE DIVISION
THE HUMAN COST

The Dead and Disappeared
The Sick, Wounded, and Disabled
The Deserters and Those Returned for Alleged Disaffection
The Prisoners
Captivity
The negotiations for liberation and repatriation
Liberation and return
Barcelona
Some repercussions of the Semiramis repatriations
The later repatriations
THE COST OF HEALTH CARE
The Provision of Healthcare Services during the War (1941–1945)
Spanish welfare benefits
German welfare benefits
Social Assistance after the War (1945-1995)
The continuation of Spanish welfare provisions
The restoration of German welfare benefits
THE MATERIAL COST
The Income of the Divisionarios
The Cost of the Blue Division

CONCLUSIONS: THE HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BLUE DIVISION
Political Significance
Internal politics
External politics
Economic Significance
Military Significance
Social Significance
Human Significance

APPENDICES
Appendix 1 – Russian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian volunteers enlisted in the Blue Division, with biographical notes
Appendix 2 – Provisional structure of the Blue Division (Madrid, July 1941)
Appendix 3 – First transport expeditions of troops of the Blue Division to Germany (July 1941)
Appendix 4 – Commanders of the Blue Division in Germany (Grafenwöhr Camp, July 1941)
Appendix 5 – Summary of forces of the Blue Division at the front (Russia, February 1942)
Appendix 6 – Commanders of the Blue Legion
Appendix 7 – Alphabetical list of volunteers who fought clandestinely in the Wehrmacht, or in the Waffen SS, registered by the German Embassy in Madrid, with an indication of their military rank
Appendix 8 – Alphabetical list of prisoners in the Soviet Unión repatriated in April 1954 on the ship SS Semiramis, with an indication of their place and province of residence
Appendix 9 – Monthly amounts paid to divisionarios from German funds in the case of them not having children, and having been at the front, with an indication of their pay scale
Appendix 10 – Monthly amounts of the lifetime pensions payable by the Third Reich to members of the Blue Division for permanent injury, according to the grade of disability and their civil status
Appendix 11 – Monthly amount paid by the Third Reich to beneficiaries in respect of death in service in the Blue Division
Appendix 12 – Articles of the German-Spanish Convention of May 1962 on benefits derived from service in the Blue Division
Appendix 13 – List of the number of beneficiaries by year and pension supplements paid by Germany between 1965 and 1994 to the disabled of the Blue Division, and total amounts paid

Notes
Primary sources
Bibliography
lindex



From reviews of the Spanish edition

“Dr. Moreno has written what undoubtedly will remain the definitive treatment of a difficult and multi-layered subject for the foreseeable future. Both as a unit history and as an analysis of a small, but critically important, segment of Francoist Spain's wartime foreign policy it has no peer.”
Dr. Klaus Schmider (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst), in The Journal of Military History, Lexington (Virginia, USA), 70.3, July 2006


“The great merit of this work by Moreno Juliá is that it is first to be free from much of the rhetoric of the trenches, and to address the phenomenon of the Blue Division in a spirit of objectivity and completeness. The first-hand research in national and foreign archives is a first, and a delightful novelty.”
Dr. Eduardo González Calleja (CSIC, Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), in Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, 36.1, 2006

“A fine testament to the best historical writing, about the recent past, from our country… It goes beyond the precise object of his study, making a more global approach. It results, in the end, to be an investigation with definitive conclusions.”
Dr. Javier Tusell Gómez (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia), in “Babelia”; El País, 11 November 2004

“Such an exhaustive history - subtle, profound, and free from bitterness -emerges only occasionally in some books. Xavier Moreno Juliá’s study of the Blue Division is, without doubt, one of those books.”
Dr. Ricardo García Cárcel (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) in “ABC Cultural”; ABC, 8 January 2005

“In line with the great works by English-speaking historians on a similar theme, here is a total history of the events, without leaving anything out, no matter how insignificant.”
Rafael Núñez Florencio, critic and historian, in “El Cultural”; El Mundo, 9 December 2004

“Far from the hundreds of hagiographies and memoirs on the Spaniards who fought for Hitler against the USSR, The Blue Division by Xavier Moreno is the result of an investigation of Spanish, British and German archives… and from the oral testimonies of, among others, the minister and brother-in-law of Franco, Ramón Serrano Suñer.”
Dr. Andreu Mayayo Artal (Barcelona University), in El Periódico, 25 November 2004

“Xavier Moreno is a solid investigator and a good writer who has based his book on unpublished Spanish and German documents… The book is entertaining, and its quality sources and solid investigation combine to make it a fascinating and definitive work.”
Dr. Gabriel Cardona Escanero (Barcelona University), in Clío History Review, 4.39; January 2005

“Xavier Moreno Juliá has gone into the history of the Blue Division as never before: with rigorous and detailed investigation, avoiding ideological obsessions... Like a jigsaw puzzle, where one piece leads to another and yet another, Moreno Juliá has brought together eleven years of study.”
La Razón, 30 November 2004

“Few history books have such extensive investigation behind them or such an impartial point of view.”
ABC, 21 November 2004

“An up-to-date, profound and detailed reconsideration of one of the saddest episodes of the Second World War - forgotten and characteristic of Franco’s Spain.”
“Revista”, in La Vanguardia, 31 October 2004

“The Blue Division returns from the past in a study of its history by Xavier Moreno… In over 500 pages, Moreno analyses the political context in which the Division developed, and the later clash of interests between Falangism and the Spanish Army. The international reactions that the initiative generated occupies a good part of the book, as does a detailed description of the military operations in which the Spanish combatants were engaged.”
El País, 31 November 2004

“Moreno Juliá knows it like nobody else and, in a study praised by his fellow historians, explains it with rigor and without prejudices in The Blue Division. Subtitled Spanish Blood in Russia, 1941–1945, it is a lesson in history.”
La Vanguardia, 12 May 2005

“Doctor of contemporary history Xavier Moreno has proved with his book on the Blue Division that the study of detail illuminates much more. In this case he reveals the politics of this early step in Francoism.”
“El Sábado”, in El Faro de Vigo, 5 March 2005

“Letras. The Best of the Year - Non Fiction.The Blue Division. Xavier Moreno… thoroughly re-examines the history from Serrano Suñer’s first call to arms until the devastating return. It is an overwhelming portrait of a wretched adventure.”
“El Cultural”, in El Mundo, 30 December 2004

“Spanish history writing congratulates the appearance of this study with its unmistakeable title which reveals in depth what happened to the 40,000 Spaniards sent to fight with the Germans on the Russian front… The book has been written by the doctor in contemporary history, Xavier Moreno Juliá, who has searched through and poked his nose into Spanish and German archives, and has obtained live testimony from old combatants.”
Mercurio, cultural review, 67; January 2005,

“Xavier Moreno’s Blue Division can be considered the most rigorous and comprehensive book on the Blue Division to date”.
“Quadern”, in El País, 21 February 2013

“The historian Xavier Moreno Juliá is the author of The Blue Division, Spanish Blood in Russia, considered the most rigorous and comprehensive study published so far on this question.”
“Més Periódico”, weekly review in El Períodico, 14 July 2013

 

Publication Details

 
Hardback ISBN:
978-1-84519-737-7
 
Paperback ISBN:
978-1-84519-768-1
 
Page Extent / Format:
446 pp. / 246 x 171 mm
 
Release Date:
Hardback, August 2015; Paperback, May 2016
  Illustrated:   Yes
 
Hardback Price:
£85.00 / $125.00
 
Paperback Price:
£35.00 / $55.00
 

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