The Nazis Go Underground

This great book is the necessary complement to Martin Bormann Nazi in Exile. Written in 1944, thus contemporary to the events of WWII and Nazi Germany, it describes how the Nazis planned, organized and executed their descent into the underground as early as 1943. On the morning of November 9th 1942, while they were reflecting on Germany’s war performance, the situation looked already rather grim for Himmler and Bormann, as victory seemed more and more hypothetical. It was clear that they had to begin thinking more in terms of survival. The final decision to go underground was taken on May 16th 1943 at Château Huegel near Essen. The Gestapo moved from their building on Prinz Albrechtstrasse, Berlin, to 11 Koenigsallee, Berlin-Grunewald. There, the Gestapo would reorganize Nazi forces in order to assure the survival of the party, of the movement, of the cause. If the Nazi government couldn’t survive or go underground, certain cadres could. In 1933, the apparatus of the Nazi Party was superimposed on the apparatus of the German state. And now, in 1943, all they had to do was to reverse the process, by which the apparatus of the Nazi state would go underground and prepare for WWIII.

Especially, German generals were anxious to get the war over with. They realized rather quickly that they couldn’t win it and that Hitler’s military decisions were sometimes questionable, to say the least. Survival as an institution, as a political force, for them, was essential. The Nazis concocted a system by which they would continue to have close contacts with members of the aboveground legitimate government after the end of the war. In fact, they would make sure to have some of their men, dependable ones, remaining in the official apparatus of the governement, to be able to coordinate operations and policies. Curt Riess has this great sentence that resumes what happens when an organization goes underground: « Its existence is known only by the effects of its actions » (p. 2). It certainly helps to understand some of the weird feelings that some of us can have thinking about the idea that the Nazis may have gone underground. We are now in a situation where we have to ask ourselves what are these underground operatives doing in this world exactly. 9/11 has certainly given a lot of credibility to a book like this. It seems now more probable than ever that the Nazis have effectively gone underground and that they have, since that day of May 16th 1943, prepared their gear for WWIII.