[Marxism] The disappearing Peronist legacy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 26 11:39:58 MST 2006

>The legacy of Peron to me and many others, will be that he welcomed 
>and gave shelter to Nazi war criminals.   How much trade and 
>improvements, that were made under his regime - can not overshadow 
>the blood of the nazi victims, that lay on Peron's real record! And 
>the record of the U. S. State Department, that Carlos Petroni 
>mentioned in his closing points - are like Peron, filled with the 
>blood of the nazi victims!
>John O'Brien

Isn't John aware that Great Britain had the same relationship to 
Argentina that it did to Egypt, Ireland or India? While not a formal 
colony, Argentina had been fucked over by Great Britain since the 
19th century. It was only natural for Argentina to prefer the Allies 
to the Axis. Hitler might have oppressed Europe, but it was John Bull 
that had left permanent scars in Argentina.

Hitler's secret Indian army
By Mike Thomson
BBC News

In the closing stages of World War II, as Allied and French 
resistance forces were driving Hitler's now demoralised forces from 
France, three senior German officers defected.

The information they gave British intelligence was considered so 
sensitive that in 1945 it was locked away, not due to be released 
until the year 2021.

Now, 17 years early, the BBC's Document programme has been given 
special access to this secret file.

It reveals how thousands of Indian soldiers who had joined Britain in 
the fight against fascism swapped their oaths to the British king for 
others to Adolf Hitler - an astonishing tale of loyalty, despair and 
betrayal that threatened to rock British rule in India, known as the Raj.

The story the German officers told their interrogators began in 
Berlin on 3 April 1941. This was the date that the left-wing Indian 
revolutionary leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, arrived in the German capital.

Bose, who had been arrested 11 times by the British in India, had 
fled the Raj with one mission in mind. That was to seek Hitler's help 
in pushing the British out of India.

Six months later, with the help of the German foreign ministry, he 
had set up what he called "The Free India Centre", from where he 
published leaflets, wrote speeches and organised broadcasts in 
support of his cause.

By the end of 1941, Hitler's regime officially recognised his 
provisional "Free India Government" in exile, and even agreed to help 
Chandra Bose raise an army to fight for his cause. It was to be 
called "The Free India Legion".

Bose hoped to raise a force of about 100,000 men which, when armed 
and kitted out by the Germans, could be used to invade British India.

He decided to raise them by going on recruiting visits to 
Prisoner-of-War camps in Germany which, at that time, were home to 
tens of thousands of Indian soldiers captured by Rommel in North Africa.


Finally, by August 1942, Bose's recruitment drive got fully into 
swing. Mass ceremonies were held in which dozens of Indian POWs 
joined in mass oaths of allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

These are the words that were used by men that had formally sworn an 
oath to the British king: "I swear by God this holy oath that I will 
obey the leader of the German race and state, Adolf Hitler, as the 
commander of the German armed forces in the fight for India, whose 
leader is Subhas Chandra Bose."

I managed to track down one of Bose's former recruits, Lieutenant 
Barwant Singh, who can still remember the Indian revolutionary 
arriving at his prisoner of war camp.

"He was introduced to us as a leader from our country who wanted to 
talk to us," he said.

"He wanted 500 volunteers who would be trained in Germany and then 
parachuted into India. Everyone raised their hands. Thousands of us 


In all 3,000 Indian prisoners of war signed up for the Free India Legion.

But instead of being delighted, Bose was worried. A left-wing admirer 
of Russia, he was devastated when Hitler's tanks rolled across the 
Soviet border.

Matters were made even worse by the fact that after Stalingrad it 
became clear that the now-retreating German army would be in no 
position to offer Bose help in driving the British from faraway India.

When the Indian revolutionary met Hitler in May 1942 his suspicions 
were confirmed, and he came to believe that the Nazi leader was more 
interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones.

So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his legionnaires and 
slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan.

There, with Japanese help, he was to raise a force of 60,000 men to 
march on India.

Back in Germany the men he had recruited were left leaderless and 
demoralised. After mush dissent and even a mutiny, the German High 
Command despatched them first to Holland and then south-west France, 
where they were told to help fortify the coast for an expected allied landing.

After D-Day, the Free India Legion, which had now been drafted into 
Himmler's Waffen SS, were in headlong retreat through France, along 
with regular German units.

It was during this time that they gained a wild and loathsome 
reputation amongst the civilian population.

The former French Resistance fighter, Henri Gendreaux, remembers the 
Legion passing through his home town of Ruffec: "I do remember 
several cases of rape. A lady and her two daughters were raped and in 
another case they even shot dead a little two-year-old girl."

Finally, instead of driving the British from India, the Free India 
Legion were themselves driven from France and then Germany.

Their German military translator at the time was Private Rudolf 
Hartog, who is now 80.

"The last day we were together an armoured tank appeared. I thought, 
my goodness, what can I do? I'm finished," he said.

"But he only wanted to collect the Indians. We embraced each other 
and cried. You see that was the end."


A year later the Indian legionnaires were sent back to India, where 
all were released after short jail sentences.

But when the British put three of their senior officers on trial near 
Delhi there were mutinies in the army and protests on the streets.

With the British now aware that the Indian army could no longer be 
relied upon by the Raj to do its bidding, independence followed soon after.

Not that Subhas Chandra Bose was to see the day he had fought so hard 
for. He died in 1945.

Since then little has been heard of Lieutenant Barwant Singh and his 
fellow legionnaires.

At the end of the war the BBC was forbidden from broadcasting their 
story and this remarkable saga was locked away in the archives, until 
now. Not that Lieutenant Singh has ever forgotten those dramatic days.

"In front of my eyes I can see how we all looked, how we would all 
sing and how we all talked about what eventually would happen to us 
all," he said.

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