Background: Werner Naumann, Goebbels’s top aide at the end of the war, sent out this interesting message by teletype to the Nazi Party’s regional propaganda offices in early April 1945. It calls on the remaining propagandists throughout Germany to devote their full efforts to building an underground resistance movement that would make Allied occupation unbearably costly. The Allies were in fact worried about the possibility of the Werewolf movement, but in the end Germans were more than ready to have the war over and not much came of this last-ditch effort.
The source: Werner Naumann, “Jetzt scheiden sich die Geister!” National Archives Microfilm Series T-311, roll 169, frames 1071-1074.
The Time to Decide
Teletype to all RPA-Heads:
As was to be expected, the establishment of the Werewolves in the areas occupied by the enemy, but also in the Reich itself, has called forth all the most active fighters of our people. The proclamation of unconditional resistance will force a decision in Germany. Now it will become clear who is really ready to stand without compromise for the principles proclaimed during good times, and who belongs to the lukewarm and weary whose cowardly conduct in these days only proves that they do not belong to us. Each National Socialist sees in unconditional resistance the best chance to end this war victoriously under Adolf Hitler’s leadership. We have no thoughts of whether giving up might lead to an agreement with the enemy, or whether we might be able to save our lives by surrendering. For us, those who believe that we can save ourselves by surrendering now and “trying again” in 20 years are cowardly creatures who instantly leave our ranks by even thinking of such a thing. Anyone who even discusses such a “Stresemann policy” does not belong to us.
We know the enemy’s plans, and realize that after a German defeat he will never give us the chance for a German revival as we had after 1918. Only genuine idiots can believe that Vansittard (sic), Morgentau (sic), and Ilja Ehrenburg would give up their hateful plans after a German surrender. If there is still a chance for the German people to emerge from this war with unbroken ethnic strength, it exists only in fanatic resistance regardless of where it finds the enemy. The major objections of cowards against the Werewolf movement are:
These are easy to refute. The Anglo-Americans murdered 50,000 Germans recently in Dresden, disregarding the Geneva Convention. They will continue their efforts to annihilate the German people regardless of whether or not the Werewolf movement exists. It is wrong to believe that cowardly surrender will somehow impress the enemy. The only that that impresses the enemy is bravery, never cowardice. Our image abroad will be improved more by determined and fanatic resistance than by raising white flags.
We do not expect that the overwhelming majority of the German people will become Werewolf fighters in the next few days. As the Peasant Wars in particular, but also the Free Corps in Upper Silesia and Schlageter, have proven, the German people can be won over to “partisan warfare.” The enemy’s great worry today is that he will not find a “government” in Germany that will offer to capitulate as he did in 1918, turning itself over to international gangsters. If the Allies want tribute, leading English newspapers wrote recently, they will have to fetch it themselves. Since the German people will not quietly and obediently stand aside as these tribute seekers and traitors to the German people attempt such criminal work, the Werewolf movement will certainly succeed.
Those critics of the Werewolf movement who do their best to come up with clever arguments against the call for total resistance must be pitilessly exposed, making it clear that their arguments are based only on their own miserable cowardice. It is plain from their behavior that they are too cowardly to themselves make the sacrifice that millions of our people’s best have made on all fronts, and that they themselves never tired of demanding of others during the war. During this great crisis of our people, the Werewolf movement cannot be too fanatic or revolutionary. The underground movements in Poland, France, etc., that cost us a the greatest sacrifices and seriously hindered our military operations had similar foundations. We must admit today that the severe repressions that we conducted against these underground movements did not weaken their resistance, but only strengthened them.
Our situation is grave and difficult. The only way to escape this situation is unconditional resistance. If we make the enemy occupation of Germany hellishly difficult, sooner than some today expect he will rather give up than force his already weary troops to fight an underground terror movement.
During the past weeks, a part of the population in the west has not acted in this way. There is no point in trying to determine the reasons at this point. Nonetheless, we do not doubt that those in the west as well as in the German east will display determined resistance. We cannot allow the thousand-year history of the German Reich to be wiped out by a few hundred American tanks only because a few units of our fighting troops and parts of our population lack the necessary wisdom and hardness. In the history of the peoples there are no hopeless situations, at most only hopeless people. This is particularly true of our current situation.
We still have the possibility of winning the war. For those who have always had a fighting spirit, this situation is nothing new. Our whole effort must be to build a fanatic will to resist. In the areas threatened by the enemy, our primary task is to call into life the largest possible underground movement that will enable the population to resist Anglo-American occupation.
For us, the Werewolf movement is the symbol of unconditional resistance. We propagandists must now devote our full effort to that end.
Signed: Dr. Naumann
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.