Nazi officers formed a secret army after the end of World War II and had plans to overthrow the Allies who occupied Germany, according to a report published this week based on newly available documents by the German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).
A group of 2,000 soldiers — veterans of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS — formed the group, and with a plan to recruit 40,000, they spied on politicians and amassed weapons to attack opposing forces, including the Soviets in East Germany, the files revealed.
Their aim was to restore “honor” and “to defend nascent West Germany against Eastern aggression in the early stages of the Cold War and, on the domestic front, to deploy against the Communists in the event of a civil war,” Der Spiegel reported.
The discovery of the documents was accidental, the German magazine revealed, detailing how a German historian working for an Independent Historical Commission hired by the BND to research its history and that of its predecessor (the Gehlen Organization), stumbled upon the files, which had been given the title “Insurances.” The historian Agilolf Kesselring published his study this week.
“The involvement of leading figures in Germany’s future armed forces, the Bundeswehr, are an indication of just how serious the undertaking was likely to have been,” Der Spiegel reported.
West Germany’s then-leader chancellor Konrad Adenauer was told about the covert army in 1951 but decided only to monitor the group, the documents reveal.