This book is the work of Col Samuel J. Newland, a professor at the Army War College. Professor Newland, starting in the early 1970s, undertook a study of Soviet volunteers in the German Army during the Second World War, ultimately leading to this narrower topic. While the book is copyrighted in 1991, the research undertaken for it was undertaken before that time. With this in mind, Professor Newland had to rely upon those sources in the West, which were available to him. Professor Newland himself notes that this was difficult, some of the sources available to him were inadequate, and the captured German archives on the subject had been lost. One of Col. Newland's interviewees, of the Cossack Corps, opined that no history could even be written, given the difficulty in locating resources. Suffice to say few original participants remain who can be interviewed. Professor Newland himself is generally of the opinion that a more complete history should be done, when resources are available.
With all of this in mind, this book is not a bad introduction to the topic. The book is not really a complete examination of the topic, although it does deal with the various factors leading up to the German decision, nearly right from the start of their invasion of Russian, to incorporate Russian volunteers. As such, it deals with the various political machinations of the German Army, and political leadership, to undertake an activity at odds with the expressed policy of the Third Reich. It deals somewhat, although not in great depth, with the Cossacks' motives, as well as the interesting stories of a few of their commanders. However, this treatment is mostly a lead up to the story of the Cossack Division, its formation, and service as a German unit.
It is a fascinating story of a doomed people, lead by their loyal German commander Helmuth von Pannwitz (Von Pannwitz volunteered to accompany them into repatriation, and was executed). Suffice to say histories of mounted units in WWII are unique in and of themselves, but the Cossacks were of course a unique culture. It is also a sad story, given that their fate was grim, and their cause without hope given the actual nature of the combatants in the East.
This book does deal, to a certain extent, with other groups of Cossacks who fought with, or allied to, the Germans, but it is not complete on those topics. It is to be hoped that, now that the Soviet Union has fallen, and former Soviet archives available to research, that a complete history of this people will be done.
Thanks must be extended to Col. Newlands, who helped me locate this book, and to Philip S, who helped me find it beyond that.
Newlands, Samuel J. "Cossacks In the German Army, 1941-1945", Frank Cass, Portland, Oregon, 1991.
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